Feminism on the home front

I was at the table with my husband, seven-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son, and I decided to broach the topic of feminism with my daughter, basically so I could talk with her about Doctor Who and blogging. So here’s what I said. (Names have been changed for privacy purposes.)

“Jenna, do you know what feminism is?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

My mind went blank for a minute. How do you explain this to a seven-year old? It’s not possible. I oversimplified.

“Well, it’s a lot of things, but basically it’s the idea that a girl is as good as a boy and a woman is as good as a man.”

“Then I’m a feminist!” she said proudly.

“I am too,” I said.

“And I am too,” said my husband.

My son Ryan, who had been listening intently, said,

“Well, I haven’t decided yet.”

We didn’t challenge that or browbeat him. I’m glad he’s honest. This will be one of many, many conversations about respect for women, I’m sure.

But my husband said, “Well, it’s also about the rules for what women can do and what men can do.”

I said, “Right. Women can wear women’s clothes and men’s clothes. Men can only wear men’s clothes. That’s not fair.”

My husband said, “Right, and men aren’t allowed to have long hair!”

Jenna said, “But you have long hair!” and pointed to him and laughed.

Finally I brought the conversation back to Doctor Who and some blog posts about the Bechdel test. I said, “So there are a lot of feminists blogging about last week’s episode of Doctor Who. Clara and Emma kept trying to talk to each other, and the Doctor kept interrupting them.”

Jenna said, “But did Clara interrupt the Doctor?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, that’s fair then!” she said.

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