I got a call yesterday from a girl I know. I'm apparently the radical feminist go-to for moms. The girl was upset because something happened at school and she wished she'd known what to say, and so her mom suggested she call me.
A little boy had evidently informed her that she wasn't gender-norming appropriately. Of course, he didn't say that; he made some slur about how she wasn't acting like a girl or something.
I didn't know what to say. What do you say?
I said that some people really like to impose rules, but that a lot of the time the rules are stupid, and the people are just imposing them without good reason. And I said the two rules I think are really important are important for girls and boys. The first rule is that we treat people with respect. Girls need to treat people with respect, and so do boys. And the second rule is that we take care of ourselves. And boys need to do that, and so do girls.
And, I said, I wish I knew a witty comeback, but I wasn't good at that. And while it would be nice to call him a slug or something, that wouldn't be respectful to slugs out there who aren't jerks.
And I blathered on a bit, and I think I helped her see that she was fine and that stupid gender roles are stupid more than anything.
I hate that girls need to learn how to deal with the patriarchy, and that they're subject to patriarchal oppression.
How do you start a 12 year old on Feminism 101?