Skip to content

feminist mom

Join the feminist picture book revolution with this free tool

Yo ladies and gents! Are you ready for your DIY summer project? All you need is 5 minutes and a commitment to gender equity!

So stop stirring your artisinal, small batch, organic playdough, and go load some locally-sourced, recycled paper into your printer. Cause we need you for the revolution.

Read on.

“Protagonism is Propaganda that protects and perpetuates privilege.”

Jill Soloway, my living, breathing spirit animal said this.

It, in addition to every other thing she says in this manifesto, has given voice, clarity and purpose to feminist frustrations that got turned up to a steady boil since I pushed out my first baby.

I switch pronouns in most every picture book, I have long, difficult discussions with AW about the sexist way we divvy up domestic chores, I tell the boys why certain stories they read make me angry, because they are using sexist or racist or classist or homophobic stereotypes. “Maybe we should call the male character the ‘the farmer’s husband’ since women and men can both be farmers and husbands and wives. Let’s think of some we know…”

I challenge their assumption that the person riding the motorcycle is male. I consider that all of this is working when Jo and I have an exchange about a silver Toyota passing us on the freeway.

Me: He’s driving waaay too fast!

Jo: Or she!!!

And so it has been that raising my children has made me ever more aware of patriarchy, of sexism, of the million ways that He and Him and His is the universal default for every person or creature seen in the world or shown in a story.

And so it has been that I’ve had the idea to make this for almost exactly 7 years, and finally spent the 10 minutes it took this afternoon.

Behold! This magical feminist pronoun switcher tool can empower any person anywhere to join the protagonist revolution.

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 4.54.13 PM

 

Since a shocking majority of published picture books feature male characters, you can just close your eyes at your kids’ bookshelf and grab one. Then, simply print, cut, paste and voila! You just created your first piece of feminist protagonist propaganda! It can be tipped into the tiny, pliable minds of children everywhere.

Not only will you be saved from having to remember to change pronouns on every page, your child will soon set the perfect stage for a conversation about unfairness and and feminism when she asks you why you changed the words in so many of her picture books.

Welcome to the revolution.

Feminist Home Makeover

There have been some changes on the home front. Radical changes. Distinctly woman-liberating changes.

Behold. Feminist Home Improvement #1:

A photo posted by An Honest Mom (@anhonestmom) on

An aside: Some would argue that even categorizing a dishwasher as a woman-liberating machine is sexist. Isn’t it equally liberating to the droves of men elbow deep in dish suds? Well, no. It isn’t. Because the vast majority of dishes are done by women. What a load of crap! Down with the patriarchy! And, for the time being, this particular consumer took the easy way out and used her distinct privilege to buy a machine that creates an illusion of gender equality in her own home. And the oppressive wheels of sexism roll on.

On the dazzling day I walked home to see this beauty in our kitchen, I walked in a stupor around the house muttering, “Oh my Goooohhhhhd, Oh my Goohhhhhhhd.” That first night, after we’d put the kids to bed, AJ and I loaded her up, pushed the “On” button and just sat on the floor and watched. “It’s washing our dishes right now.” AJ said, rapt. “It’s a storage container where we get to put our dirty dishes, and then it cleans them,” I replied, awestruck.

But wait! Feminist Home Improvement #2 is even more revolutionary.

Where there was once a changing table and later a crib in our bedroom, there is now this wondrous thing:

img_6269

Take it in. Because what you just saw was a radical feminist photo of a radical feminist desk. I’ll tell you why. I did not try to make everything in my picture look tidy and perfect. I even left the overflowing laundry basket out and the new desk chair in my closet, where I usually keep it, since our bedroom is too small for the desk and chair to just sit and hang out. At first, I wanted to make the picture perfect, because I like pretty pictures just as much as the next person, but I held myself back to prove a point to me and to you. It’s the point none of us can get enough of these days: all of our lives are messy no matter how many pretty pictures we post online.

This radical feminist desk is taking up space that was once devoted to caring for babies and little children, and now, it’s devoted only to me. A desk of one’s own. Eat your heart out, Virginia Wolf. It’s the first space I’ve had in my home that is only for me and completely under my control since Jo was born over 7 years ago. We are talking revolution here, people.

I choose what goes in it and sits on it, and my kids are not allowed to touch or turn any of those things into weapons. It’s the fixed place in my house where I get to do whatever damn thing I want. I sat there and wrote an effing letter to a friend yesterday. On paper. With a pencil. And today, here I am writing this to all of you. Taking up space in my house and in the hours of my day and in the world to share my stories about being a woman and a mother.

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman.”
― Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl 

That shit is radical. And it’s mine.