By Chemay Morales-James
Growing up, I never felt completely connected with identifying as a feminist. It wasn’t because I was oblivious to the continued misogyny and social inequities me and my girls continued to experience on a daily, but when women’s rights were brought up in high school and college, they almost never included the voices of women of color nor was there any acknowledgement of the racist, patriarchal division that was ironically upheld by White women during the suffrage and other movements. In fact, the recent Women’s March on Washington received much criticism from Black & Brown activists in how it initially left out women of color and was protected by law enforcement during the mass protests, which is a stark contrast to the militarized police that often make themselves present during protests lead by Black and Brown communities.
So, here’s the good news! As woke parents and educators, we have the power and consciousness to do something different. As you continue to develop your anti-oppressive library, when considering the stories of women, ask yourself these six questions:
- Whose female story is heard most in my kids’ library?
- What other perspectives are missing?
- How often are negative stereotypes of women from various backgrounds reinforced?
- Are there balanced opportunities for my children to see women taking on gendered and non-gendered roles?
- How often do females take on the central lead of a story?
- How many of those lead females represent women from different racial and cultural backgrounds including sexual orientation?
Below are links to some of my favorite book sites that offer good reads that center female identity that are most certainly not exclusively White. The first two websites share their own generated children book lists and the last one, Rethinking Schools, is a link to their new book, Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality which covers the following main points:
- How do you respond when a child asks, “Can a girl turn into a boy?”
- What if your daughter brings home school books with sexist, racist stories?
- What does “queering the curriculum” look like?
- What’s wrong with “anti-bullying” policies? What are alternatives?
Chemay is a social liberation & equity coach who founded My Reflection Matters, LLC in 2016. She is an unschooling mom of two brilliant, TriniRican boys. She loves traveling, going on adventures and exploring new things with her sons, reading, decorating, yoga, photography, and collecting funky art. (Read more on MRM’s About Page.)