Mom Who Doesn’t Understand What Words Mean Thinks Feminism Is Hurting Her Sons
I was looking for something to write about today, when this headline caught my eye: “To The Mom Who Thinks Feminism Is Hurting Her Boys, You’re Wrong.” My ears pricked up like a dog whose owner mentioned the word, “treat.” I thought, there’s a mom out there who thinks feminism is bad for her sons? I must paint you.
Today on Yahoo Parenting, Alyssa Royce responded to a woman named Tara Kennedy-Kline, who wrote a post for Your Tango called, “I’m a mother of 2 boys, and I can’t (and won’t) support feminism.” Here was my immediate reaction:
But wait. Hang on. I’m a professional (kinda). I need to read Kline’s post first before I make any judgements about it. So I did. And now I am judging.
Any woman who proudly declares that she is not a feminist is an idiot. Full stop. I mean, it’s her life and I’m not trying to force anyone to believe that they should have equal rights, but it’s sad and unbearably stupid to feel that way.
Welcome to Judgment Town. I am your mayor.
I’m the mother of a boy and a girl, so I was curious why the fact that Kline has sons would have anything to do with this. She says it’s the reason that she stopped being a feminist, which she says she “may have been at one time.” (Psst…Ms. Kline? I’m betting all the chips on “never happened.”) She says:
…but then I became the mother of two boys and I realized that I cannot align with a message that has changed into something degrading, offensive, accusatory and opposed to the morals and messages I am teaching my kids.
Clearly, Kline and I do not have the same definition of what feminism is. I believe that being a feminist means supporting women, believing that they have the right to make decisions for themselves, and giving them the same rights and access as men. I don’t see anything degrading or offensive there, but it could very well be against the “morals and messages” Kline is teaching her kids. In which case those morals and messages are bad and wrong.
In Judgment Town we have a thriving, stern look-based economy.
Kline argues that she wants her sons to behave like “gentlemen”: opening doors, paying for dinner, and surprising her with a kiss on the check from time to time. I’m not sure I follow that last one, but I guess she saying that thugs don’t kiss their moms. Or maybe she’s saying that thugs are constantly kissing their moms, and that a real gentlemen only does it occasionally, like when she remembers to fold his laundry the way he likes.
But what does feminism have to do with this? Well, there’s the fact that she wants her sons to treat the women in their lives “like princesses,” an idea that should make any woman above the age of fifteen want to vomit. Kline also spends a few paragraphs taking down a variety of feminist movements and hashtags. She sides firmly with those who think that catcalls are just a way of appreciating a woman’s beauty, and that TakePart.org encourages girls to, “spin [doctor] age-old terms like ‘boys will be boys,’ which is more about farting, burping, and falling out of trees than it is sexual harassment.”
And now, I would like you to join me in singing Judgment Town’s anthem. “Judging you, judging you judging you hard, get your head out of your ass, yes I’m judging you hard.”
But you guys! It’s hard to be the mom of virginal, sexless boys! Listen:
Teaching my boys that they are somehow wrong, perverted or bad if they look at what is being flaunted in front of them is also making the job of parents a thousand times harder to have that conversation about steering clear of “easy” girls. And, let’s not assume for one second that there aren’t plenty of them.
In other words, those damn whores are out to destroy her boys. All boys want is for girls to keep their horrible breasts out of their faces. They don’t need harlots trying to get them to have sex and smoke marijuana cigarettes and dance at parties!
Honestly, there’s too much in Kline’s post that offends me for me to address all of it. So I’ll just end with this. To Kline, feminism is about restricting everything masculine. She believes in traditional gender roles (clearly). And she thinks that feminists are angry and mean.
I support fairness for everyone, but as long as being feminist means suppressing masculinity, it cannot possibly be called a “quest for equality.” Respect is earned, not demanded. There will never be a time when I will tell my boys not to treasure, protect and admire the women in their lives because “Women don’t need a man to feel valued.” I say, “Value all people and the gifts they bring.” Only then will the world be truly fair and equal.
She just doesn’t get it. Feminism doesn’t mean not valuing women; it means valuing women as human beings. It doesn’t mean hating men, it means hating bad men. And it doesn’t mean treating men badly, unless what those men have been raised to consider good treatment is condescending and oppressive (hint hint).
As for “respect is earned, not deserved,” that is a pretty awful way to move through the world. Earned according to whose standards? Your narrow, shame-based ones? I would rather have my children believe that all people deserve respect, and that it is, instead, disrespect that needs to be earned. But regardless, equality for women isn’t about trying to earn respect from men. It is about having the rights of every other human being. You can keep your respect, your slut-shaming, and your princesses. I’ll take equality.
(Photo: Sunny Studio / Shutterstock)