“How Can Feminist Mums Avoid Being Humourless Childhood-Ruiners?”

At The Dawn Chorus, Mel Campbell asks “How Can Feminist Mums Avoid Being Humourless Childhood-Ruiners?” (Without, it seems, a hint of satire):

Are you going to be the kind of humourless, daggy mum who interferes in everything that’s cool and is a source of mortification to your children (”You just don’t GET it, Mum!”), or are you going to be a hip mum who helps your kids navigate pop culture rather than trying to restrict their access to it? […]

Do we ‘know better’ than our kids or should we perhaps try to find some middle ground with them, rather than being the inflexible person banning things?

One of my main worries as a feminist is that feminism is so often about being angry and disapproving; it rarely seems hip unless it concedes something to raunch culture. Just last week I was thinking, “No wonder people say feminists are unattractive; nobody likes hanging out with angry people.” Perhaps we should also consider what we’re teaching children about feminism if their main experience of it is telling them what they’re not allowed to do.

I’ve responded, including this, and realised this really should be a thread of its own.

As a feminist mother, I’ve chosen not to mock and belittle my son when he’s played with dolls or chosen pink or dressed as a ballerina.

I allow and validate and discuss his emotions, instead of silencing him and yelling at him “boys don’t cry” and “harden up, be a man”.

I encourage him to read widely, including books with a variety of protagonists and genres.

We’ve talked about the variety of possible family structures, the fact that boys can fall in love with boys and girls with girls, that some people don’t end up the gender they started out as, that some people have children and some don’t, and that it’s their choice and nothing to either sneer at or be ashamed of.

I’ve emphasised to him that his body is his, and that the same goes for others, and that you don’t touch people when they say “no”.

I’m “angry” and “humourless” enough to not egg him on, indulgently amused, when he succumbs to peer pressure to denigrate others for acting “like a girl”.

Guess I should be like all those other fun parents, eh? I’m condemning him to a lifetime of therapy and resentment with my evil feminist ways.

I also:

– Offer a wide variety of toys and clothes, instead of 101 variations on Guns, Bombs, and Camo.

– Talk about his toys and drawings with both “he” and “she” pronouns, instead of assuming they’re all “he”.

– Teach him to cook and clean and craft, as well as to garden and fix things.

– Discuss disability issues honestly and openly, using positive language.

– Answer all of his questions about bodies and sex, offer space for more, and provide resources.

– Decline to call him a “nancy boy” or a “sissy” or a “crybaby” or a “mama’s boy” when he engages in a stereotypically feminine activity or shows his feelings.

– Talk about food and nutrients and they ways they build up and supports various body systems, instead of talking only about how some foods will “make you fat” or “kill you”.

– Refuse to body-shame him, or to body-shame others in his presence. Nurture the idea that a body is a powerful, useful machine that can move and stretch and feel and live, not a dangerous, fragile, shameful timebomb.

– Discuss race, racism, and Indigenous issues as they arise in the news, the pop culture we’re consuming, or our lives. (He has only just started to notice race, intermittently, and I’d rather start planting the seeds of knowledge and awareness before racist friends and family do.)

– Expose him to infant and toddler breastfeeding (this happens naturally in our social environment!), without shushing or making him avert his eyes.

And, oddly enough, all this happens in a setting of laughter and joy and nurture and love, not in a relentless, austere gray half-life.

On the contrary. Feminist households are the households in which children are being brought up to believe that anything is possible. That their lives are an open book. That they are in charge of their own destiny. That they deserve to live free of violence and oppression, as well as having an obligation to treat others with respect.

Non-feminist households are the households where children are being raised to believe that their gender roles are rigidly prescribed, that their life must conform to strict, narrow guidelines, and that if they stray an inch outside of those guidelines – in sexuality, in body type, in gender identity or presentation, in reproductive choices, in career path – that they should live in shame and fear and guilt. Non-feminist households are the households where the parents ridicule their children for expressing themselves, where they send the daughter to another room to breastfeed, where they deride the son who wants to be a nurse, where they explode in anger when a son turns out to be gay, where they excommunicate when the daughter becomes a son. Those are the angry and humourless households. Not mine.

What do you have to add? What does feminist parenting include, for you?



Categories: education, gender & feminism, Life

37 replies

  1. Love this post. Feminist parenting for me is about remembering that I’m raising a human being, not a ‘boy’ or a ‘future man’ but simply a person. I do a lot of the things you mention here, in age-appropriate ways (my son is a couple of years younger than yours). I read this list with interest and it’s given me a lot of ideas for other ways to parent in a feminist manner, both now and as he grows older.

