Raising Feminist Children

Shelley - posted on 09/22/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I know some of you agree with me on these issues, and I'm wondering if you practice what you preach? Are you teaching your sons to be feminists as well as your daughters? I try very very hard to counter any and all sexism. Disney is the worst! I find society, especially these family values Christians, to be incredibly invasive on these issues. I try very hard to raise my babies the way I KNOW is right, but I'm constantly countered by society's values. And they actually make me question my own convictions! Ex: Are my children going to be made fun of b/c they are different/ have a different (feminist) perception of the world? I guess my point is that it's easy to say you're raising your children as feminists, but does society really allow you to? ..



AND, I recently came across a great children's book I'd like to share with you that emphasizes the lack of biological differences of boys and girls and their abilities to do whatever it is they want. I love it. http://www.freetobefoundation.org/

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Sara - posted on 10/02/2009

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There are so many factors they are leaving out about how they drew conclusions from the data on that study. Are stay at home dads more likey to be overweight? Get less exercise? So many factors that could have a huge impact on that study's outcome, I really think they're pulling for straws there.

JL - posted on 10/02/2009

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I just let my husband read some of the crap that they posted about men not being biologically able to handle taking care of kids and so on. My husband's response was that apparently these women married some stupid, lazy, useless pieces of crap and then he said some other things that I will not post but you get the gist of it.

Shelley - posted on 10/01/2009

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I just read the whole thread over there, Feminism destroys family.. your thoughts. OMG, I am dying in laughter. Thanks for the suggestion. Wow. Men can't watch kids b/c they are not biologically able to. I also heard that they shouldn't clean b/c biologically, they just weren't made to see dirt. Lol. This was my fave:



"Actually, I can't remember where I read it from, but men aren't biologically able to take care of children as a SAHD. Something about the type of stress experienced by those fathers that are causes them to have an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, high blood pressure, and the like. I wish I could remember the website because it also states that women, unlike men aren't built to handle the stresses of working some of the same jobs that men do. I just find it interesting that science can back up what we feel is right for ourselves and our children."

?? - posted on 10/01/2009

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I wanna see the article - THE FULL ARTICLE - in which this:



Some extremists even see the natural heterosexual family as an enemy. An article in Gay Community News stated, "The family unit – spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence – will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated."



-- where that came from. These people are notorious for deciphering what they want, twisting as they please and taking/quoting out of context.



I can read that in about 4 different ways and it all means different things. Depending on the context that *I* add to it. So in order to actually take what the person meant - I would need to see the whole article to decide what the person was talking about. You certainly can not decide from that little quotation what they actually meant.



Hmm tryin to think of what I mean - the subject is not there in the quotation. The family unit in regards to what? The family unit -- the one where heterosexuals are only allowd to marry and are only allowd to have families - because if a person were gay and said so they would be lying, feeling like they are betraying their family and perhaps the God they are pressured to worship and fear - the family unit that is expected of every man and woman in order to be "fully productive members of society" by family and friends - to do their part for humanity by reproducing and providing the "home" for a "family" when all they want to do.. is be themselves? That, that sense of the "family unit" must be eliminated so that people who ARE homosexual can be FREE to be who they are without the natural EXPECTATION of providing a "family unit."



There are extremists all over the world - stop bein a wiener and actually taking the extremists views on everything. I don't think ALL republicans are crazy - just the ones that actually spew craziness. I think it's ridiculous that anyone would even bother to bring up "the extreme" view if they are trying to say something that they want to be taken seriously by all. When I joke about the crazy right wingers - I'm flingin a joke around. I don't quote the "extreme" conservatives when I'm trying to make an intelligent point -- I tend to joke more than be serious when it comes to politics regardless.

JL - posted on 10/01/2009

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Seriously...They really don't get it at all it is all about acceptance not accomodation or indoctrination.

Sara - posted on 10/01/2009

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Wow...from a feminist thread in Republican/Conservative Moms group...



First, it is impossible to understand what is happening to our kids today without considering the influence of feminist ideology. Many aspects of our culture have become unisexual. No wonder boys have only a vague idea what it means to be a man. Should men be feminized, emasculated, and “wimpified”? That is precisely what some feminists seem to think. In the 1970s a small but noisy band of feminists began insisting that the sexes were identical except for their reproductive organs, and that any uniqueness in temperament or behavior resulted from patriarchal cultural biases. Most of the early feminists didn't like children, and deeply resented men, yet they advised millions of women about how to raise their children and, especially, how to educate boys. In 1999 two radical feminists contended in an article that fathers are actually detrimental at home because of the amount of family resources they consume.



Second, another source of confusion is the powerful gay and lesbian agenda. In public schools children are taught the need to accommodate homosexuality, and are encouraged to embrace the view that all lifestyles are equal. Gay and lesbians seek to eliminate such terms as wife, husband, manhood, womanhood, boy, girl, masculine and feminine. These references to sexual identity are being replaced with gender-neutral terms, such as significant other, spouse, parent, child, and sibling. Some extremists even see the natural heterosexual family as an enemy. An article in Gay Community News stated, "The family unit – spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence – will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated."

