Category Archives: feminism

How to Have Gender Non-Conforming Kids

Can I just point something out?

When I say ‘raising gender non-conforming kids is the frontline of feminist mothering‘, I mean that this is really what feminist parenting is.

If you raise your kids by feminist principles, you will have gender non-conforming kids.

Yes, you will.

And, no, not because you have ‘indoctrinated’ the poor sods with all that feminazi stuff like, oh, equal pay and mutual respect, but simply because you didn’t put them in a box and hit them with the freak stick every time they slid a finger out to try and fashion a breathing hole.

My children are in fact remarkably gender conforming, all things considered.

And by ‘all things considered’ I mean of course the vast, encompassing influences brought to bear by society, by advertising, by snotty kids who do live in boxes at home but unfortunately also get let out to go to school with my kids.

By ‘all things considered’ I mean that I have managed in some small, tiny way, to keep the box lid open, just a crack.

Just a crack, but  - hopefully? – enough to let them breathe.


If you Hit my Daughter to Show her you like her…

I will beat you to a bloody pulp to show you how much I love you for it. Deal?

Thought inspired by this:

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime.

‘I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children.

‘Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.

‘If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.’

Read the rest by Queen of the Couch here.

Just to be clear, if you hit my son for the same reason, I’ll extend the deal to you, too.


Small Thoughts on the US Elections

Despite not being American, it’s hard to ignore US elections. This is always the case anyway because America is so central to the world stage, but it’s particularly hard this time around because it’s so weird.

Watching this, the latest instalment from the lovely people at Cooch Watch:

I’m struck once again by the sheer bewilderment I inevitably get when I consider that there’s so much as a single woman in the entire United States of America even considering actually voting for Romney and his gaggle of misshapen misogynists. I’m kinda disappointed that any men are, either, but not exactly surprised. But women?

I mean, OK, I kinda get the mindset some female voters will have about the abortion issue. Women who are certain they won’t ever need one (too busy filling their quiver) and are equally certain that their daughters won’t ever need one (because they’re Promise virgins, not like them other sl*gs). See?

I don’t like it but I get it.

But rape? I can’t even list the recent gaffes made by Republican politicians about rape because I’m assuming that even the Universe has some kind of finite time frame and, whatever it is, it won’t be sufficiently long to get them all down.

Suffice to say, it’s always a woman’s fault, it’s never ‘rape rape’ anyway, and a child resulting from rape is both a gift from god and a biological impossibility.

You get my drift.

But. I suppose that the same women with Promise virgin daughters believe all this shit, so they’re equally certain that they and their offspring won’t get raped, either. But what about the other 99% of American women who haven’t leapt off the edge of reason and hit their head on the way down?

I hate to reveal this to my American readers but there is a perception over my way that Americans are just a bit, just ever so slightly, completely nuts. Which is typically self-hating given that the people who hold this view are the same as those who think Americans are our soul mates.

I, however, subscribe not at all to that view; as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Americans are no more nuts than any other nationality. They’re just more able to put their nuts in our face is all.

So, American women: not particularly nuts, still considering voting for Romney.

THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE!! BRAIN IS MELTINGGGG….

And then I saw something which attempted to explain it. Thank shit for that, I thought.

And, no, I can’t find the link, but the reason boiled down to ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’

It seems that a substantial proportion of the women intending to vote for a misogynistic sack of shit are doing so because they believe Romney will be better for the economy than Obama.

[An Aside: I think Obama is pretty great, and if you don't I suggest you come over here and admire the NHS before Cameron fucks it completely to understand how awesome universal healthcare is.]

I ceased to thank shit and proceeded to slap it around the face.

The economy? The economy? That thing left in such a state by the previous Republican administration that I’ve named it twice?

But let’s ignore the past and move forward, eh? I don’t know enough about the intricacies of the economic policies of either Republicans or Democrats, so – although I have my suspicions which will be more mindful of the needs of the vast majority of Americans - I can’t really comment on their relative merits.

But Romney? A man who, as far as I can gather, made his money deliberately putting vast swathes of Americans out of work and generally behaving like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman but without having had the good fortune to meet a prostituted woman whose simply country goodness and stunning beauty makes him see the error of his ways?

You want to give this man an entire economy?? Are you nuts?

Now you no longer need to be a woman for me not to understand why you’d vote for Romney.

Unless you are a billionaire, this man will fuck you. He’s not even hiding it, not even trying to. He’s ‘not concerned with the very poor’, which, should he be elected, will soon be the vast majority of the American population. He ain’t lyin’, either, though he does, it seems, lie about a lot of other things. Like his tax payments, for example.

And because this is pertinent but also just because I love fuck yous set to music even if they’re not entirely feminist, I present to you the thoroughly smashing Wrong Direction:

I’ll leave you with one thought. We voted in our own Romney. Like Romney, David Cameron promised to fuck us and we voted him in anyway. Now, he’s getting busy fucking us and, let me tell you, it really isn’t very nice.

