All throughout my pregnancy…heck, even way before I was ever pregnant, I always knew I wanted to do my best to raise a feminist. Whether I had a girl or a boy, I wanted them to know that we’re all equal and deserve to be treated as so.
I had many late nights where I thought about how I would go about raising a feminist and I never really came to a conclusion. I don’t have all the right answers. I’m simply a new mom who’s just trying to do her best every day to raise my daughter to believe she is capable of doing anything and being anyone. Whether it be pink or blue, leggos or dolls, cheerleading or football, nurse or astronaut, and anything in between or all of the above. She can do it and I don’t want her to let anyone or anything stand in her way.
Sexism starts young. Like really, really young. I remember being about 6 or so and moving into a new house. I had picked out this safari wallpaper for my new room and absolutely did not want any pink. When the house was ready, I walked into my new room full of pink walls and this cheerleader wallpaper. I mean it was cute and my room was probably many little girl’s (or boy’s) dream bedroom come true, but it wasn’t what I wanted. And no offense to my parents. They probably didn’t even realize I wanted the safari wallpaper and were just picking out a theme that they thought would be cute and fun for a little girl.
I’m not trying to blame parents for the way the world treats women. It’s society and all the little hidden – and not so hidden messages – that we see every single day. And it brainwashes us into thinking girls should wear pink, girls should be sweet, girls should be nurturing and so on.
Myself, and I know many other little girls, began worrying about the way they looked way too young. Am I fat? Am I pretty? Is my hair ugly? When will I get boobs? Not that you should ever worry so much about these things, but confidence is another topic for another day. But come on, first graders should NOT be thinking about this stuff! And most of the time, I think us as parents don’t even realize it’s happening.
That being said, I want to be as conscious as I possibly can when it comes to raising Lucy as a feminist. I know it’ll be hard and I know there will be times where I get it all wrong. But I know I have to at least make my best effort. It may even be the biggest goal I have for myself as a parent.
So, how am I currently raising Lucy as a feminist? Yes, I’m already making efforts even though she is only 3 months old.
- When I tell her she’s beautiful/cute/pretty, I also tell her she’s smart, kind, strong, compassionate and brave. If I don’t tell her all these things at once, I try to make an effort to tell her them multiple times a week.
- I try to dress her in a variety of clothes. Pink, blue, gray, red, yellow, green. All sorts of different colors. I also do what I can to stay away from clothing that has writing on it. I notice a lot of the girl and boy clothing with words on it can come off as slightly sexist. Girl clothes say things about being a princess and boy clothes say things about being a heart breaker. Now before I get excused of judging other moms who would absolutely dress their babies in these things, please know that I do not care if your baby girl’s entire wardrobe is pink and princesses. There is NOTHING wrong with loving dressing your daughter in those things. I believe this as long as you allow them the choice to decide what they want to wear when they are capable.
- Speaking of clothes, I notice a lot of boy’s clothing has trucks, dinosaurs, sports, airplanes, space-related things and such. Who says girls can’t enjoy these things, too? I’ll likely start collecting more gender neutral clothing, as well as, some boy clothing to add to Lucy’s closet. Not that she really notices or cares now, but when she begins noticing, I want her to see she can wear whatever color she wants and it’s okay if she likes dinosaurs and it’s okay if she likes princesses. I simply want her to know that she has the choice and no one expects her to like one thing or the other. It is HER decision to like what she likes and be who she is.
- I’d like for her to grow up reading about all different kinds of characters, so I try to keep a broad book collection. Females, males, unidentified sexes, hispanic, fat, tall, and I could go on and on. Because there are so, so many different kinds of people in this world. And once again, I want her to know that and see that she has so many choices when it comes to deciding what she likes and who she wants to be.
- Lastly, I let my family and friends know. Anyone that loves Lucy, I want them to know that raising her as a feminist and open-minded soul is important to us. I have a feeling as she gets older, this will become more and more difficult. That’s why I feel it is important to keep reminding our loved ones of how much this means to us and how we feel it is best for Lucy. We truly appreciate every thoughtful gift she gets. And we know any words said to her are always out of the goodness of people’s hearts, but in order to successfully raise her to feel equal, those who surround her need to be respectful of how we choose to raise our child.
Maybe you think I’m crazy or looking way too into all this. But seriously, ask yourself how old were you when you felt a certain way because of your sex? It’s likely much younger than you realize.
I’m just a mom who is trying to do what I feel is best for my child. I’ll be making plenty of mistakes along the way, but I’m also determined to make a lot of good decisions, too. And I’m just here to share my journey with those interested. That being said, it’s going to be a long journey, so I have decided to turn this into a series. I’ll be sharing more soon.
Had to share this second photo of Lucy. I mean, how goofy is that face?