Teaching my Son the "F" Word

Some parents never say the "F" word in front of their kids. Some use the "F" word recklessly in front of their children, without knowing the proper context for the word themselves. I know sooner or later my son will hear the "F" word and, quite frankly, I'd rather have him hear it from me first. I'd like to teach him the proper usage of the term before he learns it from a loud-mouthed, politically incorrect relative at some Thanksgiving dinner down the road.

I'm talking about the word "feminist."

Did this whole post just get a little more taboo?
I think it might have, and that saddens me greatly.

It seems like our society has this weird idea of feminism as being stuck in a realm of unshaven, lesbian man-haters. Feminism harkens images of angry bra-burnings and women who want third trimester abortions just because they can. It's a term reserved for extremists.

But, here's the thing. . .it's not. Not for me. Not anymore.

I grew up with that weird, skewed connotation of feminism. When I was younger, I thought feminism was against me, because I had dreams of a family, I liked baking pies and I thought dresses and high heels were pretty. I had traditional values, and that's not what feminism was about. Feminism was only for career oriented women and lesbian man-haters. That's the idea that was drilled into me all my life (granted, I did attend a Christian school with questionable worldviews, but still. . .). I never heard any of the women I admired or looked up to call themselves feminists, so why would I want any part of this feminist nonsense? Why would anyone?

Why, I wonder, did no one ever set me straight on this matter?

Because let's get down to business here: despite the taboo, extremist connotation our society has adopted as common truth, feminism is about equality for women. Period.

Let me start by stating that I am not writing this to bemoan our patriarchal society and act like I am so oppressed. I have been given a life of abundant freedom. I am well aware of my blessings. But in light of recent legislation being pushed in favor of taking away women's reproductive rights and some really unsavory comments made towards women by public figures, I think it's important to examine why more women don't feel comfortable speaking up for themselves.

I think part of it has to do with feminism being a "bad word." I think it has to do with the misconception that feminism is only representative of a certain type of woman, rather than it being a platform for all women. I think we are misguided in our use of the word (I know I was for a very long time). I think it's time we rethink our motives for being quiet. Because there are new trails to blaze on the path to human rights. There is much to be done without worrying about repeating history. It's not time to move backwards.

Now let's go a little further, let's confront my personal old misconception, by saying feminism supports my lifestyle. Feminism is all about stay-at-home moms who like to bake pies and put dinner on the table at a certain time every night and have dreams of big families and houses in the country. It's all about traditional values and living like a fifties housewife if that's what you want to do. It's about having equality, so you are free to make that choice.

I love my life, and I am happy with the choice I have made to stay home with Lucas. It leaves me feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. But let's go out on a very short limb here and say maybe not every woman dreams of staying home with babies. Maybe, some women don't even dream of babies at all (gasp!). I want every man and woman to live a life that leaves them feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. I know, that's not going to happen for everyone. But wouldn't it be nice to at least give everyone that opportunity, that freedom?

That's what feminism is about.

It's not about hating men. It's not about putting the wants or needs of women above men. It's about leveling the playing field, because the human experience does not fit the cookie cutter mold that our society once dictated. Because we are more than just men and women. We are individuals, and we deserve the chance to live out our unique dreams.

I want my son to understand feminism for what it is. Not what people think it is. I want to raise a man who will fight for a just world. A man who will support his peers, regardless of their gender or orientation, because it's the right thing to do. I want him to respect others because he views them as his equals.

I guess I'm saying, I want to raise a feminist. Or in other words, a good man.

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