There’s Feminist Sedition Going on in my Kitchen!

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Sheila Broderick, LCSW
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There’s feminist sedition going on right there in my kitchen.  I walk in to the kitchen to begin my nightly sordid affair with my new love interest, chocolate covered mint oreos (damn you, Nabisco!) and I hear one beautiful 18 year old say to the other gorgeous 18 year old “nobody’s got the right to tell you what goes into or comes out of your body.  I mean that’s just a fact.”  “Excuse me, but who ate the last of the Karmel Sutra Ben and Jerry’s,” I ask, giggling at the subtle irony, acting a bit disinterested in the conversation lest I cause these young women to notice there’s a parent in the room and they stop talking.

“ What are we talking about?,” I ask, again, pretending it’s an afterthought, not something I am particularly interested in.   Then I hear the story about my daughter and her female friend who, apparently, is spending the night tonight, going to Home Depot to purchase a sheet of metal for a project.  “Mom,” Flannery says, “So I’m standing in the hardware section of Home Depot and this dude says ‘well, look at the two young ladies shopping in the hardware section.’  Mom, I said “well, yea, where else would we be shopping? And he just laughed.”  I said “that’s crazy talk…..who else would be shopping for hardware items but two young women?”  Duh!  Sidenote – then we laughed when Flannery explained that she is making a device to organize her makeup when she goes to college.  It’s a lot of product in a very small space.  A girl’s gotta build something, doncha know….where’s my tool box?

That’s feminist sedition.  Yes, I can do yard work in the morning and then pluck my eyebrows – all before work.  And, yes, somehow shopping for hardware naturally leads to a kitchen discussion that is logically connected to the fact that no one has the right to tell me what goes into and comes out of my body, or at least that’s how an 18 year old sees it, fresh eyes, pure heart.

And it’s the furrowed brow, “well, duh” reaction from her community that gets cemented in her brain so that when she goes to college and some dude acts like she’s obligated to explain to him why she wants his hands/body/gaze off of her, she will react with utter surprise.  “The very idea.  What a weirdo.  This guy acts like he is entitled to access to my body.  Have you ever heard of such nonsense?”  It will be anathema to her.  Bizarre.  Completely clear in her own mind.  Where would you expect a young woman to be if not in the hardware store?

I’m telling you, parents, if you open your ears and regularly go into your kitchen for chocolate covered mint oreos, you will hear your soon to be leaving for college youngins talking sex….talking sedition…..talking tools…..talking bends in the gender binary.  Teachable moments occur in this way.  When I acted all “duh, of course no one can tell you what to do with your body,” I’m doing sex ed.  And it happens every day.  And the beauty is I didn’t have to use the word penis or vagina!

Call it free-range female sexuality, call it free-range polite mama eavesdropping, call it free ranging for oreos at 11 pm.  I call it parenting.  I call it changing the world.  I call it revolution.  To all parents sending children to college in the fall.  You got 6 weeks.  Get.on.it!

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