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Hello.

Welcome to minifeminist.

I'm a mama of two based in Portland, Oregon, learning how to become a more mindful parent.

"Our version of feminism is just fucking crush. Just get it. Period. Celebrating that and empowering them is our root and core as a family. "

"Our version of feminism is just fucking crush. Just get it. Period. Celebrating that and empowering them is our root and core as a family. "

MATT AND LEIGH RAISING TWO DAUGHTERS (8,11)

BEND, OREGON| USA

Our backgrounds

M - I grew up in the Northeast, in a progressive-minded household and a pretty standard suburban upbringing. We were closer to New York City and that vibe, and I think that growing up I was always exposed to and aware of the beautiful diversity of New York City. We experienced diverse cultures through the foods we ate and what we did in the city. There was sense of equality that was always really important to our family. It was never verbally talked about, but it was in how we operated and how we treated other people growing up on the East coast, which feeds into that feminist mindset. There are little underpinnings of that probably woven into my brain but not in an explicit, verbalized way.

L - I was raised in a more traditional suburbia in New York State with little urban exposure - I went to New York City once as a kid. My parents had three daughters (I’m the youngest) and my dad instilled a very strong sense of “anything is possible” attitude. Anything is possible with hard work and determination and making it work. It never crossed my mind that girls and boys were different in terms of what you could do in life.

Our family really celebrated the interesting things we're doing in our lives, whether it was academically or through sport. I just built this kind of like foundational self-confidence that really helped in my twenties for sure.

No distinctions

L- For early grade school both girls were in pretty small schools. And with that, there's this really strong community and it's not this boy-girl split of life. They're happy to cruise around and play some smaller, quieter games or play really big games on the playground. This year Sophia transitioned to a bigger school and work to be really open about what’s happening there - kids getting in trouble and various other things that come home. Sometimes it's boy-girl specific. We try to never make it as much boy or girl and bring it back to making good choices in life. Focusing on decision making and “making good choices” is a regular conversation. Throughout their whole life, they've been in a social circle of both boys and girls of older and younger ages, which means they have to be flexible and we don't make that a big deal.

Sophie often trains soccer with boys and there's no pointing out genders. We say you are an amazing player - “How did you feel you played today?” I kinda don't make it a big deal. It’s not like “that was amazing that you played with the boys!”

Beyoncé

M- We don't elevate any you versus anything else in our house. There’s not a lot of gender comparison. I would say zero gender conversation - except for Beyoncé. She’s the queen of our house and the Run the World (Girls) mindset is definitely strong in our house. We use her anthem  as an empowering way to celebrate who you are.

L - That’s definitely intentional. As a parent you're controlling music in the car. You can choose to have our driving to school Run the World (Girls) or choose to listen to some teeny bopper song about the boyfriend that broke my heart and I'm never gonna make it back, which is like 80 percent of music out there. There’s intention in the choices we make around how we talk about various topics, how we actually really engage our kids in conversations about work, in decision-making. All of it is probably foundational whether we realize it or not. We want to create a foundation of empowerment to have an opinion and to make choices. If we had boys we would probably be doing the same thing.

Natural beauty

L - I would say we think media probably has such an influence on young girls and boys, so we didn't participate in the most of that Disney princess narrative. Our girls are  not beauty-focused in a commercial way, but these things do come up.

Lily naturally was just way more into the dressing up and really wanted a Tinkerbell costume and I remember I resisted so much.  She'd go to someone's house and play, dress-up and princesses. I had to think about if this was about me or about her? It was my issue - she was just in the moment wanting to be imaginative. For her fourth birthday we got her a trunk of dress-up clothes from the GoodwIll and she had a blast. It was kind of a learning to be less rigid. How do you work through it in a way to feel okay? For Halloween, Lily used face-paint makeup to paint her lips red. We celebrate that and allow her to do that but it is for fun, not to be “more beautiful “ with it. Playing in the house for special occasions was kind of the boundary.

Sophia is very similar to me, but I did notice her interest in wanting special hairstyles. Because I don’t have flat ironing tools in the house for her to use, she’s figured out creative ways to achieve what she wants. She started braiding her hair at night so she has a natural wave in the morning. She calls the style her Beyonce hair and we love it.

Empowerment

M - we work hard to Include them in our family conversations. When we're talking about what we're gonna do this weekend, where we want to eat out or, talking about bigger work stuff we do it together. If we can’t all agree we are  known to whiteboard out. We do a little brainstorm and use a whiteboard to discuss these things. We write down everybody's ideas and rank them. It’s teaching them to problem solve and to emphasize that their opinion matters. If we’re stuck, we can talk about it. Let's brainstorm. You matter, so share your opinion. The whiteboard is a tool that is heavily used.

L - We tell the girls, “Hey, you can do anything. It doesn't matter. Be a good person in this world. Work hard and you can make it happen.”

M - Our version of feminism is teaching them to “Just fucking crush. Just get it. Period.” Celebrating that and empowering them is core to our family.

Challenges ahead

L - As they get older and as they encounter more, bigger issues that are happening nationally, I think the word and concept of feminism will come out a little bit more in middle school. There is a shift that really happens with girls like in seventh or eighth grade. Girls are going through puberty and some girls are allowed to wear crop tops and makeup - we have to define again what is ok in our family.

We know here's going to be issues we don't even know about that are coming in the next couple of years, and we will go back to that foundation of just being really engaged with the family and talking about uncomfortable things. Not being afraid to hard conversations, whether it has to do with gender equality or other topics. How do you feel and what are you experiencing in school? On top of physical and emotional changes in middle school, kids are seeing drugs and all kinds of things that are really big in middle school.

For us, we believe it's really important that our girls are engaged actively, to build that self-confidence, to feel good in your body. There's so much research around the next couple of years, particularly middle school, that girls are dropping out and prioritizing more of the “growth stuff”. Our goal is to keep them engaged and surround themselves with really good friends because the reality is in the next couple of years your peer group has a huge influence on them. Right now, we have this opportunity to have these great conversations and be super engaged.

I think the time that they're living in is super exciting to be raising girls. While there's a lot of crazy stuff going on, there's a dialogue that's happening and we aren't afraid to have that. We've had some of it, we haven't other pieces, but in terms of  seeing them as young girls growing into young women, just the possibilities of where they want to take whatever their passion is, whether they choose a more traditional path or whether they choose to blaze a totally new path, we know they’ll continue to be an inspiration to us.

Who run the world? GIRLS

“When we conform to gender stereotypes, we deny children the complicated human beings that they are and reduce our parenting experiences to our children's genitalia.”

“When we conform to gender stereotypes, we deny children the complicated human beings that they are and reduce our parenting experiences to our children's genitalia.”

"As a father, I can explain to them why it's important for men and women to work together to break those shitty cultural norms down. "

"As a father, I can explain to them why it's important for men and women to work together to break those shitty cultural norms down. "

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