Monday, August 19, 2013
“Having the Sexism Talk: Lessons for My Daughter”
In this short post for The Nation, Jessica Valenti, known to many of us as the founder of the Feministing website and author of several books related to issues feminists care about, says that her three-year-old daughter is already picking up traditional ideas about gender. Jessica writes: ““Friends have assured me that this is the age when children see things in a very binary way—they’re attached to boundaries and rules, and gender becomes a part of that. But it’s hard not to see that even at such a young age—and even with a feminist mother—my daughter is picking up on sexism.” The comments that followed her post show that readers have strong feelings about the topic—all kinds of feelings. How do you feel about it? As I see it, I don’t think we need to have “the talk” about feminism and sexism any more than we have to plan “the talk” about sex. (And I realize Jessica may not have written the title to her post; she says in the article that she knows there will be many talks.) In raising children—whether girls or boys—teachable moments occur constantly, and gender equality can be both modeled and discussed in a way that is relaxed and natural (even laid back and matter-of-fact) from their earliest days— and occasionally at what might seem the oddest times. I wonder if worrying too much about it and trying too hard might sometimes be counter-productive. Just thinking.