✨The Feminist Guide to Fighting with Your Family✨

I can already picture the festive scene! 

My cousin, and her red wine-stained lips, pleading: Gemma, did you seriously have to bring that up right now, we’re just trying to have a PLEASANT dinner. 

When confronted with problematic relatives during the holidays, I am **incapable** of pleasantries. That is why I’ve created this unpleasant guide, to help you disturb the peace, fight for gender justice, and of course, win! 

1. Your TERF aunt who’s singlehandedly trying to bring back flower headbands. 

“Tell me you actually hate women without saying it directly. You should be ASHAMED for posting this trash and advocating against the very people you CLAIM to help.” * 

*Yes, this is a real comment we got on our Instagram page. Unfortunately, the TERFs have become technologically aware! 

Breaking news, @intentionalholistichealing. You can’t support women and be a TERF at the same time. 

This obsession with legislating, tracking, and surveilling trans bodies is the same playbook being used to ban abortion and strip away bodily autonomy for people with the capacity for pregnancy.   

The goal is always control. They can call it “radical feminism” or being “gender critical,” but it doesn’t change the truth. And if history has taught us anything, an attack on one of us is an attack on us all.    

Dethrone your aunt’s flower headband with more talking points here. 

2. Your anti-abortion grandmother who wants you to find a “nice young man” at the March for Life. * 

*Wear your rosary sweetheart, it accentuates your décolletage! 

I highly doubt that you’ve seen THESE studies, but do you know how much abortion traumatizes the woman? And I thought you claimed to CARE about women???” 

Breaking news, Grandma: There is no one abortion story, and it sure as hell isn’t “abortion is always traumatic.”  

Abortions are safe and happen every day. Patients feel a range of emotions about their abortion, from joy to relief to sadness to anger to ambivalence. So, abortion can be many things, but abortion is also self and community care; it can be love and family personified. 

At the March for Life, I will be passing out THESE articles. 

3. Your TV-recliner uncle who’s spent more time with the cast of The Sopranos than his own children. * 

*Tbh Tony Soprano was a better dad. I mean, have you seen his collection of cold cuts??? 

There is no quote here.  

Because your uncle is a silent presence. You don’t know if he’s ever had a thought. You do know he’s only been left alone with his children once (in which he cooked frozen pizza with the cardboard still attached). 

For too long, care work has been seen as an individual (and usually a woman’s) responsibility instead of a key part of our economic and social infrastructure. Just as we rely on bridges and roads to get us where we need to go, we rely on child care workers to have a functioning workforce, economy, and society. 

In other words, your uncle needs to get out of his recliner, and Congress needs to get off their ass and pass child care funding next year. 

4. Your Vera-Bradley aunt who’s never read a book in her life (besides Fifty Shades of Grey) yet is insistent on banning them. 

“I have never read such VULGAR, EXPLICIT material. We need this out of our schools NOW.” 

You know what aunt, you’re sooooo right! After all, Hitler, Stalin, AND Mao all banned books, and that’s definitely a group you want to be a part of. * 

*All of this must be said with an UNPLEASANT and SARCASTIC tone.  

5. Your “no, seriously, I’m 6 feet” brother-in-law whose only personality trait is refusing to use anyone’s pronouns.

“They/them doesn’t even make any sense. Why should I have to say that??”  

I’m going to have our amazing Director of LGBTQI Equality, Anya Marino, explain: “Respect doesn’t require understanding someone’s identity. A person’s worth and right to dignity doesn’t require understanding who they are.” 

Also, man who is CLEARLY not even 5’10”, this is a matter of life and death: “People think misgendering is a small offense. It isn’t. It erases our identity. It takes away from our humanity, and it places us in potential danger. This happens to so many of us in the trans and non-binary community. It shouldn’t. And we need our allies to be a part of the solution, particularly when community members encounter injustice at every turn.”  

If all else fails, go to Best Buy, purchase a blow horn, and use it whenever your brother-in-law speaks.* 

*This festive tip is applicable to all problematic family members, regardless of relation/closeness.  

Go forth and burst eardrums with feminism! 

Happy Holidays from the National Women’s Law Center <3