If You Want Social Change, Observe Preschoolers

My friend Megan took Saskia with her kids to the park on Wednesday. She snapped a photo and shared the day’s you know your kids live in Northampton moment: when to play grocery store, the cashier asks for your member number.

Take pride in this River Valley Market.

A week awash in equal signs—Hampshire College missed an opportunity, since its logo kind of is an equal sign—much was said and written and demonstrated about how far we’ve come—and how far we still have to go in terms of marriage equality. Still, given where we’ve been, it’s pretty stunning.

Again, to live here you’d never know marriage equality was an issue. Amongst the variations upon “Family,” i.e. pretend play about family Saskia plays is Saskia and Addy are the moms and Sammy is the baby. That just mirrors Sam’s life; he’s got two moms.

At the same time, this week I watched more of the PBS documentary about feminism and was reminded of the whiplash intensity to the backlash to the ERA and to abortion rights in the late 1970’s and the 1980’s. I watched on Wednesday night and felt something stronger than humbled about how hard it is to hold on in the push for rooted equality. Then, I remembered how Millie, who is three, observed earlier that day, “Sarah, you have short hair. Girls can have short hair, did you know that?”

It’s not so simple as trust the preschoolers, although sometimes that’s not a bad idea. If you did, you’d eat way more ice cream.

PS: If you want to help assure access to abortion–something especially compelling this week as North Dakota restricts it so, please consider supporting my efforts to bowl on behalf of abortion access with the National Network for Abortion Funds’ bowlathon.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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