for their fucking actions!
I am the mother of sons; I never envisioned this. I always thought I would have daughters. Raising feminist daughters, THAT, I used to think, I knew how to do, but how the hell do I raise feminist sons? That book we are writing every day, a new, literally and figuratively.
My sons are 8 and 10 years old right now and they are more feminist than most grown ass men, and women, that I know. They call out everyone on pronoun usage, including their parents, on the regular. They talk about how women and girls are often missing from their classroom learning in their public classroom in Texas. They confidently say no when someone wants a hug and they don’t want to give it. In turn, they ask before they touch people and offer a fist bump or high five if folks don’t want to hug.
We’ve been talking to them about justice, violence, sex, gender, emotions, and equity since they were babies. From the books we read them too often claiming that princesses are girls and need rescuing from heroes who are exclusively boys to dressing them in clothing that promote equity, emotional intelligence, and kindness, to taking them to a wide range of protests and actions and explaining their role in the change we want to see in the world.
We answer questions honestly, especially when they are uncomfortable. We talk about science when talking about gender and sex. We talk about economics, bias, and access to education when talking about why there are people asking for spare change on street corners and how brave that is, to ask for help when we need it.
We apologize when we are wrong, the parents raising these white boys. We say we are sorry to them, to each other, when we’ve overstepped, overreacted, yelled. We ask for forgiveness, and we let them decide if they are going to give it.
When they whine about mac and cheese, Legos, and video games I remind them these things, like all things in life, are a privilege. I remind them that as white boys growing into white men they need to get their heads around how easy their lives are for them, how people are going to assume that they are educated, that they are qualified, and that they are deserved and how this is wrong. And I tell them to stop being greedy. Sometimes they listen; we are still working on this one.
When Brett Kavanuagh was being confirmed as our next Supreme Court Justice and Dr Ford was bravely telling the world of the pain he’d caused her I baked a cake. I called this cake a “Trigger Day” cake and at dinner that night, together, we talked about assault, consent, and how different it is to wear a woman’s skin than a man’s. I told them that there have been boys and men that have hurt me, and that I will never fully recover from those scary, dangerous times those people did not listen to me. They told me how sad that makes them. We talked about listening to people, asking for permission, and respect. Then we ate cake.