Society

Feminist Mother Learns To Accept Her Baby Boy

| by Sean Kelly

A woman wrote a thought-provoking piece about having a son and being a feminist.

Polly Dunning wrote the piece for The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining that she was born into a family of women and grew up with a feminist mother and grandmother.

"Motherhood has been quite a confronting experience for my feminism so far, and I'm sure it will continue to be. Ever since discovering I was pregnant it's been a process of adjusting and reconciling my biology with my ideology, particularly when I discovered that my baby, my most-beloved Alfred, would be a boy," she wrote.

"I had never wanted a son. I wanted daughters, probably because I am one of two daughters and six granddaughters, no sons or grandsons. This seemed altogether to fit in with my feminism better. It was more comfortable to me."

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Dunning said she had an "anxious feeling" come over her when she found out she'd be having a boy. 

There were two parts to the feeling: I had to mourn the life I thought I was supposed to have, the elder daughter of my two girls (why do we plan things we cannot control?!), and I had to come to terms with having a relationship with a son that I had never really considered.

There were dark moments in the middle of the night (when all those dark thoughts come), when I felt sick with worry thinking about how I would go about raising a son.

But I know what these thoughts were now. They were a manifestation of the same feelings I've had a few times over the past year. In this patriarchal world, this world where even the best men (and women, for that matter) engage in casual and ingrained sexism, how will I raise a son who respects me the way a daughter would? Who sees women as just like him? As just human beings?

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Although the mother said she worries about the "devaluing of women that is obviously so prevalent in our world," she said she refuses to raise a boy who "maintains the status quo."

"I will raise a feminist boy. Just like his father and grandfathers before him, but even better. I will point sexism out to him at every turn, and he will never get away with it without being called out. I will show him that girls are just people like him and that products and art targeted at them are no less valuable or enjoyable," she explained. 

"He will be immersed in feminism by a family who models it in their everyday life."

Sources: Heatstreet, The Sydney Morning Herald / Photo credit: Heatstreet, Martine Payne via Sydney Morning Herald

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