I'm a feminist, more than anything, because I have a son. A son that I want to see grow into a man who treats the women and men and children and elderly in his life with equal inherent respect and patience and appreciation for their contributions. A man who gives love generously and accepts it with unabashed gratitude and wonder. A man who works to protect the rights of not just himself and his friends and family, but of all people; to recognize that we are all one people, and we are all worthy. I want him to see color, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, creed, disability, health, illness, and economic status, and see the common human thread that connects us all, above all.
I want to raise my son to be a man who, if he is gay, can come to his mother knowing that he is loved and accepted completely, regardless of who or how he loves. Regardless of who he loves, I want him to demonstrate that love with kindness, patience, support, and generosity; and not just the kind of generosity that costs money. I want him to be comfortable with his sexuality, and the sexualities of others. I want him to be a man who understands and embraces sexual consent, and to demand nothing less of himself, his partners, and everyone else. To stand up against rape culture and stand with victims of assault and to assert that so called "locker room talk" is unacceptable, and to say it even when it's uncomfortable. To know that to stand up for what is right is worth being uncomfortable.
I want him to know that no one owes him anything in this world, and he owes no one anything, but to give and share freely anyway. I want him to understand that kindness is more important than money, than power, than winning. I want him to be the man who lowers his voice and asks questions instead of shouting over the words of those he disagrees with. I want him to be the kind of man who demonstrates that being the bigger, the louder, the meaner man, does not make you the better man.
I want to see my son grow into a man who is able to disagree civilly, to know that things are rarely as simple as right and wrong. A man who ask questions and respects answers, to view disagreement as an opportunity to learn as much as to teach. I hope that he is able to see that those who disagree with him and his views are not his enemies, but fellow human beings following their own winding path. To recognize that insults and anger never changed a mind, but that calm and gentle conversation might; might even change his own.
I hope that he has faith; in himself, in others, in a greater power or greater good or in his own personal belief that defies creed. I hope that he finds comfort in whatever his faith may be. That he extends respect and reverence to the faiths of others.
I want him to be the kind of man who is humble and brave and strong and proud and tough and kind and gentle. I want to raise him to be a man who understands that not every struggle will look like his, to give empathy to those struggling, to know that we are all struggling.
I want to raise my son to be a fierce patriot, to love his country and countrymen, and while I hope he never feels the call to serve his country, I hope that if he does, he does so with courage and compassion. I hope that he is a man who understands that being a patriot sometimes means going against what the people in power say; that our country and people are many and diverse and that all our rights must be respected. I want to see him grow to be a man to uses his voice and his vote carefully, to educate himself on the issues of the world he lives in, and to make his choices for the good of many, not the select few, and especially not just for his own interests.
I'm a feminist because all of those things are what it means to be a feminist, and I hope that I raise my son to be a feminist. The future of this country is carried on the backs of our children; I am a feminist to give my son the strength to carry it forward.