[Editor’s note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
At first glance, you probably wouldn’t categorize my husband as a feminist.
With his bushy beard, loud, no filter, opinionated values and his bald head—he doesn’t exactly look the part.
But behind that exterior lies deep down now a soft, cuddly sweet man who I now think of as an open-minded feminist, all thanks to having our wild, knows-what-she-wants, driven daughter Ella.
Ella is the girl who transformed my husband into a feminist.
When I first met my husband in high school, he was a long way from a feminist. As time went on and he learned more about me and the challenges and discrimination that girls felt, he became aware of the word ‘feminism’—but still didn’t quite get it.
I could talk all about women’s rights that I wanted, but he didn’t truly feel it deep in his bones until he became a father to Ella. It was like a light switch that went off—now that his heart was walking around outside of his body—in the form of a girl. Discrimination against girls and women suddenly felt like a personal affront. He felt pride in celebrating what it means to be female.
In short, he became a feminist.
There is and always will be an undeniable connection a father and his daughter. I never knew this feeling until after we had our daughter two years ago and I watched them together. It’s like they get lost in a world of their own. Where nothing else around them exists. It’s the most precious thing to witness as a mother and even more so when you watch your manly, growly man stick up for women and their rights.
So now, we talk about gender equality every day in our family. There are no “boy jobs” and “girl jobs”—there are jobs and it’s our duty as a family to complete them together.
My husband cooks, cleans and plays with babies. He will work in the garage and build me things—and teach our daughter how to do so as well! And our son? Well he picks up that broom and puts away that laundry, too!
Equality isn’t just something we value for our girls. It’s something both our daughters and sons deserve.
My husband knows that his sons are also freed when they live in a world where they are free to choose work that aligns with their interests, not just their gender.
A world where girls are strong, where boys can cry, and where husbands are the ultimate feminists.
My view? I think it’s truly the most confident form of manliness to support for women’s rights and not be ashamed to take on tasks some deride as “womanly work,” like cooking and cleaning.
Making the world a more equitable place for men and for women starts in small ways.
It starts with us.