Sometimes the responsibility of parenting buoys me up with joy. It's awe-inspiring to be given the gift of guiding small people into big ones. It's mind-blowing to see up close how a human morphs from a squirming infant into a strong and capable individual with their own unique take on this world.
But sometimes the responsibility brings with it a weight of worry. Then the worry turns into a fervor of action. Action in the form of a little rant. Or a discussion.
I may, or may not have had a little rant/discussion with one of my kids this week. As you know, my kiddos are two boys age 15, 5 and the lady who is 1.
Being a mum of boys is a heavy gig sometimes.
I feel responsible for teaching all my children how to be fair and loving people. If I was, for arguments sake, to see that one of my sons wasn't critically thinking about how women and girls are portrayed in the media or thinking that it's okay to laugh at sexist jokes because 'it's just a joke,' I might have something to say about that.
I might tell my son that he is in the privileged position of belonging to the group of people that hold the most power, not just in our society, but in the world. That brings with it responsibility.
And that any representations of another group of people, women for instance, as being 'less than' -- less intelligent, less able, less important than the people who hold the most power is perpetuating the underlying beliefs that run through our culture that that group of people is inferior.
I might tell my son that sexism is insidious, it seeps into everything and colours your notions of people you haven't even met. When a girl is judged as worthy or not based on her sexual attractiveness or anything to do with her sexuality even in something like a cartoon, it contributes to the systematic disenfranchisement of all girls everywhere. It's a big deal because it's not a big deal.
If he were still doubtful I might ask him to do this: for 12 hours go about your day imagining you're a girl hearing and seeing what you hear, say and do. Is it fair? Is it right?
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Yep, I might be that parent, doing that rant. But goodness me. Some weeks it's called for. How do you talk about sexism with your kids? Or if you haven't had any talks yet, do you think you will? What would you say? I'd love to hear!