I’ve always considered myself a feminist—feeling strongly that women should be treated equally to men, because we are equal. But in becoming a mother to boys, my passion for female rights and equality has strengthened, because I want to raise men who are able to support a society in which the concerns of women are equal to those of men. I want my sons to understand how women are unique and powerful in our own right, and for them to appreciate and honor us, rather than fear or dismiss us, or worse hold us down.
As a mother to boys, I am also impassioned about my responsibility to be open and honest about experiences that are specific to women. Experiences that don’t make me less or weaker than a man, but experiences that should be respected and considered. I’m talking specifically about periods, pregnancy, miscarriage, and breastfeeding. I recently read a book called, ‘Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity,’ and in the book, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf puts it like this: “How we equip our children to understand, empathize, appreciate, and manage periods—personally, and as members of our community—matters as much as anything else we do. Eradicating stigma starts with the ways we raise and communicate with the next generation.”
A woman’s body is magnificent. We endure and survive and support the advancement of humanity. We should be celebrated and embraced and men should honor our role. Additionally, Weiss-Wolf says, “there’s no reason that embarrassment or shame have to be universal rights of passage.” To be honest, I think this can apply to all of us, no matter our gender. I think that as we become better educated about one another, we can learn to respect our differences, and eliminate shame.
In my parenting, I will not perpetuate stigmas that promote discrimination. In my home I will not hide my body, and I will not dismiss its functions. They are of course, they reason my children exist, and I will be sure to help them understand and appreciate this. In the same way, I will also teach my sons to appreciate their own bodies, and not to fear them as they grow, or hide as they change.