  2. This is a wonderful list. I do remember, though, running into decision points when, for example, my daughters wanted Barbies. I bought them, but we talked about how Barbie is a caricature of a real female form, and we discussed how weird a Barbie-shaped human would be. My older daughter once handed me a toy catalog and asked me to find the “girl toys.” I asked what she meant, and lo and behold, she wanted the toy kitchens. Younger daughter wanted princess clothes, fluffy and pink with a crown. How do you say no without seeming angry and disapproving? They’ll still want what they want, no matter how you explain the social message.
    My daughters often got what they wanted, but we discussed how, for example, Daddy also knew how to cook and did a lot of cooking in our house, so maybe those toy kitchens weren’t “girl toys,” but just “toys.” We made up stories about the princess wearing a fluffy pink dress when she went to pick up her award for being a wildlife vet who flew her own plane all over the African veldt, vaccinating giraffes. It was a hard line to walk, though, and I made compromises; I didn’t want to be that denying “daggy” mom who wouldn’t allow a Barbie to cross her threshold, but I also didn’t want my daughters swallowing the Barbie Kool-aid. I get the OP’s concern, but I think, as you are doing, there are ways of framing this issue.

  3. Excellent post, and I’m totally on the same page as oddprofessor as well. Here’s where I feel constrained from sharing stories by my kids’ current desire to not be blogged about at all while they’re in high school, but some of those examples ring lots of loud bells from when my kids were younger, too.

  4. I can only speak hypothetically about parenting, but as for being parented, some things I felt were useful, not dour, and feminist:
    – having the subject of sex, and not only penetrative reproductive “sperm meets egg” sex, or female-male sex in general, presented factually correctly and emotionally neutrally
    – from the time I was able to read some texts aimed at adults (about age 8), being essentially free to choose my own reading material
    – always and without question being able to make my own subject choices at school and engaging to whatever level I chose
    – in my late teens, being assumed to be able to make my own decisions about things like alcohol, study hours, parties and friends
    – having my father at all my sporting events always suggesting a bit more aggression would suit
    – seeing my parents make all significant decisions, especially financial ones, jointly, or as a family
    – seeing my mother earn, control and spend her money, which was always separate from my father’s
    – seeing my mother behind almost all major household projects (renovations, landscaping, contracting new houses) and doing the bulk of the physical labour for most except where she hired people
    – having my parents instinctively believe me and support me when telling them of harassment or abuse
    I should add that my mother characterises her parenting as “benign neglect” much more than she would “feminist” (and my father is not the kind of person who regards questions like “how do you describe your parenting?” as requiring sensible answers). I expect my own will be more explicitly feminist. But for me as a child and a teen a lot of the real freedom I had (freedom to make choices my parents wouldn’t, freedom to inform my decisions with whatever adult-level input I could access) I feel was feminist nonetheless.

  5. We have three daughters, aged 10, 8 and 8. We do many of the things Lauredhel and oddprofessor do too. Trying to capture it in a phrase, I think that what we engage in is constant meta-conversations. We don’t just live our lives with our kids; we examine our lives, and invite our girls to do the same. With a fair degree of success so far.
    Also, I took my eldest daughter out of the school for the day last week so she could come to my lecture on Wollstonecraft. She was thrilled. And fascinated.

  6. I hope I will never do anything that encourages my child to think it’s “cool” to hurt or demean people.

  7. I don’t think it’s uncommon for parents to be worried about allowing the object. But Barbie culture is the issue, not the Barbie itself -a Barbie is just a doll. Denying your child a doll doesn’t magically deny all of the cultural baggage that comes along with it. I dunno, refusing to purchase or allow them to participate in their pop culture doesn’t seem very fair to me -their likes and dislikes aren’t invalid just because they’re six years old. I’d rather my friends watch Supernatural and discuss why it’s problematic than find a way to deny them access to a show they enjoy.
    I’ve known a few parents who are fine with their sons being all TULLE AND PINK AND BARBIES AND PONIES AND GLITTER, but ask themselves where they’ve gone wrong when it’s their daughters. And that’s not very fair, on the child OR the parent.
    Ftr, I read that article as being far more about pop culture and feminist parenting specifically, than about feminist parenting generally.

