Now Or Never

'Do you know what a feminist is?': Meet dads who are talking to their sons about harassment

Three dads have honest discussions with their sons about patriarchy, sexism, and how women are viewed.

dads-discussions-with-their-sons-about what-men-can-do-better

Graydon James plays Lego with his son, Simon. (Laura Spink)

The first male role models that many boys have is their father. 

And after seeing the #MeToo hashtag, many dads took to Facebook to share how they planned to raise their kids — especially sons — to be part of the solution to harassment and violence against women. 

Now or Never reached out to a few of these men and asked them to record their conversations. You can hear those conversations by clicking 'listen' above. 

John Chew and his son Jamie. (John Chew)

John Chew posted that he wanted to "raise two sons to know better," and he recorded a conversation with his 13-year-old son, Jamie. He began by asking whether Jamie had ever heard other young men make comments about women. 

John: Oh, yeah, definitely bragged about it. I don't want to get into details, but he bragged about stuff that he did with girls.

Jamie: So what would you do when your friend was a little bit inappropriate, or in his case very inappropriate, with the things he was saying about girls?

John: I think he wanted attention, or he wanted some sort of reaction from me. So I would try to not have that big of a reaction. But I'd say something like: "That's not cool, don't talk about that, I don't need to know that," and that would actually work fairly well, and he would stop talking about it.

Graydon James with his son, Simon Morey. (Laura Spink)

Graydon James said he wanted to "raise my son to be a proud feminist, and actively deconstruct the cultural garbage that comes at him constantly."

"Critique my beliefs and behaviours," he continued, "in order to actively support the female-identifying people in my life." 

James' son Simon Morey is only 6, but that doesn't mean he can't see inequality. 

Graydon:  Do you know what a feminist is?

Simon: No.

Graydon: At the base of it, feminism is about making sure that everyone is equal regardless of their gender or any other considerations, really.

Simon: Yeah, get out of here gender people!

Graydon: What do you mean "get out of here gender people"? Do you mean get out of here people who have gender? 

Simon: No, get out of here people who don't think it should be equal.

Graydon: Why do you think that's bad?

Simon: Because it's not treating people fairly. It's not being fair.

Graydon: Do you think that things are fair, in general, on the earth?

Simon: No, they're not fair yet. Some day they might get there.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity. To hear the full conversations, click the 'listen' button above.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?