Mamma's Boy: A Look At Why Feminist Mothers Are Raising Misogynistic Sons

“Hey, you’re a woman! Why aren’t you in the kitchen?” said jokingly, because that’s so funny, right? 

“Feminazi!” The only argument he could come up with, to counter why it might not be okay to crack a rape joke. 

“I dare you to give me a lap dance!” A serious suggestion during an ‘innocent’ game of truth or dare between an eight-year-old girl, and a fifteen-year-old boy.

Three separate quotes, from three separate male cousins - these are the sons of two women who consider themselves feminists and have dedicated much of their lives to helping, educating, and fighting for female equality. Yet, they have raised sons who feel it is appropriate to say these things to me. This is a scenario that is not unique to my family.

     Throughout history, sons have and continue to represent security for their mothers. You can observe this as women grow older and mothers start to look at their sons for guidance and support. Sons slowly and consistently replace the other men in women’s lives. From a socio-economic perspective, this is no longer as much of an issue as it used to be, women can care for themselves. So why are we still seeing women raising boys as though they are god’s gift bestowed unto them? 

     While there is nothing wrong with a doting mother one needs to question why mothers develop such a blindness in viewing their son’s flaws and lose any expectations of equality. The outcome of this treatment is that we end up with what is arguably a boy's most significant female role model acting as a waitress, a supporter, and helper. Someone who exists with the sole purpose of serving them, and making them feel good about themselves. Now, this is not to say that mothers do not dote on daughters as well, however as young girls, daughters are expected to help with more household chores and are rarely waited on to the same extent that boys are, by their mothers.

     My father has an interesting opinion on this. He believes, that perhaps reasons that men comply and enforce said gender stereotypes is because they have been allowed to, and do believe they are superior to women, but because of this they think they have a duty in protection, not dominance. This behavior is more often instilled by a father than by a mother; strict fathers can create a hyper-masculine environment, in which boys will be boys, and teach their sons a more traditional and chivalrous way of behaving. In other words…. ‘Although, you are so obviously better than your female peers, it’s your responsibility to care for them, to protect them.’

     Feminist mothers, however, will claim to be above these old-fashioned ideas, after all, these characteristics are taught, not instinctive. So, there is rarely any of this explicit teaching of the more chivalrous behavior. This is a good thing, but only if it comes hand in hand with an upbringing of equality, where ‘gender roles’ don’t model a world where men are superior.

     Due to this, we end up with boys who have neither chivalry nor equality. It’s a virtual blind spot. 

     By the same parents who raised these boys, I receive praise for my feminism, I receive encouragement. “Keep up with this feminism, it makes you strong.” This is yet another example, in my opinion, of ‘boys will be boys’. It is up to the women to enforce feminism, to stand up against violence, to push back against oppression rather than the man’s responsibility to not be abusive, to control his ‘urges’. We still end up teaching woman how to dress, rather than teaching men not to rape.

     It’s not enough to teach boys that they are equal to women and therefore are not expected to go to lengths to do things such as open a door for his sister, or rise when a lady arrives at the table; we also have to teach them, that it’s not their girlfriend’s duty to make him a sandwich or take care of his laundry. 

     One could conclude, that even in our modern society, we are still only managing to bring up men who are either protective of women, but from a place of feeling greatly superior, or men that feel threatened by strong women, and go on the attack.

     Why? Because, even the most feminist mothers, are teaching boys that they are the best thing since sliced bread, whilst fathers teach boys that it is their role as protector of the weaker sex.

     How do we work to raise a generation of men that truly believe in equality? The way to do this, I believe, is to separate ideas of sex from upbringing. Bring girls and boys up together, as equals. 

     The world is changing people. Gender is no longer a set of rules: humanity, equality, and respect, however, are. 

by: Sarah Harris 

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