After popping my daughter out, I immediately got to work transforming her into my mini-me. There were the gorgeous picture books of classic literature. The baby-sized yoga mat. The “Write Like a Mother” onesie.
But she soon revealed herself to be her own person, with her own outsized personality. A girly-girl. An artist. A lover of the outdoors. (If I were to describe myself to you via a single product, it would be with this one.)
With her recent embrace of “girl power,” however (I literally just bought her a pajama top that said “girl power” on it. She has since created an entire superhero universe around this phrase. There is a theme song), I see my in.
I’ve already given my 6-year-old sex-positive sex ed lessons, talked to her about anti-racism, and attempted to instill within her an overarching sense of kindness and generosity. But can I sell her on full-blown feminism?
At the risk of engaging in marketplace feminism, if you’re shopping for your own burgeoning young feminist this holiday season, I have some suggestions. I have no doubt that little me would have loved this stuff.
I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m a fan of the Feminist Book Club. In fact, after joining up, I was so smitten, I wrote about the book club for Book Riot. And now, well, this is going to sound wild but: I write for the Feminist Book Club. So, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning the FBC’s holiday gift bundles, like this picture book bundle that includes your choice of a gorgeous picture book, five coloring postcards, and handmade crayons. Start ’em young!
Sure, my daughter eschews pants and, for a really long time, wore the same damn tutu every damn day. But I think she’s finally starting to understand that however you self-identify, you can wear whatever in heck you want.
Sometimes, however, she can use a reminder. And I think this “Clothing Has No Gender” tee says it all.
This short-sleeved, relaxed-fit T-shirt is available in both black and white and comes in sizes 2T to 5T.
If your little one is artistically-minded, too, they’ll love this coloring book. Each sheet contains a different affirmation — “I am brave,” “I am strong,” “I am tenacious,” etc. — surrounded by black and white illustrations that help to reinforce the words on the page.
This book was designed to build confidence in girls ages 3–8.
4. I Am a Rebel Girl: A Journal to Start Revolutions by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, $18.40
Whether or not your daughter has made their way through the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series, this journal from the same folks is sure to inspire them. This colorfully illustrated fill-in-the-blank book will give them the space to dream big, with prompts for things worth fighting for, favorite body parts, what they would write to their elected officials, and more. It also comes with a collection of feminist stickers, which every good feminist needs… right? Anyone? (Just me?)
This Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream really pops in this gorgeous print. With its shimmery gold letters surrounded by watercolor flowers in various shades of pink, this poster is perfect for daughters who love florals and frills, but who are also in touch with their inner warrior.
6. Go with the Flow by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams, $13.79
This graphic novel is about a group of female friends who go up against a high school administration that’s squeamish about the fact that half of their student population menstruates. Despite how enthusiastically one of these ladies wants to raise hell, however, the rest of her friends aren’t convinced that calling attention to their flow is the way to go. Will their friendship survive? This book was charming as hell and such a fun way to teach body positivity, plus the story models what it could look like to be a fierce young activist.
My daughter already has a uterus plushie from I Heart Guts (love them!), but I could imagine her getting some good use out of this adorable cooling and heating pad, especially when she starts to experience menstrual cramps. Hopefully, if I’ve done my job right and have normalized all of the parts of the body for her (and menstruation, for that matter), she’ll enjoy this cheeky nod to her ladyparts.
8. Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by KaeLyn Rich and Giulia Sagramola, $13.79
Once your child has been primed by the other items already mentioned on this list, they’ll be ready for this guide by queer activist KaeLyn Rich. This handbook provides advice on everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to promoting awareness on social media and being an effective ally. In short, it’s the type of book I wish I had when I was a young feminist.
9. Lumberjanes Vol. 1, Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
There are 15 volumes in this series, plus several standalone graphic novels, but let’s just start with the first one. Fair warning, though. Your kid’s gonna want ’em all.
I’ve already mentioned Lumberjanes before but, if you need a refresher: It’s an all-ages comic about a group of “hardcore lady types” away at a summer camp in the middle of a forest filled with magical creatures. I could go on but what you really need to know is that it’s filled to the brim with feminist puns and showcases a group of strong, young women discovering the power of even stronger friendships.
If your kids are anything like I was, they’ll want a tattoo. After all, tattoos are bad-ass. And they can also be quite beautiful. Plus, you can use them to make a statement about who you really are. Like, deep down.
(I don’t have a tattoo but, if I did, it would be a cluster of tiny cat paws on my inner wrist or on my shoulder, one for each of my cats. Because, deep down, I am a cat lady.)
You probably think your kids are too young for something so permanent. You’re probably right. But Rhino Parade (one of our previous featured businesses) has this feminist temporary tattoo sheet filled with pictures of raised fists and calls for equality and stuff. A perfect stocking stuffer, no?
I am such a magazine junkie and, once I discovered BUST magazine back in my early 20s, I immediately subscribed. This fun, feminist-minded magazine contains everything from your average women’s magazine fare — celebrity interviews, music reviews, and fashion spreads — to content with a definite activist bent. Your teen will find crafting projects, sex advice, historical longreads, political news, and more.
Along with BUST, the other feminist mag I got in my mailbox on the regular was Bitch, billed as the “feminist response to pop culture.” What this means is that writers look at the media and pop culture through a feminist lens, taking into account how gender is (and has historically been) represented.
Claws Out is a nail polish company that donates 20% of its proceeds to various causes. They’re devoted to supporting movements that are working to make the world a better place in the realms of intersectional feminism, racial justice, immigration rights, climate change action, LGBTQ+ rights, animal compassion, and elsewhere. Each nail polish color is paired with a different cause.
Sales of this bold red Resistance polish go to support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Other organizations represented on the site include Feeding America, Pixie Project, and Emily’s List. But that’s just a small sampling.
14. You Don’t Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent, $14.72
Once upon a time, Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism made me realize that “feminism” was a label I could claim for myself. In this more recent memoir in essays, Nugent shows how she grew into the feminist label, making it a perfect primer for contemporary feminist noobs.
When your child has run through all the stickers at the back of their Rebel Girl journal, they’ll need something more. How else will they decorate their laptop, Kindle case, binders, bicycle, guitar case, water bottle, and everything else they own? Each month, an artist designs a new sticker. Ten percent of profits go to feminist causes.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to wait to get a new sticker every month, Paper House offers a sticker bundle from the folks at Wire & Honey that includes planner stickers and stick-it-wherever stickers from their Hustle for Justice line.
17. Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani and Monique Le, $16.55
This colorfully illustrated book celebrates the brilliant work of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated. What I love about this book is that it’s filled with contemporary activists who are doing the work NOW and effecting real change NOW. What could be more inspiring?
And just to end on an extra-cheeky note, I want to highlight another product that was included in a previous Feminist Book Club box: Flip ‘Em the Bird’s fingerless gloves, which feature an actual bird on the middle fingers. They come in a ton of different colors, but I particularly like these Thank You, Next navy gloves with their contrasting lime-colored birds. Who says feminists are humorless? (hint: misogynists)