Shelley - posted on 10/01/2009

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Thank you for the suggestions Joy. =)



Societal change can only be incremental, and there are those areas of society that will NEVER be reached. I guess the best thing I can do is prepare them to deal with it through awareness, as you say. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am doing the right thing and try to put myself in a supportive environment. Yet another reason to MOVE! =)

JL - posted on 09/25/2009

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I have that book Free to be You and Me. I having been dealing with this issue. I am a feminist and am very big on the concept of breaking down the socialized definitions of what it means to be feminine and masculine. I hate the categorization and standards so I try teaching and emphasizing to my daughter that beauty is about what she holds on in the inside and that is about being a loving and caring soul. I push on her how her intelligence is what is important but it is hard when you end up having a daughter who is very girly.



I was a tom boy growing up and really into academics yet I was also the "pretty girl" so I always felt like I was beating down the perceptions of me based on my looks. I don't want my daughter going through that but the reality is that she will because she already gets from people all the time the comments about what a beautiful little girl she is and now my son is getting the he is so handsome. I appreciate the compliments but I don't want them hearing about their looks all the time.



I have learned to balance things. I teach my son and daughter that they are equal and it is their soul, heart, and minds that we measure with beauty. They play with whatever toys they want to play with. My son plays barbies with my daughter and she plays trains and dinosaurs with him. My daughter does not like playing with baby dolls but my son does so we keep them in the house for him. It is really hard too because my daughter loves dresses, the color pink, and wants to be Hannah Montana. I freaked a bit at first but then I thought I cannot prevent her from being her and if being her is liking dresses, the color pink, and Hannah Montana then fine that is who she is but I will continue to emphasize the importance of inner beauty, intelligence, and the fact that she has the right to be what she wants to be weather that is a Rock star...which is what she says she wants to be or a pro wrestler. She is who she is and feminism is about the right to be that and to make choices for yourself without feeling like you are trapped in a box based on constructed social ideas concerning femininity and masculinity.



I have also spoke a great deal with my kids about accepting everyone for who they are talking about our cultural, social, religious, ethnic, and sexual differences. One of the things I have found that I have had to speak with my children about more is the concept of religion and god. My mother in law is very religious so my daughter had many questions about God. I am not a follower of organized religion. I don't like the practice of defining religious identity and catergorizing Chrisitainity as some organized overbearing process. I am a believer in faith and sprituality and some of the larger concepts of Christiainity. I wanted my daughter to know that spritituality, faith, and the belief in God whatever that may me to someone is about love, caring, and sharing. I found the book God's Dream by Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams explains that beautifully and I read that book to my kids often. I also love reading to them the book Martin's Big Words to help convey to them what racism is and what it means. After the first time I read that book to my daughter she looked at me and told me..MOMMY, I will never be mean to people like that.



I am proud to say that I am raising emotionally aware children.



Here are some good books with multicultural stories that are suitable for younger children.....



Peacebound Trains Haemi Balgassi, Clarion Books, 1996.

My Father Sees, Neil McCannel, Black Lake First Nations Education, 1996.

Jalapeno Bagels, Natasha Wing, Atheneum, 1996.

Tar Beach, Faith Ringhold, Random House, 1991.

Shelley - posted on 09/23/2009

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Not really.. I'm really into feminist theory right now, so that's been motivating my searches. I will suggest bell hooks Skin Again. It has a really cute little theme about our skins only being a covering. If you want to know who I am, you have to go beyond skin and get the story behind it.. That's accepting multi-culturalism in a very broad way.

Sara - posted on 09/23/2009

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What I'm really looking for is multi-cultural children's books...know of any good ones?

ME - posted on 09/22/2009

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This is a little scary for me too Shelly...I am concerned about my son very much. I know that he will have me for a role model and that can't hurt ;-) but, I also know that eventually I will have to let him out into the world of "real men" (hears Tim Allen barking in my head), and I don't want him to be teased for being tolerant, thoughtful, and open minded...but, at the same time...he's likely to be teased for something at some point in time...that's the way of the world, and I'd rather have him grow up to be a good man, then be popular in jr. high. I do let him play with trucks (which he LOVES, and did love even before I bought him any toy trucks), but I also don't freak out when he starts carrying one of my empty purses around the house...and I don't let his father freak out either. My kids can watch disney movies if they want to, but I will deconstruct the hell out of them with my kids when they are over...Miles loves books, and his favorite thing to do right now is sit in my lap and be read to...I'm using this influence in every way imaginable...I will check the book out, and would love any other recs!

Sara - posted on 09/22/2009

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To me, raising my daughter from a feminist perspective means that I will teach her that her biology does not make her inferior, she can do whatever she sets her mind to. I don't want her to value herself as an ornament, or think people will only be interested in her for her looks, but I want her to value her mind and make sure she knows that what people will ultimately value you for.



I do think that society doesn't help to convey that message...will I let her play with Barbies? Have babydolls? Wear dresses? You know, I probably will...because I think that the most important message that I send her is to value herself and not to judge others by their race, gender or any other outward perception.

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