raising feminist sons is more important now than ever

Dr. Ford’s Legacy: Raising Feminist Sons

Is it possible to have a single word be both your favorite and least favorite at the same time?

Feminist is THAT word for me.

What started initially as a catchy word to draw traffic for my new company, Little Feminist, has changed my life. And has tested me to my core.

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t get messages from customers of my monthly children’s book and activity company filled with warmth, love and appreciation only to be followed by others filled with anger, disrespect and hatred. And all because of this eight letter word.

I believe in the definition of feminist, “Someone who supports equality of the sexes” more than its etymology. Because that “fem” in the word feminist brings the assumption that it’s just about females.

It’s not.

The word feminist is about all of us. Males included. With all that’s happened in Washington D.C. we need men to stand up as feminists more than ever before.

This isn’t a statement of politics as much as it’s one of reality. Unless we learn to embrace differences before we push them away, the division in this country could take lifetimes to repair.

I am 100 percent disheartened by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, BUT I am also committed – to draw a line-in-the-sand and never go back. If we don’t, then we will see the same progress between the nearly three decades that passed between Anita Hill and Blasey Ford. Nothing.

Out of the ashes of my own disenchantment came a more powerful sense. One that asks, “How do we teach the next generation, our future senators, lawyers, professors, and supreme court nominees, to stand for equality more than we do now?”

I believe the answer is deep compassion, for ourselves and others. Dr. Blasey Ford modeled this remarkably. She easily could have let time pass and not said anything. Instead, she told a story that needed to be told to give others the courage to come forward.

We learn compassion from stories, but how is the next generation going to fair if only 31 percent of children’s books feature a female protagonist? How different would things be if that percentage was closer to 50 percent and children early on found heroes of all genders and races?

I can never know the world from the eyes of a male, or a person of color, but when I listen to others’ stories, I do build compassion. Just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean I can’t make an effort to understand them.

Today when everything is black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, I don’t believe we are really seeing each other. Diverse books are the antidote. Books are windows that help us learn about others and mirrors that help us reflect upon ourselves.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is over, but now the focus turns to us and what we do. Will we raise the next generation to repeat Hill and Blasey Ford? Or will we talk about consent with our kids even when it’s awkward and uncomfortable? Will we dismiss survivors or will we raise both girls and boys to stand for gender equality too?

Today we need to teach the next generation absolute compassion for self and others because each and every one of our stories matters and needs to be heard.

One book at a time. One person at a time. One feminist at a time.


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Books to Raise Girls That Speak Out and Boys That Listen

Brittany Murlas is the Founder/CEO of Little Feminist.

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