  8. I swore that I would never have a Barbie in my house, until I saw Bratz dolls.
    I try to ask my kids why they feel that something is specifically for boys or girls. Interestingly it’s more often my three year old daughter that feels that things are for boys or girls rather than my six year old son. The other day she told me blue was for boys, so I asked her why. She just frowned and went ‘mph’ because she couldn’t answer. Then we had a little discussion about how mummy wears blue and she wears blue sometimes too and so do daddy and her brother. She then happily decided that blue was for boys and girls.

  9. Minna: I don’t feel under any obligation whatsoever to buy my kid every toy or DVD or videogame he ever wants. I deny him plenty. He actually doesn’t find a giant pile of everything that ever hit Big W necessary to participate in popular culture. He knows all about superheroes and collecting gear that we’ve never had in the house (not because they’re specifically banned, but because we don’t buy everything we see); his participation in the playground games around those pop culture figures isn’t hampered in the least. If he really wants some random thing that I don’t feel inclined to buy for him, he can save his pocket money, which we’re lucky enough to be able to afford.
    Another part of my feminist parenting is also bringing my kid up to know that you don’t magically get everything you want, that money doesn’t spring fully formed from the wellspring of our pockets, and that the more poorly-made crap you buy, the more broken crap goes into landfill. He’s got plenty of Stuff; in particular, he has enormous amounts of Lego, which fosters creativity, lasts forever, and will go on to be enjoyed by future generations. We have two freakin’ videogame consoles, for goodness’ sake, which we limit to a half hour a day and no first person shooters or M-rated games (and actual parental guidance on PG games). There are a whole lot of families a whole lot worse off than us whose kids have less Stuff, and who do just fine.
    Feminist parenting doesn’t have to involve living in a yurt playing with nothing but recycled hemp Flower Child dolls (though it can, and more power to families who choose similar routes, or to families who can’t afford toys in the first place, which is the elephant in the room in this particular discussion between privileged folks). Feminist parenting involves critical engagement with the outside world, and it involves an everyday embedding of the examination of our capitalist, sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic consumer culture. Sometimes it also involves saying “No.” There’s an epidemic of whining about how kids these days are ruined because parents can’t say “no” any more; but say “no” once or twice, and you get the other side of the coin, people whining because the poor deprived children of feminists are culturally neglected because they don’t get every toy they ask for. Mothers are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t, which is, of course, business as usual.
    I’m not sure of their relevance of you ‘letting’ your friends watch Supernatural, in this context. Are you in a parent-child relationship with them?

  10. Sorry, I’ve obviously expressed myself badly. I didn’t mean children should never be denied anything, or that anyone should feel obliged to buy their children whatever they ask for. I also didn’t mean to call anyone’s parenting skills into question -it’s my personal opinion, subject to change, and children are people so what might be the best choice for some won’t be for others, etc. I’m not trying to give my opinion as any sort of absolute truth.
    The Supernatural example was meant only to illustrate that just because something’s problematic doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. It was a poor example, obviously, but my point was that their likes and dislikes are as valid as an adults, not that the situation is the same.

  11. Children aren’t responsible for their own lives, though. It might be enjoyable for either an adult or a child to, say, eat a bunch of marshmellows for dinner. The pertinent difference is that if an adult does that, it’s nobody’s business but their own, whereas if a child wants to do it, it’s actually not up to them, but up to the person who’ll have to deal with the resulting sugar/food dye fuelled behaviour (and the dentist bills).
    They might be “people”, but they’re not actually in charge of their lives. Same goes for TV shows, Bratz dolls, etc. They don’t emerge from their mothers with the inate ability to engage critically with popular culture; it’s something they need to be taught.

  12. @rebekah
    Sure. I just think there’s more value in teaching them to engage than banning them from engaging at all.
    Which, to clarify, isn’t me saying that’s what I think anyone here is doing, but I came away from the article with the impression that’s what they were attempting to negotiate -the idea that letting barbies into your house is failing at being a feminist parent.

  13. My son wanted to by a friend a Bratz doll for her birthday so I called her mum and asked it it was okay to do that. She said it was fine, if required she altered the clothing so that all the necessary bits were covered because she didn’t think dolls should be half dressed when they are aimed at small children. I thought this was a reasonable compromise – you can have Bratz but neither you nor they are going to be dressed like that. In the end I couldn’t find a Bratz doll, which I was rather happy about, and bought her a box full of clips and glitter pens, and note pads etc. It was heavy on the pink and glitter but she loves that type of thing and I think her Mums are pretty cluey and she gets a good feminist education at home so a bit of pink and glitter won’t matter too much.

