7 Things Every Feminist Did in Elementary School Because Feminists Start Showing Their Colors Early
There's no single way to be a feminist, and there's no single journey on your way to becoming a feminist. Nevertheless, there are some things that feminists did in elementary school that, looking back, were definitely a sign they were destined to be feminists someday. Because feminism is something that you grow into over a lifetime, and the seeds are usually there pretty early.
I had the distinct fortune as a child of being raised by a feminist mom, meaning for me, feminism has been part of my life and my consciousness since, well, forever. But there are all sorts of feminist things that kids do whether they were raised by feminists or not. Because when it comes down to it, feminism isn't as "unnatural" as opponents like to pretend, and plenty of the things kids do are pretty naturally feminist.
No feminist was absolutely all about gender equality her whole life. We're raised in a patriarchal society, and we absorb a lot of that stuff. For instance, even being raised by a feminist mom, I grew up in a conservative area, and a lot of those ideas about gender sunk in, despite her best efforts. No matter how great your parents are, when you're at elementary school for most of your day, there's only so much they can do.
But even as young as elementary school age, there are things most feminists can look back on and see as signs that they would one day be championing gender equality.
Here are seven things feminists did in elementary school:
1. Read All The Books On Amazing Women You Could
I remember as a kid devouring every book in our classroom library that had to do with strong women, from kid-friendly biographies of Amelia Earhart to stories about girls surviving the Holocaust (I don't know why our school had so many of those) to those Royal Diaries series books. Being drawn to stories of badass women — especially women who really lived — is natural for future feminists.
2. Had A Tomboy Phase — That In Some Cases Never Ended
Dresses are overrated, as are Barbies, tea parties, and a lot of other things that are considered "girly." There's nothing wrong with so-called girly things, of course, but the way that they're pushed on young girls is enough to make even the most pink-loving girl want to put on a pair of baggy, beat-up jeans and run around getting dirty for a while. For a lot of girls, this phase ends, and for some, it never does; either way is fine. But it's natural for all future feminists to try out being a tomboy for a while.
3. Not Being Impressed By Boys
Boys are given a lot of attention by our society, and it starts way, way earlier than we think — in fact, teachers call on boys more and ask boys more challenging questions starting in elementary school. So it's not surprising that future feminists tend to subconsciously respond to this by, essentially, finding boys not worth our time. Really, why do they get so much attention anyway?
4. Stood Up For Yourself
Feminists are not ones to take things lying down. And that impulse starts early. Girls are socialized from an early age to stay quiet and not make a fuss, not make waves, just get along and get by. Feminists don't play by that sexist double standard, and most feminists can probably remember times from elementary school, on the playground or in the classroom, when they decided to advocate for themselves despite that conditioning, too.
5. Loved Girl Power Anthems
Whatever other pop songs you loved as a future feminist, the ones that made you belt out the lyrics loudest were probably pretty heavy on the girl power. From "Independent Woman" to "Just a Girl" to "Bad Reputation," there were plenty of powerful girl anthems to rock out to, and I know I rocked out to plenty of them.
6. Imagined Being The First Female President
I remember wanting to be a lot of things as a kid, including a veterinarian, a dolphin trainer, a pilot — and the first female president. Not because I had any interest in really anything that being president involved (in retrospect, I did not) but because when future feminists hear there's something women haven't done yet, the response is something along the lines of, "Well, we'll have to fix that, won't we?"
7. Rebelled Against Gender Norms
Why are girls supposed to like pink? Why are girls supposed to want an Easy Bake Oven? What do you mean I'm supposed to play with Barbies instead of action figures? Why is it weird to want to play sports? Feminism is about tearing down gender norms, and feminists often start this process pretty early. It's the simplest thing in the world when you're a kid, just deciding you want to do what you want, even if people say you shouldn't. But it leads to so much more.
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