Why feminism is an important influence on my parenting

By Sarah Keensarah1

The moment it was time for me to put my infant daughter in the car seat to take her home from the hospital, I began to cry. It wasn’t a soft cry, it was an ugly hysterical cry. I was terrified to take this tiny human into the cruel, challenging world. Looking at her tiny body in that big seat that was made to protect her, I felt helpless. I wanted to wrap my body around that seat the entire car ride home as I realized it wasn’t just her tiny body that I needed to protect – it was also her mental well-being.

I feared:

  • Body image – I had bought her a bikini swimming suit because she was born in June and I thought it to be cute. But that moment in the car I realized the swim suit was not cute and that it was a way to sexualize her body. I made the decision that neither she nor I was going to conform to such beauty standards.
  • Confidence – I thought of all my shortcomings and fears and I wanted to protect her from such experiences. I wanted for her to be comfortable in her skin, to be assertive in every aspect of her life.
  • Sex – I realized that for only so long could I protect her from learning, talking, thinking, and having sex. Teaching her self-respect became a top priority in the way I chose to parent.

Overall, I was scared shitless to have this tiny baby girl when women are perceived as weak and vulnerable. I knew on that car ride home that my feminist background was going to be an important tool to raising not just a strong, successful woman, but also a socially responsible woman.