  14. Stepping back a few paces for a wider view, I think one of the things that really pisses me off about external perceptions of feminist parenting is that it’s all about Stuff. It’s all about whether you buy pink things, or glittery things, or certain videos, or certain dolls. This, of course, is pretty much inevitable from a culture that thinks that everything is about Stuff.
    Stuff is not what feminist parenting is about, nor is it what parenting is about. Parenting is so, so, so, so (x etc) much more than what you freaking spend your money on. But the Barbie Question is a convenient, simplistic, attractive way to encapsulate What Feminists Are Doing Wrong This Decade.
    Having said that, I’d really like to live in a world where it wasn’t expected that girls would play only with dolls, and boys with guns. That’s a much bigger idea than what-I-buy-for-my-kid; but, again, we’re stuck in not just a consumerist culture, but an individualist one, so wrenching the conversation around to that tends to be near-impossible.

  15. Lauredhel – yes! Parenting is most definitely not about *stuff*. It’s about nurturing and teaching and being a good role model. Yes, there are minefields around various toys and other elements of popular culture, but these are easily navigatable using good communication, encouragement and a healthy dose of good humour and common sense!
    Just talking to children and explaining why you believe the things you do can go a long way to helping them understand the world around them – if not as it is, then as it should be. I am constantly surprised by how much they understand, even at a fairly young age.
    Great post.

  16. Addit:
    My feminist parenting means that I don’t hit my kid.

  17. My feminist parenting means that I don’t hit my kid.
    Now there’s something I forgot about. My feminist parenting means that I don’t hit my kid either. Aside from all the usual arguments (violence begets violence, etc) there’s a big power dynamic there which mirrors many of the power dynamics I as a feminist am working against.

  18. To me, being a feminist parent is partly about consciousess and balance. That is, being conscious of the messages my daughter is bombarded with daily and attempting to balance them with alternative views and the messages I’d like her to be hearing. For example, I am aware that strangers spend a lot of time telling her she’s pretty or that they like her clothes. My response to this is not to refuse to buy her any ‘pretty’ clothes or (obviously) to cover her ‘pretty’ face, but to ensure that I – and others- balance that focus on her appearance with focus on what she can actually DO with her body and her mind.
    I think feminist parents are optimistic parents. We put faith in our children, that they can choose the paths they want to walk. We offer freedom of choice in ways that count. We expect more of ourselves, our world, and our kids. Ensuring that kids are conforming to the status quo seems much less vibrant and generous.
    I once had a student who was fabulous at football but she was kicked off the team when she turned 13 and there was not a suitable womens’ team in her area. Her parents fought for her right to play. Ultimately they lost in court, but I saw how much they won because their daughter grew hugely in confidence – she knew they valued her, supported her, believed in her, as she was. I don’t know if those parents identified as feminist or not, but what they gave their daughter really mattered. The humourless, joyless parents would have been the ones who said she should stick to the rules, put on a skirt and play netball.

  19. I am child-free, but I personally think that the whole ‘can I be a feminist parent and still buy my kid a Bratz doll’ thing is comparable to the ‘can I be a feminist and still wear make-up’ thing.
    That is, that it’s ridiculous and infuriating that an all-encompassing and life-informing world view can be reduced to a fucking doll, or a fucking lipstick. The question completely misses the point. My feminism is directly involved in how I relate to others, how I conduct myself personally, my viewpoint on socio-politics, and yes, ALSO in how I relate to and engage in popular culture. And I imagine feminist parenting would involve raising a child who learns to establish their own personal ethics in relation to the world around them, and engaging in critical thinking about what they see.

  20. @lauredhel I completely agree. But I felt like there was some judging of the OP of the journal article going on, so I got defensive of that position re: stuff, since stuff is what that article was about. Not from you personally, but still.
    @mymilkspilt oh man, how badly do I wish I could high five through the internet and by proxy? Those parents are awesome and they should feel awesome.
    @KM interestingly, most of the times I’ve talked to parents who’re worrying about barbies/bratz/whatever, they’ve been people who don’t consider themselves feminist, and possibly because of that have only heard the shallow end of ‘this is why (object) is bad’ discussions. I agree that it’s frustrating, especially since it tends to be what gets mainstream attention.

