Raising Children as a Feminist
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”― Gloria Steinem
Am I a feminist? I am.
Do I shout it out or display it on every platform or mention it in every conversation? No, I don’t.
Does that make me less of a feminist? No, I don’t think so.
Do I think it’s important as parents to be mindful of gender bias? Absolutely.
If you search for the term ‘feminism’, you will see that it has been vilified. It has lost a large part of its meaning as many articles refer to feminists as ‘feminazis’ and as people who are anti-males or as women who are biased towards only women.
Feminism, however, means equality. It means giving equal opportunity, status, benefits to a person irrespective of gender. Extreme behaviour and thinking on any side is never good. It seems simply common sense that half the population cannot be treated as second to the other half!
We grew up at a time when we saw gross differentiation based on gender all around us. Luckily for me, at least at home, there was no differentiation between my brother and sisters. I believe my mother was a feminist in her own right, even before the word became so common. She fought with our relatives to ensure that all the siblings went to the same school and ate the same type of meals. But everywhere else – movies, television serials, homes of relatives – we saw women being objectified, girls not being given the same education as the boys, not the same opportunities.
Having seen such discrimination so close at hand, it is no surprise that many educated women of our generation are feminists, some more vocal than others, but feminists nonetheless.
As parents, understanding feminism and what it stands for is even more important. I have a son and I don’t want him to grow up thinking that certain household chores are for women, or that men are supposed to be the strong ones. I ensure that my spouse shares responsibility at home. I point out every instance where I see women being objectified and show my displeasure. At least my son is aware that women do not like it and will become more sensitive to it as he grows older.
I hate the mother’s day advertisements! They show women as superheroes doing office work, household chores, taking care of kids, and looking good at the same time. I am not like that and neither are any of the other women I know. We are not superheroes. We should not be doing everything single-handedly, and we should definitely not be praised for it. In fact, such women and their spouses should be ashamed.
It is important for us to ensure that spouses share the household chores and the children see it as something very natural. I see women who say they believe in equality and that they treat their sons and daughters the same way, but then you see them doing all the chores, all the work related to kids – packing their tiffin, getting them ready, attending Parent Teacher Meetings – while their spouses sit in front of the television.
It makes you think – are such children really learning equality, merely because the brother and sister are being treated same? What are such children learning by seeing their mother who talks of ‘equality’ but is working like a beast of burden?
Be a Feminist – stand up and ensure that women and men are treated equally.
Be a feminist and ensure that there are no glass ceilings that need to be broken to succeed.
Feminism and equality start from home. It starts with each of us, whether we display it on our sleeves or not. Be a Feminist!
“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.”― George Carlin