Save yourselves. Before it’s too late.


Two Too Good to Miss

What it’s like to be a woman loved by men, via thelittlekneesofbees.

And what it’s like to be a man loved by women:

‘Feminism expects a man to be ethical, emotionally present, and accountable to his values in his actions with women — as well as with other men. Feminism loves men enough to expect them to act more honorably and actually believes them capable of doing so.’ Michael S. Kimmel, via Men Speak Out.


It’s Really Very Simple

That is all.

By Favianna Rodriguez.


Feminist Reality

Oh, how I laugh!

From Femina Invicta.


Occupy? I Wish!

Image: Alex Gabriel

Y’all sick of this shit yet?

Now before you go getting all angry and knickers-in-a-twisty (like we feminists do, you know), you should know that this is actually good news.  Because I thought the number was 17%.

Nah, fuck it, you should still be mad as fuck at this shit.

Re-posted via La Petite Feministe Anglaise.


Motherhood and Going Feminist

I spent yesterday at the Go Feminist conference.  The conference was, obviously, about feminism, but it was more specifically about attempting to connect the dots between the different forms feminist activism can take; thus, the conference blurb:

Go Feminist recognises that we live in a world of interlocking hierarchies and oppressions. It is part of our feminist mission to dismantle this.’

I don’t think we’d argue with that, would we?  Over in Boogieville, we’re all about dismantling interlocking hierarchies and oppressions.  It’s what we idly dream of whilst dunking marshmallows in hot chocolate and watching Thelma & Louise.

And the programme for the conference reflected its aim.  Amongst others dealing with black feminism, and faith and feminism, and women and economics, there was the centrepiece of the conference, a session on how to connect movements (with a particularly interesting bit by Rahila Gupta) and an accompanying workshop, and a further workshop addressing intersectionality and how to deal with oppression when it comes from multiple directions all at once.

And, you know me, I hate to criticise.  Well, I don’t, but I do hate to criticise people like the people who organise stuff like this: big, conference-thingies, with loads of people, all talking about feminism.  Really, what sort of shit criticises women who do that?  Well, as Rahila Gupta would no doubt point out, the sort of shit who feels that her area of marginalisation hasn’t been addressed at all.  And who doesn’t feel that just because she has privilege in other areas, she should be silenced.

Now I’m privileged in many ways and I have no problem with feminism addressing racism, anti-capitalism, and the inequalities of the legal system, and what all of these things mean for women.

But.

Now, I should preface this by saying obviously I didn’t go to every workshop so I may have missed something, but nothing in the title of any of the workshops lead me to believe I did.

It really came to me during the Sexism in Popular Culture plenary session, when the question was repeatedly being asked ‘what can we do?  What can we do to change the way people think; about feminism, about equality, about the way the world works?  How does this shit change?’  And I just wanted to jump up and get all Whitney Houston on their arses.

Y’know, all ‘I believe that children are the future (warble, warble etc etc)!

In all that intersectionality, in all that ‘connecting movements’, there was not a whiff of the word ‘motherhood.’  And what connects women if not the concept of motherhood?

And I mean all women, not just those who become mothers.  Because whether you like it or not, whether you have children or not has very little to do with whether this issue will impact you as a woman.  Just ask any childless woman how often she has to fend off intrusive questions about why she’s childless.  Just ask any woman who can’t have children how often she has to lie to people just to keep her sanity.  Just ask any woman, on becoming a mother, how many assumptions she had to fend off to find her own way as a mother.  Just ask any woman of child-bearing age who’s career is, surreptitiously, stalled because of an assumption that she’ll ‘get up the duff’ any minute now (from my own experience in the legal world, women did routinely get pregnant the minute they made partner – because that was the only way to do it; it was universally acknowledged that getting pregnant before being made a partner meant you didn’t get made partner).

You don’t need to be a mother to be affected by motherhood because, childless, the patriarchal myth of motherhood will still come and get you.  You just need to be a woman.

Oh, I know, I know.  Feminist parenting is my ‘thing’, of course I’d notice its absence.  And of course before I became a mother and had no intention of ever being one, the absence wouldn’t have occurred to me either.  But isn’t it glaring?  When you think about it?  Even for a minute?

So much of what feminism is about intersects with motherhood at really, really fucking direct points.  And mothers are marginalised in all kinds of ways that intersect with feminism, and huge swathes of mothers worldwide are marginalised more than I could even shake a fucking stick at and a huge part of that marginalisation arises directly from the fact of their motherhood. And even white, middle class feminist mothers are marginalised because other mothers don’t get what the fuck you’re on about and feminism tends, it seems, to ignore the elephant in the room.  Whilst providing a creche and offering workshops for children…

Oh, I don’t want to whine.  A hearty congratulations to all the organisers for all the many things they got right (which was basically everything else – not least actually getting up and doing the whole thing in the first place).  I enjoyed the day, I really did.  It just spoiled it for me is all.


