I don’t think we can reasonably talk about women’s history and feminist parenting without talking about how we parent our sons. Toxic masculinity is such a huge part of our culture, I don’t think we even realize it’s here or how toxic it really is!
I would put to you, dear reader, that part of the reason male children have higher rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries is that we have an idea (especially with the nonfatal injuries) that baby boys are tougher than baby girls. A study done by Barbara A. Morrogiello, Lisa Ondejko, and Amanda Littlejohn and published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology indicates that boys are often left alone (as in, parents are in the other room) more often than girls and that leads to higher rates of injuries in boys as well. The notion that one sex of children is tougher and more independent than another sex is really hurting our kids! Raising feminist boys means, at the very least, treating our sons and daughters equally. You don’t have to be present all the time but be equally present.
“Being there” isn’t enough though. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” I wouldn’t be wishing that you would help me by becoming a patron. History has shown us that mothers doing the invisible work of parenting are, in fact, invisible. The young men with political aspirations have, time and again, forgotten their mothers when they enter the hallowed halls of lawmaking. Speaking candidly with your children about your aspirations, not only as a parent but as a woman, will teach your children that you are truly a whole person. We are all worthy of consideration within and outside of our homes.
I would love to hear from those of you who are in the trenches day-to-day. What is it like for you to raise boys who are feminists (whether or not you use that terminology?). What are things that you do differently than other parents around you?