The Challenge of Raising An Intersectional Feminist Son

I want my white, middle-class son to be an intersectional feminist.

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My son is a white male born into a middle-class family. He will likely be straight and cisgender. He is at peak privilege. I struggle with how to teach my son about the privilege he was born with. I want him to an intersectional feminist and an ally. Luckily, there are a lot of great resources out there to help.

Intersectional feminism is the many injustices faced by people with multiple marginalized identities. The most common example used is a Black woman, who faces discrimination based on both her race and gender. But it can include race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.

For my son, I am seeking out books and TV shows with diverse characters. Many children’s books feature animals or inanimate objects, but when the main character is human, they are generally drawn as white. When the representation of “baby” is  white, or all of the characters in a story are identified as male – even when they are animals or trains – it becomes easy to slip into the idea that white and/or male is the norm. It takes an effort to seek out intersectional representation, but it’s important.

Some great resources include:

As he gets older, I will continue to find ways to make inclusion and understanding a part of his life. Obviously, exposure to different people, cultures, and ways of thinking will be a big part of that.

I have always been a feminist, but I didn’t always have the language to express it. My early feminism was much more from a place of privilege. In the past few years, I have started learning about intersectionality. I have committed to reading more books by women and people of color. I am seeking out online intersectional spaces and listening to the conversation. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but learning to face my privilege will only it easier for me to explain it to my son. I will never be done learning, but I hope we can learn together.

 

Author: Lisa Fry

Freelance Writer & Editor. Book lover. Feminist. International development professional

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