Feminist Parenting: A Definition

Well, my definition at any rate.

Contrary to popular, mainstream opinion, feminist parenting does not mean ‘raising children to be feminists’.  At its most basic level, feminist parenting means nothing more or less than allowing your children to be who they are.  Allowing them to be as ‘girly’ or ‘boyish’ or ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ as their nature dictates and giving them a bedrock of understanding that these terms are meaningless in so far as they are applied to them.

This of course gives us what ‘feminist parenting’ is not.  It is not about denigrating boys or their stereotyped traits, it is not about denigrating girls or their stereotyped traits.

It is about teaching your children both to be, and to relate to other people as, individuals.  It is about teaching your children to respect themselves and their individuality and, in turn, respecting others and their individuality.

At its core, feminist parenting is about celebration.  Celebrating our own uniqueness and that of others, celebrating both the things that we share as people and the ways in which we differ.

When I put it like that, I’m quite disappointed; it doesn’t sound very radical, does it?

And if, by some minor miracle, you manage to raise your children to understand all of the above, all else will follow.  Trust me, it will.

I was prompted to write this post by this one over at Pigtail Pals about this very idea of celebrating our children for who they are.  It’s the lovely long post I would write if I wasn’t so lazy and Melissa hadn’t already handily written it for me to link to.


The Trouble with Feminist Parenting

 

Mothering: about more than just baby poo

This is the trouble with feminist parenting.

I am torn between celebrating [my daughter's] innocence and apparent immunity to the more suffocating features of ‘girl culture’, and worrying about her being rejected soon by school friends for not being sufficiently aware of ‘girl culture’.

‘Mostly I’m all up in the celebration stuff but I won’t lie, there is a bit of me disturbed by all that ‘couldn’t give a fuck-ness’, too.’

I’ve written before about my own feelings on the subject:

…how do you raise a girl to be outside the girly-girl, appearance and consumerist-driven culture they’re being spoon-fed from every angle without making her an outsider to her own sex?…how can you teach a girl to not relate to the hyper ‘girly-girl’ model and yet still enable her to relate to, and fit in with, girls who do?

‘Because whilst I fervently want Boogie to step outside the increasingly limited model of femininity she’s presented with, I don’t want her to be, well, weird. Are you feeling me here? I’m trying to teach her to denigrate a model that the vast majority of her peers will believe in whole-heartedly, but I don’t want her to be the sad, lonely kid in the corner, amusing herself by putting her bogies on a passing ant.

‘And, sure, I can explain why her peers (and my peers) fall for all the gender shit that comes their way, but the fact remains that, on some level, the message must contain some implication that her peers are a bit stoopid. I mean, essentially, it boils down to: they may fall for it, Boogie, but we won’t because we know better.

‘And then she has to go to school and relate to these stupid people that mummy has told her about.

And I can’t lie, it does worry me.  But, you know, this essential problem isn’t limited to feminist parenting.  This is the problem with any style of parenting which falls outside the scope of ‘normal’, ‘normal’ of course being an ever-changing concept decided upon by the prevailing culture.  Any kind of parenting which falls outside these norms for whatever reason is derided and attacked.  Any kind of parenting which, in essence, teaches your children to be committed to something which isn’t the status quo carries this essential problem right along with it.

And with the status quo being what it is, what kind of parent wants that for their child?  Frankly, that’s just weird.

And there’s the salvation for my worries.  Because whilst I worry about my children being ‘different’, what’s the alternative?  Because I don’t want them to be ‘normal’, that’s for damn sure.  Feminism is my truth.  It’s a way of viewing the world which, having viewed the world in many different ways, is the view that makes the most sense to me, both to explain what has gone before and to change what will come.  I could no more not give this view to my children than I could go get a boob job and do the Cinderella gig at DisneyLand.

And my feminism is about more than a commitment to gender equality, it is about a commitment to equality of all kinds, and as such it goes against all kinds of ‘norms’, like racism and homophobia and able-bodied privilege and, oh, yes, capitalism.  And I will give all those views to my children because it is beyond my ability not to.  I am helpless in the face of what I know to be true.

Ha!  My kids have as much chance of being normal as I have of doing the Cinderella gig naked with ‘passive slave’ tattooed on my liposuctioned arse!

But you know what?  They’ll be fine.  Because there is one thing, one truth, which underpins everything, which is that everybody must find their own truth.  And if I am guilty of teaching my children anything it is of teaching them to look critically at the world around them and to make their own sense of what they see.  And if, at the end, they see it differently to me, then so be it.

Unless of course, they turn into Tories in which case I’m grounding them till they’re pensioners.


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