ARTICLE | Women and Children First! Childhood, Feminisms, and the Co-Emancipatory Model | Turbulent Times, Transformational Possibilities? Gender and Politics Today and Tomorrow | By Toby Rollo

“Women and Children First! Childhood, Feminisms, and the Co-emancipatory Model”

by Toby Rollo

“In this chapter, I examine how the main traditions of feminist thought have interpreted the relationship between children and patriarchy, with a focus on the potential for the liberation of children alongside women. These ques­tions are critical to the emancipatory aims of critical feminist and gender theory because strong elements of patriarchy can be inadvertently preserved when children are missing from analyses. It is as children, for instance, that we are socialized into gender roles and first acquire patterns of heteropatriarchal thinking and behaviour (Maccoby 1988). To overlook childhood, then, is to overlook one of the most significant moments in the reproduction of patri­archy. Likewise, the degrading conceptualization of women as mere child­bearing and child-rearing subjects depends on a prior conceptualization of children as degraded beings who debase those associated with them. These deep links between the conceptualization of both women and children under patriarchy, if ignored, inhibit our ability to fully reconceptualize women and gender categories in productive and liberating ways” (199-200).

Rollo, Toby. “Women and Children First! Childhood, Feminisms, and the Co-Emancipatory Model.” In Turbulent Times, Transformational Possibilities: Gender and Politics Today and Tomorrow, edited by Fiona MacDonald and Alexandra Dobrowolsky. University of Toronto Press, 2020. 199–217.