  21. Feminist parents are more fun. Remember that bit in The Feminine Mystique about how much more exciting suffragette mothers were?
    Like others here, the biggest wrestle I had with myself was over whether my daughter could have a Barbie doll (much less of a wrestle over my son having a toy gun – I used to play with them when I was a kid, not being a girl who liked dolls, and I mostly turned out ok). But I remembered my best friend when I was a child, whose mother banned Barbies – and who consequently longed for one obsessively for years. When my daughter got one, I saw they were social tools – she only played with Barbies when friends came over. My son was much more interested in the actual dolls.
    Instilling ethics was much more about what I and my partner did than what we said, but it’s always been a house of conversation and negotiation. Simply because it’s common sense (and also because I love and respect my kids, including their right to privacy) I followed all the same rules that Laradhel lists here. I’d add one more: I’ve never lied to them about anything, and especially not when things have been difficult, although I’ve also observed a rule about age-appropriate knowledge, not wanting to burden them with stuff they weren’t old enough to understand. I’ve only ever banned two shows: the Guinness Book of Records, because it was a disgusting freak show, and Jackass (for the same reason). As they got older, of course, it became irrelevant. Responsibility and freedom have always been linked. One other thing: the only indoctrination I ever observed was on the question of diet with my daughter, after she came home from kindy and refused to eat dinner in case she got fat (I was horrified). I drilled her on eating for health and strength, and now she eats much better than I do!
    They’re basically grown up now, and I’m very proud of who they are: they’re generous, sensitive people, deeply loyal to their friends and each other, with a strong sense of justice. And they’re also very funny. Even better, they’re proud of us. Miraculously, we turned out not only to be more fun than parents who worried about the social conventions, but also more hip.

  22. I would argue first that parenting IS about ‘stuff’ and second, that there is nothing wrong with that. We’re human, we use tools, we use things. Parents use all sorts of things to parent. ‘Stuff’ includes things you buy – yes, toys like barbies and bratz, but also includes the food(stuffs) you purchase (or otherwise acquire); about the furniture your kids sleep on or otherwise use; the clothes you make or buy; the home you provide. ‘Stuff’ is a *really* important aspect of parenting.
    I think the key question is *what* stuff are you using in your parenting? (and maybe a second key question would be, why?)

  23. I think the key question is *what* stuff are you using in your parenting?

    Well, no, that’s actually not the “key” question, not in this post, where my entire point is that parenting is about far more than stuff. It’s about conversations and relationships and questions and ethics and respect. Feminist parenting can’t be encapsulated with a shopping list, even an annotated one.
    It’s a perfectly fine question to ask, in a general sense, but it’s the exact opposite of what I’m getting at here.

  24. I don’t have any children, so I can’t comment from that perspective, but I do work with children on a semi-regular basis. The issue of Stuff isn’t really a huge one from where I am right now. I don’t choose the toys the children have access to, and the food they eat is regulated by the accreditation guidelines.
    As far as stuff goes, I never discourage children from playing with whichever toys they choose, and I don’t actively encourage them to play with specific toys. They can choose for themselves.
    But there are others things I do to try and move the children towards equality. I offer them all hugs, regardless of gender. I discourage violence whenever I see it. When the children are hurt I offer comfort, I acknowledge their pain and let them know it’s ok to cry. I tell them to use their words. I praise them for accomplishment, not for looks or strength.
    Most importantly, I respect them. I don’t treat them as if they are worth less just because they are younger. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve seen a carer talk about a child as if they weren’t in the room! It’s infuriating!
    I’m not sure how much influence I have, because I’m not a huge part of their lives. I do know that the children all like it when I’m around, and I like being around them. One of the children started to open up to me yesterday, and tell me how it wasn’t right to cry. I hope to reach him one day.

