[Image from Evolution of Dad.]
Last year, Australian feminist mommy blogger Blue Milk posted "10 questions on feminist motherhood," which zipped around the blogosphere and became a kind of meme that a range of mom bloggers have tackled.
I wondered: Could profeminist fathers tackle these questions as well? If yes, would it be productive, for them and for everyone else? And I thought: Why not give it a try and see what happens?
Note that I say "profeminist," not "feminist." I think the feminist hat is hard for guys to wear, both because it doesn't usually seem to fit quite right and because other people--male and female, antifeminist and feminist--will tease them for wearing it. I speak from experience.
Despite such obstacles, many men support feminism and try to live in a way that's consistent with feminist values--something that becomes astonishingly difficult once they become fathers.
So here are Blue Milk's questions, adapted for profeminist fathers, which I post in hopes of stimulating some thinking and some conversation:
1. How would you describe your feminism in one sentence? When did you become profeminist? Was it before or after you became a father?
2. What has surprised you most about fatherhood?
3. How have your profeminist values changed over time? What is the impact of fatherhood on your profeminism?
4. What makes your fathering profeminist? How does your approach differ from an anti-feminist father’s? How does feminism impact upon your parenting?
5. When have you felt compromised as a profeminist father? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a profeminist father?
6. When has identifying as a profeminist father been difficult? Why?
7. Parenthood involves sacrifice, and mothers must typically make more sacrifices than fathers. How do you reconcile that with being profeminist?
8. If you have a partner, how does your partner feel about your profeminist fatherhood? What is the impact of your commitment to feminism on your partner and your relationship?
9. If you and your partner practice attachment parenting--such as bed sharing or positive discipline--what challenges, if any, does this pose for your commitment to feminism, and how have you tried to resolve them?
10. Do you feel feminism has failed fathers and, if so, how? Personally, what do you think feminism has given fathers?
Later this week, I'll take a shot at answering these questions myself. If you do the same, be sure to leave a comment and let me know--at some point, I may try to compile the answers.
[Originally posted to my Mothering magazine blog.]