From lessons in masculinity to tips on dating smart girls, writer Edward Docx reveals 5 ways his strong mum set him up for life, and why everyone should have one
If you have a feminist mother…
1 You grow up gender blind
My mother’s mantra was: see the human being first. My brothers and I learned to respond to who someone was – how smart, generous, passionate or talented they were – rather than define them by their gender or appearance. Mum was a biochemist who went on to run her own business while raising seven children. She defied stereotypes.
2 You inherit a feminist lens
My strong, outspoken mother gifted me with an inner feminist commentary that I can’t switch off. It sounds something like this: ‘Is this girl band actually performing for the male gaze?’ ‘Is this TV ad masquerading as feminist to repackage another form of oppression?’ ‘What is behind the anger directed at Hillary Clinton’s success?’ ‘Why should a female MP be judged on her ability to be a mother?’ I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve always been aware of the questions.
3 You realise that intelligence is sexy
Mum taught me that a woman with an attractive mind is never going to be anything other than captivating and beautiful. Result? I’ve always loved rather than been threatened by intelligent women. It’s surprising how many men prefer women who don’t challenge them. Plus, clever women make for more interesting parties!
4 You learn to be a real man
There’s a great deal of confusion about modern masculinity, but having a feminist mother teaches you how to be a man. A boy who learns to recognise and respect the basic principles of feminism has a better chance of becoming an empathetic man; a supportive partner; a loving dad. He’ll have the right kind of male confidence.
Edward Docx is a prize-winning novelist, journalist and screenwriter. His fourth book, Let Go My Hand (£16.99, Picador), is published in April