It Is My Goal To Raise Gentle Boys

Raising a Feminist Son

It Is My Goal To Raise Gentle Boys - Raising The Next Generation

“It is my goal to raise gentle boys” Sarah Sophie Flicker 

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor, a ballerina, an astronaut, a nun, but most of all a feminist. My idol was Jessie Spano; I would tell my uncle I wanted to be a professional baseball player just to piss him off. 

As I got older, I learned about Gloria Steinem, read Virginia Woolf, listened to Sleater-Kinney and didn’t worry about boys’ opinions.

I kept my hair short and my opinions loud.

I had this, fuck all attitude to the world. I really took the time to learn about myself – my likes and dislikes and wasn’t afraid to keep an open mind to the idea my opinions and ideals would change with age and new experiences. 

Then I fell in love… and it was perfect, it was amazing, it was a million feelings wrapped up in one person and I got all gooey and dependent on someone else for my happiness. I hung by the telephone, texts and phone calls made or broke my day and when we finally had our last break up fight I was left like this little huddled puddle of a human being. 

Crying on the carpet, my girlfriends drowned me in wine and relatable break up stories. I didn’t even notice it, but something inside of me broke. I began to take on this very warped view of feminism and I began to think women should be a man’s backbone. It made no sense at all. The boy who broke my heart was very supportive of my independence and hated when I did little feminine things, like put on makeup or tried to dress up. I think in a way it was my terribly pathetic way of rebelling against the man who broke my heart. 

I sort of started to roll my eyes at women’s rights activists, like, “come on we’ve made it this far right? Let sleeping dogs lie.” I went on dates with a man who told me to keep my hair long because girls with short hair looked like “dykes.”  I went on dates with another man who ordered my steak for me, always medium, always a filet. I muffled the girl inside who before would have insisted on the bloody rare rib eye. I let men get away with way too much aggressive flirting at the bar I worked at, when in the past I would have told them to fuck off. 

Then I found out I was pregnant. I felt weak and sort of alone at the beginning, knowing I was doing it on my own. My son’s father simply wasn’t ready to be a father, and that is fine. Yet here I was taking on this empowering strong stance of, “I am doing this alone but I am going to do it right” yet I still felt like a little scared girl in a man’s world.

I’m sad to say it took me until I found out I was having a boy to begin to snap out of it and realize I was responsible for raising a man. Would he be the kind of man who ordered a woman’s steak or let her choose her own? Would he be a man who supported women in every way possible and realized equal rights are a very relevant topic or someone who thought a woman had a place in the kitchen. Would he be a man who thought that because we vote we have enough? Or did I want to raise a man who told women their bodies, their decisions, their opinions and their ideas were just as important as everyone else’s? Most importantly, did I want to raise a man who thought with his heart instead of his testosterone levels? To me strength has always been first and foremost a matter of the heart and I wanted this little boy, who would one day become a man, to have the kind of compassion that would allow him the understanding for everyone from all walks of life. 


I realized I wanted to raise a feminist. 

It Is My Goal To Raise Gentle Boys - Raising The Next Generation of Feminist Sons


So when my 8-year-old niece tells my son he can play with all of her dolls when he is older, I don’t laugh and shake my head saying, “he doesn’t want those” like other people do. I smile and thank her for the offer, then ask him if he would like that. I would never want to raise a boy who says, “playing like a girl” or doing anything like a girl, for that matter. If he wants to play with dolls, ok. If he wants to take dance class instead of little league, sure. I want it to be his choice.

The word bitch will not be used in our home; not to describe a woman, not to describe a dog. I find it is too easy a slip to make, and who ever thought it would be a good idea to refer to women as a crazed animal in heat? I will be careful with a lot of his vocabulary so that he tries his best to not offend people through his words. 

I feel like instilling all of these ideals in him will not only make him a feminist but a better person altogether. My opinion on feminism is not only men accepting women as equals but everyone accepting everyone as equal. I truly believe that is what makes a feminist and, in the long run, a better, more understanding, kinder human being.

Finally, I want him to see that women can be strong and watch what I do as an example.

When I realized I would be a single mother, I knew it would be the greatest job and gift handed to me in life. That being said, I knew I would have to work for it at one hundred percent. I want my son to know the importance of hard work. I will show him the value of respecting your job and taking your education seriously. I will try my hardest to never let him see me struggle and if he does, I will explain to him what is happening in an adult manner. I will not cower in fear, or talk about how much easier it is for women with husbands. I will show him women can do everything a man can do even if it is differently, because where is the fun in thinking it can’t be? 

About Nina 4 Articles
Nina is a single mama who is learning the balance of raising a little boy while working full-time. You can read more about her adventures in single parenting at


  1. This is a really interesting post. It really annoys me when some parents say to their kids ‘you cant play with that because it’s a boy/girls toy.’ Who decides what is for boys and girls. Thanks for sharing x

  2. great blog think its good for boys and girls to get a taste of everything, and not be treated differently and be able to make there own mind up what they like or not.

  3. I’m raising a son right now — with a strong-headed sister and a dad who loves their strong-headed mum — and I love this. Just one thing in general: it’s okay to let children see you struggle. It’s okay to let them see what is going on with you, because they will _feel_ it, anyway, and if they don’t see it, there’s no chance to talk about it and let them know that it has nothing to do with your love for them. And for a feminist I think it may be even more important because he will see a woman whom he loves and who is strong and still has weakness that does not diminish their strength and worth as a human being. :)

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