You don't need to be a woman to be a feminist, and everyone who believes in gender equality should be one. As Maisie Williams, Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, says: "'Isn’t that just like everyone?" And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists "feminists" and just start calling people who aren't feminist "sexist" — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist."' Being a feminist isn't a huge label to take on or to teach your kids about, it just means that you want them to treat everyone as a human.
When you raise girls it always starts with the worry that one day a man will take advantage her. It's the fear of being a woman that you have that you push onto her, letting her know from day one that she has to protect herself because being a woman means life is different. We teach our girls to walk with their heads down, keep their keys out when getting in the car, or not to walk alone at night or without pepper spray. We tell them when you go to a party to watch their cups because they are at risk. Our girls grow up thinking that they are less than their male counterparts because that is what society has taught them, but we know better.
When you raise boys the game totally changes. The phrase "boys will be boys" has been used to justify some of the worst things as proved by the video released earlier this year of Donald Trump. We need to teach our sons that being a boy doesn't give them special passage to do whatever they want, or to not worry about the feminist cause because it doesn't affect them. It's time to teach boys that a woman can walk alone wherever she wants, that men don't have the right to touch a woman without her consent, and that women are equal to men.
It all starts when they are kids, and we give dolls to girls and tell boys to go play in the mud. Instead, teach your kids that they should play with whatever toys they please because who says that girls can't run as fast as boys, or that boys can't wear makeup? Let some of their role models be ones that don't fit the mold like Florence Griffith Joyner, one of the fastest female track athletes, or James Charles, Cover Girl's first male model. Their ideals of what men and women should be like will become more open.
When they get a little older, teach them about how women and men's bodies are different but that doesn't mean one is better than the other. Have your kids do the same tasks to show them girls can do anything boys can do and boys can do anything girls can do. When it comes time for their first dance encourage your girls to ask the boys to the dance – they don't need to wait for Sadie Hopkins! Teach your sons once they're teenagers that young ladies need to be respected and to never pressure them to have sex. Women and men both are equals in relationships and in life.
Start teaching your kids to be feminists, but even more so to treat all human beings equally.