Having a woman elected as the next Vice President of the United States matters. Many of us sat with our eyes glued to the screen as Kamala Harris not only addressed fellow Americans, but our children, as well. That was a powerful moment and young people definitely noticed.
This win is a huge deal for all of our kids. There are parents who are celebrating with their daughters, but please remember to celebrate with your sons just as hard. This is a win for our boys, too.
One of the things that we often forget when discussing the importance of representation is that it matters for those who are represented and for those who witness the representation.
We need one another when opening doors and walking through them.
We are not only raising all of our children to be leaders who have equal opportunities, but we are also raising them to be allies who speak up for one another.
This is a powerful moment that every child needs to witness and feel included in and here’s why:
Representation disrupts what is “normal.”
It has been beautiful to see so many photos of young girls watching someone who looks like them become Vice President for the first time. But, it is just as powerful for boys to see the images that they are used to seeing on a regular basis, disrupted. Include boys in conversations and celebrations of equality and powerful representation of women.
We need to raise boys who will grow up to be powerful allies.
Have you heard of Charles Perrault? He was a French author who wrote the fairy tale, Cinderella. In fact, many of the fairy tales that girls have grown up modeling themselves after were written by men based on their views of women and girls. Fairy tales were never based on girls’ visions for themselves. They were men’s fantasies that created unhealthy standards for girls. As we teach girls to have confidence and ambition, boys also need to see and value them as confident and ambitious.
Shifting the “male gaze” can change the world.
“The Male Gaze” is a theory that means that what we see on television and film is based on the way heterosexual men see the world. The roles women play in movies are usually based on the kind of roles heterosexual males want to see. The more we shift the way boys and men see women, the more equal opportunities girls will have in the future.
So what now? It’s never too late to celebrate. But, also remember that having intentional conversations could help make the experience even more powerful. Below are a few questions to get you started.
Questions to ask boys about Kamala Harris’ win:
What do you think about having a woman as the Vice President of the United States? Why?
What do you think Kamala Harris is like? Why?
Are there any girls you know who you think could be a good Vice President or President one day? Why?
What is one thing you hope VP elect Kamala Harris does to make the world better? (Give examples like ending homelessness or making schools better.)
Celebrate this moment with your sons! Talk to them about why this victory is worthy of excitement. Give them a front-row seat at this table, so that they too, realize that this type of win is a win for us all!