"The challenge for boys is to not be apathetic. If you’re not impacted or if you’re not the one directly hurt then I would hope he would have a perspective for his mom, wife, daughter. "
HARRIET ON RAISING HER SON (5) AND DAUGHTER (2)
PORTLAND, OREGON | USA
Anyone can act on it
Feminism has never been in my everyday vocabulary. In the past, I’ve thought of it as a small slice of women leading the charge for equality into the areas in society we don’t think about or issues that don’t come up on their own. In the past year, I’ve thought of it as more accessible to people... It feels more like overall equality and everyone having an equal footing. I see it now as general equality. Anyone can act on it.
"She" not "he"
My daughter defaults to saying everyone is a "he", but we correct her with "she." Things like that are minor but, added up, could affect her in the long run. One thing that I consciously do is try to find books with strong female lead characters. I didn’t realize that the generic books that we’ve gotten for our older son have all male leads. The female characters are pretty tangential. That’s definitely one area that we’ve been working on. Also, we also try not to categorize toys, to encourage her to play with building toys, which she loves. It helps that her personality is pretty stubborn and that she pushes back.
Pink and Purple
My daughter loves skirts, dresses, and sparkles. These are things that I would never choose for her. I feel like there’s this tension between letting her be who she is or wants to be and wanting her to not feel like that’s a box she’s put in. It’s hard for me. I don’t know exactly what to do with it. Her favorite colors are pink and purple. That’s her.
I didn’t think about it with my son. Once in a while, he would say “I like pink but someone told me that it’s a girls’ color.” We had to explain to him that it’s not a girl color. There’s no boundaries with that.
Tendency towards inaction
In Asian culture, there’s definitely a tendency towards inaction. My default is to complain about something but not do much to change it. Our culture has deference to the status quo, to the current leadership. But I think it’s not as much me but more like my grandparents. I don’t think it will be much of factor for my daughter because she will be more removed from that.
Hopes for the future
My hope for my daughter is that she would be aware of the areas that there’s work to be done and improvements that could be had. Be part of the change. Whether it’s in her personal life, or when she raises her kids, or the way she treats her friends. Embrace it in a way that makes sense in her life. I think for my son, and the challenge for boys, is to not be apathetic. If you’re not impacted or if you’re not the one directly hurt then I would hope he would have a perspective for his mom, wife, daughter. Just have that drive for justice and compassion. Not be in his own world.