Just because fewer of us are choosing to have children doesn’t mean we can’t raise feminists of our own! Here’s how to rear independent ferns that will reject the patriarchy and also don’t need direct sunlight.
1) Teach them to take up space
Taking up space is powerful in a world that tries to make us feel small. Remember, you have to give your babies space to grow! This can be done by repotting your plants into larger containers or giving them those cool little vine ropes to climb! This will show your plants that the possibilities are endless for their achievements and that they can and should aim to shatter glass ceilings (just maybe not in your own home).
2) Monitor their media consumption
While it’s challenging to filter youth’s media in this technological age, try to steer your plants away from negative depictions of themselves and toward positive ones. Avoid media that depicts unrealistic expectations of plants (For example, “The Giving Tree” DOES NOT give a good example of plants setting healthy boundaries). Instead, show them positive representations of plants enjoying themselves (like the Painting with Bob Ross video, “Happy Little Trees’’).
3) Set a good example
Remember not to speak poorly about your own body image in front of your plants. You may be tempted to say things like, “Ugh, my legs are so moldy.” But remember that you’re trying to teach your plants there is no shame in mold, and it’s something that growing plants of all shapes and sizes deal with. Not to mention, mold is a plant itself!
4) Squash stereotypes
Young ones will internalize messages they learn about others. Teach your progeny how to discern between stereotypes and what is rooted in truth. For instance, Venus flytraps are NOT vicious plants, although they will eat bugs! Way to protect yourself, Venus! You go girl! On the other hand, your plants might catch wind of destructive ideas like “roses are for romantic partners” or “lilies are only for funerals.” Teach your plants that they decide their own destinies!
5) Shower them with praise about their accomplishments, not their looks
“You’re getting so tall!” doesn’t just have to be about height! Remember to focus on their internal growth. Try giving your plant babies praise like, “You’re getting so tall… and thoughtful!” (Note: Shower them with praise, but also with water.)
The stress of raising the next generation in this modern day and age is a lot to take on! But with a little bit of focus, dedication, feminist theory, and fertilizer — you’ll have raised a strong garden of independent feminists in no time!