Feminists should confront all forms of oppression, exploitation and hierarchy. Parents, carers and children are often marginalised and discriminated against, even in radical political organising. Insist that childcare is provided at every event. Understand that ‘mothering’, ‘parenting’ and ‘childrearing’ have different connotations: the next generation needs people of all genders, races, classes, sexualities, ages and abilities to help it develop healthy attitudes to life. Involve children and treat them as equals worthy of respect.
2 Bin the box
Television only makes the gender divide worse. As a compromise, try using the set just to watch videos or DVDs. Until your kids are old enough to sneak in Ben 10 box sets under their jumpers, you can more or less censor what gets played, without any annoying adverts. However, if the electronic babysitter is your lifeline to parental sanity, then keep it on. TV provides a parent with a wealth of material that highlights the inequalities in society – and therefore gives lots of opportunities to talk constructively about the realities of patriarchy with your child.
3 Be honest
You may try to kid yourself that the media and peer pressure are the biggest influences on your child, but actually it’s you! The main parent or carer is a child’s most influential role-model. Are you sexist, racist, homophobic? What, not even a little bit? Children can subconsciously absorb even the most subtle of parental behaviours. It’s okay to make mistakes – no one is perfect. But it’s important to deconstruct our own words, actions and attitudes to ensure that we don’t inadvertently pass our own prejudices onto our children. Be honest with yourself and your kids. Talk openly about sex, relationships and sexuality. Encourage children to freely express all of their emotions – no matter how painful they are.
4 Express yourself
Creatively expressing the often intense feelings that come with parenthood can be a great emotional release – whether through art, writing, music or dance. Bringing up children can seem like a lonely business at times, but there are lots of parenting blogs, networks, groups and resources out there. If it’s more anger management therapy you need, then try this: find a magazine photo of the latest yummy-mummy female celebrity, stick it onto on a dartboard and get throwing those arrows! You will begin to see the cracks appear in the smooth airbrushed image of maternal perfection … and feel a devilish sense of satisfaction.
5 Research the issues
Research the many conflicting feminist and parenting schools of thought. Natural parenting options may work for some, but others argue that it’s pushing more burdens upon the mother. For example, using washable nappies isn’t only the eco-option, it also increases parental autonomy and challenges the capitalist-consumption machine. But what about the extra housework that washable nappies can bring? Will it really be shared equally among family members? Work out what’s best for you and your family – a critical factor of feminist parenting is to stop pretending we are perfect parents.
6 Pick your battles
Constantly nagging your kids to over-analyse sexist books or toys will only push them further into the open arms of Mattel and co. Sometimes it’s best to accept minor defeat, in exchange for fostering a closer, mutually respectful parent-child relationship. Finding other ways to help build a child’s self-esteem or emotional intelligence may be more important in the long-run than bickering over Barbie.
7 Develop emergency tactics
As a last resort, when all else has failed and you find yourself in the depths of a feminist parenting emergency, nonviolent direct action can be deployed. Don’t be afraid to discretely dispose of the Action Man machine gun given by Uncle Bobby last Christmas, or the Bratz bikini set for your four-year-old from your so-called best mate. However, donating an offending item to a charity shop is only dumping the burden onto others!
Set up a childcare or home education collective, together with parents or friends who have similar ideals. Providing your own curriculum can be empowering for both adult and child, and give you much needed support. Or start a feminist children’s book club and swap revolutionary bedtime stories.
9 Raise some hell
Getting involved in activism is the best thing a feminist parent can do. If we want our children to live in a world free from oppression, then we need to actively work towards creating a world that is freer and fairer. Parents and carers will continue to be marginalised until we get out there, with our kids, to demand and organise for change. Set a good example. Show your children that they are worth fighting for, and instil in them the courage and confidence to stand up for themselves and their future.
Visit feministchildrearing.blogspot.com for links to related resources
Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
As man-made global warming gets closer to the tipping point, Andrew Simms finds reasons to be positive about averting catastrophic climate change
In this extract from his new book The Candidate, Alex Nunns tells the inside story of how Jeremy Corbyn scraped onto the Labour leadership ballot in 2015
Graham Jones proposes a framework for a diverse movement to flourish
Musician Eliane Correa reflects on the fading revolution
Trump's victory is another sign of the failure of the centre-left's narrative on climate change. A new message is needed, and new politicians to deliver it, writes Alex Randall
Siobhán McGuirk says the question we are too afraid to ask is simple - what kind of society leads to Donald Trump as President?
The battle lines are clear. Democracy is in peril and the left must take itself seriously electorally and politically. Ruth Potts speaks to Gary Younge, who was based in Muncie, Indiana, for the US election, about the implications of Donald Trump’s victory
We need a society built on openness, community and equality to truly defeat everything that trump stands for, writes Nick Dearden.
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Short story: Syrenka
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Utopia: Industrial Workers Taking the Wheel
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry – and its lessons for today
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
Utopia: Room for all
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History
Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.
A book review every day until Christmas at Red Pepper
Red Pepper will be publishing a new book review each day until Christmas
Book Review: Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics
'In spite of the odds Corbyn is still standing' - Alex Doherty reviews Seymour's analysis of the rise of Corbyn
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
'A small manifesto for black liberation through socialist revolution' - Graham Campbell reviews Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation'
The Fashion Revolution: Turn to the left
Bryony Moore profiles Stitched Up, a non-profit group reimagining the future of fashion
The abolition of Art History A-Level will exacerbate social inequality
This is a massive blow to the rights of ordinary kids to have the same opportunities as their more privileged peers. Danielle Child reports.
Mass civil disobedience in Sudan
A three-day general strike has brought Sudan to a stand still as people mobilise against the government and inequality. Jenny Nelson writes.
Mustang film review: Three fingers to Erdogan
Laura Nicholson reviews Mustang, Deniz Gamze Erguven’s unashamedly feminist film critique of Turkey’s creeping conservatism
What if the workers were in control?
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry