This week I’m writing alongside some amazing women about our faiths, our feminisms, and the ways that they inform and shape each other. Here is my contribution:
Earlier this spring I was chatting with my sons about the classes I was taking that semester. “What’s ‘Women in Film’?” one asked. I explained that examining the way women were shown in movies could tell us some things about how society thinks about women.
“But it isn’t fair to have a class about women in film and not one about men in film,” my son protested.
I took a breath while I thought about how to reply, but just then another of my sons said, “They don’t need a class about men in film, because in movies men are almost always the heroes.”
These are the moments when I feel like I’m getting somewhere as a feminist mom of boys – these moments when they show that they are beginning to internalize these proto-feminisms.
At our house, 101-level concepts have been translated into elementary school language: Consent means that you get a person’s permission before you start a wrestling match or pillow fight with them. Gender norms are when people say that boys aren’t allowed to wear nail polish, but we know that if someone likes wearing nail polish they can wear it if they want to and let’s practice some things you can say if people make fun of you. Racial, gender, and body diversity and different kinds of families are found in the library books we check out and the photos my friends post on Facebook and the people we go to church with.
But as my sons grow older, I desire for them to move beyond these basic proto-feminisms. I want them to identify structural inequalities and injustices, and be motivated to work towards making a more just world. I want them to understand privilege and recognize their own.
They are white, middle-class males*. The deck is stacked in their favor. They will be playing the game on the lowest difficulty setting there is.
I want my sons to be informed by feminism and intersectionality…but I do not want my sons to grow up to be “allies.”
Join us in talking about the interaction between feminist theory and your theology! Tweet using the hashtag #FaithFeminisms or add your post to the link-up. And check out the voices joining the conversation on the podcast 30 Seconds or Less all week long.