The fact that I want to raise awareness about the challenges faced by girls takes nothing away from my son, myself, or men in general.
I’m a father; husband, brother, son, teacher, primary care giver to my kids, a writer and geek. I am a feminist. I was not always one, but then I became the father of two, a boy and a girl. I realized that I couldn’t pretend that my girl doesn’t face the head wind that my boy will not because of her gender. That she will be scrutinized in a way her brother will never be about her education, profession, her physical appearance, the way she chooses to dress, speak in public or simply walk down a street minding her own business.
I’m psyched to be raising both of my children to be critical thinkers, question authority, even myself, to be self aware and self-actualized. I labor hard everyday to “walk my talk” (sometimes woefully inadequately) to become a positive role model. I am proud to raise both of them to be self-reliant, and whomever is the eventual “breadwinner” in their relationships my wife and I try to show them examples of how men and women can be full partners and enjoy sharing the responsibilities of a household, primarily by not limiting anything by gender. However, as things stand today my daughter like he mother, will most likely make less than a male collogue all other things being equal.
I am raising them to treat all the people in their lives like equals simply because all people are equals. Bottom line, equality is what feminism is about. I have no qualms with that concept. I want my children to open doors and carry heavy loads, to ask whomever they choose out on a date and pay the bill without expecting anything in return. I simply don’t want them to be assholes. I have no idea whom they will be attracted too nor whom they love romantically, not only is it inconsequential to me that’s the most personal choice anyone has in life.
I reject wholeheartedly the notion that feminism is damaging to anyone. Perhaps it stems from the belief I’ve developed over the years from experience being an outdoor educator, mentored by some amazingly powerful cis- and transgender women. By teaching and learning in both traditional and non traditional teaching environments informs me that there are as many different ways for a person to express their gender as there are stars in the sky. I’m not made uncomfortable by women whom have legitimate beef with the roles that a male dominated society attempt to pigeonhole them in.
It’s those very real barriers I want out of my daughter’s way.
Thankfully we’ve started to lay the groundwork for discussing at an age appropriate level, their sexuality as a part of life. Keeping the lines of communication open and empowering them both with decision-making tools and the self esteem to help resist peers, that will serve them through their tumulutuos teenage years and beyond. I firmly believe the choices young people make reflect proportionately to their level of self-esteem. We are doing our best to make sure they feel loved and it helps children feel empowered. I also taught literacy and studies have shown reading is fundamental for the obvious reasons but it also aids in developing empathy towards others.
My wife and I are not raising victims or victimizers. We simply want both to be able to stand by their choices without shame.
I reject limits on someone because of their gender, as I’ve stated before no evidence I know should pigeonhole anyone from following their dreams, we as an advanced society need to look at why those limits exist and proactively address them. That can’t happen in a vacuum. If the goal is progressive social change we must be bold enough to have hard conversations and be self-reflective. Romanticizing outdated hereto-normative cis- gender roles will only perpetuate the status quo. It’s about everyone being worthy of respect and taken on their own terms. Not morality judgments upon how someone else chooses to live. My rights end where your rights begin Female, Male, and Transgender or wherever you fall on the spectrum.
I reject the notion that feminism means suppressing masculinity, it’s fact being a man comes with unearned privilege in a patriarchy (site) On the latest Inquiring Minds podcast, Indre Viskontas asked Mythbuster co-host Adam Savage why “there is so much rage against women in” both the hard sciences and the gaming community.
“Shit’s tough for girls,” Savage said. “As a man, I’m watching this whole ‘Gamer Gate’ thing go down, and I don’t know.”
“I wish I understood it better, because I see it and I have friends that suffer from it. I worked with [Mythbuster co-host] Kari Byron for 11 years, and I’ve watched the evolution of the terrible shit Kari’s had to deal with as a public figure and a woman and a science communicator.”
“The problem I have is that I’m a white dude,” he continued. “And I recognize that my privilege makes it impossible for me to say, ‘There should be more women in science’ without sounding like I’m proclaiming from on high. I take that position seriously. I bring women into the things I’m doing because they absolutely are part and parcel of all of the storytelling and the science and the scientific discovery that we do.”
“I can’t help but feel,” Savage concluded, “that our culture is promoting impossible ideals. Ideals of ownership, ideals of success, ideals of body types — and women have suffered mightily. We have old dudes on Fox telling females hosts that they could all lose 10 lbs. They should have stomped him at that point.”
“Shit’s tough for girls,” Savage says, and I concur. But the fact that I want to raise awareness about that takes nothing away from my son, myself, or men in general.
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