Learning about feminism with my kids
Feminism is a social movement that defends the equality of rights and duties between men and women. Equal employment opportunities in all areas, equality of wages in equal positions, equality of duties in domestic work, equality of freedom to express, dress, eat, feel, judge, forgive, breathe (lol) etc.
Although this equality sounded logical in my thoughts, it was not until 2014, when I heard Chimamanda Ngozi’s speech on feminism (we should all be feminists), that I began for the first time to think seriously about what feminism stands for and what it meant to me.
I would like to say, here now, that Chimamanda’s speech was a wake-up call for me to learn more about feminism. Nonetheless, I was astonished at how many “buts” I had against many of the arguments she put forward. Today I am not proud of this, but I often remember having debated on the subject, where for example I defended the inequality of domestic tasks between men and women, with “thin” arguments of the sort: “it is part of our tradition, it is not romantic etc. . “. Or the times when I argued that male infidelity is more acceptable than female infidelity (ridiculous, I know). But this seriousness did not take long, I eventually forgot the subject.
However, after my son was four years old, I was forced to think more seriously about feminism. At the time, my eldest daughter was 6 years old. Well, while developing a different relationship with each of my children (yes, because this relationship depends on how each of them is), it’s critical to me that the way I educate them is equal and fair to both. That is to say that, they have all the same rights and duties. But, it is one thing to have this as an idea and another thing is to truly apply it. As the saying goes, “It’s easier said than done.” However, before I knew it, I was making gender-based differences in their education. Thank God, children are by nature sensitive to injustice and my daughter is definitely no exception. So it was not long before she confronted me with questions about why her brother could do certain things and she could not or why she should do certain things and her brother not.
I remember one occasion when, as is normal, I demanded that my daughter take her plate off the table, but I did not do it with my son: “Why do I have to take my plate off the table and he does not ? “. My daughter asked immediately. I thought, “Because you’re a girl and he’s a boy.” Obviously, the reason could be any other, but that was the only reason that came to mind. Luckily I’m conscious enough not to say it out loud and instead, I stunned to see myself stuttering without having a logical answer to give. I started to think and I hated the idea that I was “almost” educating them with the same machismo with which I was raised, where girls MUST do more and CAN less than boys. I hated it and the idea of educating my children, in the same way, tormented me.
Finally, I began to understand the amount of my “buts” about Chimamanda’s speech in 2014. The truth is that the number of those “buts” was due to the fact that I had more of macho mentality than I had imagined. And to think that I could educate my children with equal rights and duties without first being well aware of this fact and its consequences was very naïve on my part. Feminism is not the opposite of machismo (the opposite is femism), but it is difficult to educate our children on the basis of gender equality when we are not feminists, and much of our being is still sexist. That’s because while feminism stands for gender equality, machismo refutes.
Recognizing how deeply I was conditioned with this macho mentality, it forced me to reexamine how I raised my boys and my daughter, and I was amazed by the amount of machismo that exist in their education and how contradictory this was to what I wanted for their education. Today, although I still cannot affirm myself as a feminist, I fully agree with Chimamanda: WE ALL SHOULD BE FEMINIST (WE ALL SHOULD BE FEMINIST). Obviously, when growing up in a macho society, becoming a feminist does not happen overnight. For me, it’s a daily struggle. I still cannot help but feel that it is not “romantic” for the husband to be cleaning the floor while the woman is sitting on the cough relaxed watching TV. Which is pathetic, especially knowing that for most families the opposite happens daily. But I am determined to educate my children not to grow up with this mentality.
Gender equality should be indisputable. My children make me realize that feminism is a necessity. In fact, we are all born feminists, but society enforces on us, starting from the education we have received from our homes since we were little, this idea of the male-dominated world. And this machismo has had serious consequences in society. We create superwomen but forced to be submissive and men with egos larger than they can sustain. As a result, frustrations increase, domestic violence increases, and we all lose because we end up forming dysfunctional families.
If we want the future to be different, I think we should begin by educating our children with all the rights of duties with which we educate our daughters.
I hope you have enjoyed the article and do not forget to dream and always fight for the fulfillment of your dreams.