One week ago today, I found out that I'm pregnant with a boy. The next day, footage of Trump surfaced where he describes getting away with sexually assaulting and systematically disrespecting women with no fear of reprisal.
When I first saw that our first child is to be a boy, I was thrilled. Now, after viewing and re-viewing that footage — which is just the tip of the iceberg of absolutely heinous things that Trump has said, done and promised to do — I feel an odd sense of guilt and fear.
It’s hard for me, as a female, to fully understand the privilege that my son is going to be born into. Likewise, it’s going to be hard for him to fully empathize with many elements of the female experience, which are far from universal, but seem to carry many of the same trials regardless of age, race, income level, etc. He's not going to be nearly as likely to have a cold shiver run down his spine when he walks home at night alone. He probably won't get habitually spoken over, or have his opinion dismissed, or get paid less for the same job. Doors will open easily for him that remain shut to many others, simply by virtue of his maleness (and more than likely, his white maleness).
This doesn't mean that I'm going to teach my son white guilt. It means that I'm going to teach him never to take his inevitable privilege for granted.
I want to teach him how to use his position in the world to make real change. I want to teach him to be a feminist and to lift up those who aren’t "lucky" enough to be born into stable family with an above-average income. While I want him to be proud of how high he can fly, I don't want it to be at the expense of others.
He’s going to have so many opportunities that women don’t get or simply aren’t aware of because of the lack of role models and cultural encouragement. I honestly can’t even pretend to know how it’s going to be for him. And it terrifies me.
I like to think I’m a strong, independent, forward-thinking feminist who’s going to do everything she can to instill ideas of tolerance, equality, and open-mindedness in all of my children, no matter what genitalia they have or sexual orientation they ascribe to. But when Donald Trump is considered the crème de la crème of what America has to offer in a leader, it’s hard not to get discouraged by the state of overall masculinity and wonder what I can do to instill my perception of decent values in this human being’s life. He deserves better role models than Trump.
Obviously there are plenty of incredible male role models out there and I would never discount them due to the fact that they aren’t female. I’ve just had the personal experience of seeking out female representation in historically male-dominated walks of life in a desire to bring their inspiration to the forefront in a way that I can, on a very biological level, relate to.
Raising and relating to a daughter is something I can wrap my mind around. Relating to a son is going to be hard, but it’s an opportunity I have no intention of squandering. I’m sure I’m going to make mistakes. I’m sure that my husband is going to bring his experience to the child-rearing experience and teach me things that I had no idea existed, and vice versa. And no matter what, we’re going to do the best we can.
I hope it's enough.
P.S. If you're interested in feeling inspired by a collection of amazing women, Grace Bonney's new book In The Company Of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs is out now! Available on Amazon (but buy it from your local bookstore).