If Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade's support of Zaya proves anything, it's that parents can learn just as much from their children as the kids do from them. In a new interview, Gabrielle Union revealed what Zaya has taught her about womanhood during their family time in quarantine.
Union has been quarantined with her family, including her sister, her husband Dwyane Wade, Zaya, and their youngest daughter, Kaavia, for the last few months, meaning there has been a lot of time for family bonding. “I love that in our household there are so many different ways of expressing ourselves,” Union said in a new interview with SELF, speaking of parenting in quarantine. “And watching Zaya clock all of it. Right? That there’s no one way to be a woman. There’s no one way to be a Black woman. There’s no one way to be beautiful. There’s no one way to dress or to love your body.”
Back in February, Wade announced that Zaya was transitioning and using she/her pronouns, which their family accepted with open arms. They recently celebrated Zaya's thirteenth birthday, and, while Union is clearly conscious of raising her daughters, she's also discovered that some of the facets of womanhood that she embraces might not be right for them.
This became clear to Union when she decided to teach Zaya how to shave her underarms, just like her mother taught her. "Zaya was like, ‘But Amandla Stenberg doesn’t shave her armpits'," she recalled. "And I was like, 'No, she does not!'" As the actor recounted, the experience made her reexamine whether feminine beauty standards have any bearing on gender and expression. "You are a woman because you are," she said. "Because that is your identity."
Union and Wade previously talked about their experience dismantling gender stereotypes to support Zaya in an op-ed for TIME. "There are lots of things we still argue about, like what it is to be a 'lady'," they wrote. "Are we trying to teach Zaya a very specific and 'traditional' way of performing 'femininity,' like shaving your legs and armpits? How many things that we do are rooted in misogyny, sexism and forcing women into these boxes?"
Union remarked to SELF that she still has yet to find all of the answers, but urged parents of LGBTQ+ kids to follow their children's lead and take the time to educate themselves. “You can lead with humility,” she said. "You can legit say, ‘Okay, I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that I love you, and I’m going to be on this journey with you, and we’re going to learn together'."