I feel like this post needs a preface. I’ve never been anti-feminist, but I live a very “traditional” lifestyle. I’m a very happy — and sometimes very exhausted — stay at home mother. I love it. I love being with my kids, and I honestly believe that I’m doing the right thing for my family by being home with them.
Even saying that much is a bit terrifying for me. I’m always hesitant to talk about being a SAHM because I feel like there are so many women (and men) who look down on me for that choice. I’ve seen self-proclaimed feminists on social media say that staying at home is anti-feminist. I don’t like confrontation. It makes me very uncomfortable. But in this case, I guess we’ll just have to disagree. For me, being a feminist means standing up for all women without judgment, without ridicule, without tearing each other down.
Now, on to the moment when I was an angry feminist…
My nine-year-old son is doing a little physical training with a coach to help prepare him for football season. His coach is darling and fantastic at motivating my son to work hard. He’s also very young. As he was working with another young client, I heard him say, “Stop punching like a girl.”
Very quietly, I said, “Some girls hit hard.”
The coach smiled at me and said that he knew it was true, but that this particular phrase motivated this particular client.
The proof was obvious. The little boy was punching harder, and I didn’t say anything else.
But I fumed. I stewed. And for nearly two weeks I’ve thought about that phrase.
The coach may not have meant it as dismissive or misogynistic, but he taught that eight-year-old boy that there was something fundamentally wrong or weak about being a girl.
I can’t go back and undo my actions. I didn’t stand up for girls, myself and my three daughters included. But I can move forward with this lesson under my belt. I can teach my son that I am not less. That his sisters are not less. That we can and will do things better, faster, and smarter than he can. We may not be able to knock him down with one blow, but we will definitely knock him down with many. And I mean that both literally and figuratively.
There is nothing wrong with doing anything like a girl.
If this post wasn’t clear enough, then here’s a quick reminder from a superbowl ad that has stuck in my head for nearly six months.
I hope that we can teach our children that doing anything like a girl means doing it well.