Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, speaker and activist, and author of Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All.
If you've got problematic gender roles on the mind as you’re trying to figure out what to give the little ones in your life for the holidays, allow me to call on my experience dismantling the patriarchy to lend a hand.
First, a successful-gifting story from my own life: My partner and I gave our twin nephews a book called Rad American Women A-Z when they were just two years old, and by two and a half they had memorized it and could name women like Dolores Huerta and Kate Bornstein on sight. That’s not just a cool party trick, it’s going to serve as part of the foundation of their ideas about themselves as men.
When boys grow up without identifying with women, when they are allowed to grow into men without understanding that women are complex, three-dimensional people whose stories are just as interesting and valuable as their own, boys grow into a masculinity that inherently conceives of itself as better — and more human — than anyone who expresses femininity. That won't do. And, anyway, when given the chance, anyone can love “girl stuff.”
There are plenty of gifts out there that can help raise kids — boys especially — who think of girls and women as equals.
From books to toys, beauty products, movies, and a bonus for the parents, keep reading to find 20 gifts that the kids you know will actually love. With any luck, they'll use them to build a future with far less despicable masculinity than what we're dealing with right now.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about kids right now or not, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that wa