  25. My daughter was born three months ago and the whole feminist mother thing is something I think about a lot. Like the time another mother told me that she’s ‘far too big for seven weeks’ – was this woman fat-hating my seven week old daughter? Or was it fat hating on me by proxy? Or just another round of body hate that I somehow need to counter? For me, that’s one of the main things – countering the bull shit my daughter is going to be fed from birth. Like the stupid ‘pretty baby’ and ‘cutie pie’ onesies in varying shades of obnoxious pink – the ones with the cute lion roaring loudly and cheeky monkey were for ‘boys’. I ended up getting the ‘boys’ ones because she is far more likely to be roaring and cheeky than this passive thing to be looked at. And she will be inundated with pink most of her life so I want to make a space that isn’t pink so she at least has an option.
    It also means I tell her how strong she is, and how big she is and how smart she is AS WELL as how beautiful and adorable. It means one of my worst nightmares was about slapping her (the worst was the one where my father was eating her alive – symbolic much?). It means I’m getting out and walking around with her so she knows that her body will DO rather than just be. It means I’m trying to stop calling myself fat, even though I don’t mean it in a negative way – there is too much baggage for me alone to fight the connotations.
    But mostly? Mostly it’s about making sure our family and our household demonstrates equity and fairness. Daddy loves stuffed animals as much as mummy. Daddy cleans as much as mummy. Mummy gets as much relaxing time as daddy. Mummy drives as much as daddy. We both engage critically with the media and with information. We both talk and discuss our decisions. We share. Yes there are imbalances (particularly now I’m on maternity leave and breastfeeding) but they are acknowledged as imbalances and discussed – I do cook more, but that’s because it’s a hobby of mine. So my husband washes up more.

    • @geek anachronism
      Three months old is such a delicate emotional time – I imagine that you’re coming a little way of of the shell-shocked hyper-vigilant stage and are now just (just!) in super-vigilance mode 🙂 I like what you’re thinking about and have nothing right now to add, I just wanted to acknowledge your comment.
      @shonias,
      Authority issues are crucial, IMO. My kids are both on the autistic spectrum, so concrete thinking is an issue for them one way or the other. What with my husband being religious and me being not, that’s one form of modelling different reactions to authoritarian teachings,so that ideally they feel empowered to choose for themselves. It’s hard to know though – there.s enough tension between me and mr tog regarding religion that they probably avoid asking some important questions, so ideally we could probably handle that better than we do.

  26. If only parenting were only about Stuff. Stuff is the easiest issue to handle for me. I make sure there’s a balance of types of toys on offer (youngest goes to bed most nights with a doll and a Thomas train, for example), and I only buy Stuff for birthdays and Christmas.
    The hard things are the relationships, the expectations, all the things that Lauredhel said. One of the more difficult things I am dealing with is teaching my kids to question authority. I think this is a critical skill and it doesn’t come naturally to all. I’ve got one kid who accepts authority and one who rejects it, and neither is good. Examining things that are taken for granted is a key way to teach them how to question authority appropriately and therefore to ultimately be the authority on their own lives. The really big questions in this regard are never about Stuff, they are about social conventions, school rules, laws and so on.

  27. Apologies lauredhel. I do realise that your post centred on how definitions (and discussions!) of feminist parenting (should) go beyond shopping lists. I should have said something about where my head was at. I’m currently writing a paper about how very new parents use things like cots, (their own) beds, high chairs, stuffed animals, dolls, baby blankets and other such stuff to build relationships with their babies. It’s an empirically based paper and (incidentally) the majority of the participants are feminist lesbian mothers. I understand (and completely agree) that parenting is not only about ‘stuff’. I think what I’m saying is that material, seemingly mundane things (including but not limited to the stuff parents buy or don’t buy for their kids) are very often used as a base from which to establish and maintain those relationships (and have those conversations, answer those questions, establish ethics, values and respect); and that therefore, they are a really important facet of parenting and certainly, feminist parenting.

  28. Oh yeah, the hypervigilance is coming along nicely. Helped by having abdominal surgery this week with another fat-hating doctor (who asks a breastfeeding woman if she’s on a diet??) so I’m not just feeling awkward about my body, I’m having to express and not getting cuddles and it’s just all over the place at the moment!
    I’m interested about the religion thing – my partner isn’t religious but I am (although a workmate was very surprised to hear it – I apparently come across as non-religious) (probably due to the swearing). I hadn’t really thought of it in a questioning authority way, but that makes a lot of sense.

  29. Love this post, and the discussion! From now on, anytime someone asks me “what do you mean, you’re a feminist?” I’m going to send them this. Thanks, all!

  30. Sorry to join the discussion so late, but am only now catching up on long-awaited reading.
    Just thought it was worth pointing out that often we focus so much on “stuff” in these discussions because play is such a key element in our children’s lives. Not just as the way they spend their time, but more importantly because it is their primary form of learning, modeling and interacting with others for their earliest years. How we play with them, and the tools we use to play, are crucial in their development. And also because this “stuff” is often one of the key elements in their wider social sphere.
    .-= madeinmelbourne´s last blog ..Better late than never… =-.

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