In many families, kids are raised with gender roles playing a big part in the daily activities within the home. Girls help their mothers with chores within the house like cooking and cleaning while the boys and fathers do the work that requires more physical energy such as mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and shoveling the driveway.
On Tuesday 23 October, a panel of feminist fathers, 3 of whom are Colgate professors: Chris Henke, John Palmer and Andy Rotter together with Dominik Pangallo who works with the partnership for community development within the village of Hamilton led a brown bag discussing how they practice feminism and embed it into their parenting skills and techniques.
One of the feminist fathers, Prof. Chris Henke, mentioned that being a feminist father starts with being a feminist oneself and embracing feminism within one’s personal life. As they shared different stories as to the different ways each of them raise their kids, they did mention the difficulties they face at times especially when trying not to affirm to societal gender norms for example not wanting their kids to “throw like girls”. Despite this, they discussed the different ways they try not to affirm to the norms that dictate parental roles and behavior of a father within a family. Sometimes, they consciously see gender playing its roles within the family, as Prof. Palmer said, but at least he wants to see his kids grow up aware of the existence of feminism and be able to incorporate it in their lives. They encourage their kids to do things that they enjoy and also expose them to a variety of toys, colors, clothing to enable them make the choice as to what they feel most comfortable with.It’s great to have feminist fathers so kudos to all the men out there practicing some extent of feminism- be it first, second or third wave feminism!:)
For more information on feminist fatherhood, check out this website: http://feministfatherhood.com/10-tips-for-feminist-fathers/
-Gloria Kebirungi ‘15