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Home: The Toast

Aubrey Hirsch’s previous Loco Parentis columns for The Butter can be found here.

From time to time, these think pieces appear in which some new dad explains how, now that he has a daughter, he totally understands the need for feminism. I used to hate them. It really irked me that these men could be so callous and dismissive toward their mothers, sisters, friends, romantic partners, co-workers, and the other-half-of-the-population in general until they had daughters and suddenly cared what life was like for women and girls.

But now that I’m a mother myself, I have to say I’ve changed my tune. I now understand how the biological sex of one’s children can completely shift one’s core beliefs. I’m proud to report that now that I’m a mother of two sons, I’ve experienced a position reversal of my own.

I no longer think there’s any role for feminism in society at all.

I used to consider myself a feminist. I thought women and men should be equally respected, equally compensated, and have equal opportunities. As a woman myself, I viewed the world with limited vision, only thinking about what would make my experiences here on planet Earth more comfortable and fulfilling.

Then I had my sons. Now I think about their experiences in the world. Their thoughts and feelings are the only ones that matter to me.

I look at my beautiful, silly, amazing boys and I realize that they do deserve to be paid more than their female counterparts in the workforce. They have both X and Y chromosomes and should be compensated accordingly.

I watch my toddler roll his toy trucks around, chase soap bubbles, play in the sprinklers at the park, and my concerns about the prevalence and persistence of rape culture just float away on a summer breeze.

And, I’ll be honest, now that I’m sure my offspring will never have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, I’m just not that worried about reproductive freedom. Birth control coverage? Meh. I’ll let my sons’ girlfriends worry about that.

Unobtainable beauty standards forced onto young women used to be a big concern of mine, but now? I don’t really think about it. My sons will never have to fret over the size of their breasts, the hue of their lips, or sporting a waist-to-hip ratio that can only be achieved with digital effects.

I don’t want my boys to have to think about issues of consent or the ways that women are socialized to be deferential. It only now occurs to me what an undue burden this is on the males among us.

And now I’m glad that there are no female presidents, that no women are currently represented on currency, and that only 20% of our legislators are women. I actually think that last number could be a little lower. Move over, ladies! Make some room for my sons, okay?

To say that welcoming my boys into my life has changed the way I look at the world would be a vast understatement. I see now how selfish I’ve been believing in gender equality. I just hope it’s not too late for my sons to experience the lives of privilege and entitlement I fought for so long to take away from them.

Becoming a parent changes you. It realigns your goals. It shifts your priorities. Mothers of sons, I know you’ll agree with me here. We can do better for our boys!

Aubrey Hirsch is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, Brain, Child Magazine and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter: @aubreyhirsch.

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