Can wiping butts be woke?

Can wiping your kid’s butt be an act of social justice? I guess it depends on who is doing the wiping, what type of wipe you are using, what are you saying as you wipe, how you involve your kid in the wiping process, etc. It’s these questions that keep me up at night (apart from my one-year old son, sometimes)—[How] can the daily activities of parenting be acts of social justice, particularly for [upper middle-class/cis/hetero] White parents of a White child?

To me, parenting for social justice means prioritizing critical thinking in your child about how society organizes power along the lines of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability status, religion, and other social identities. It means actively pushing against colorblindness, heternormativity, cisnormativity, rape culture , toxic masculinity, etc. in your child. Parenting for social justice is obvious when you bring your child to direct actions and rallies, but this blog is dedicated to understanding how the more banal acts of parenting (for example, butt wiping) can in and of themselves contribute to a more just world.

My son (‘A’, as I’ll refer to him here) turned one year old last Saturday. I probably changed his diaper at least three times just on his birthday (his dad had to work all day, but I know his grandparents tackled a few dirty diapers that day, too). Did any of those moments of our lives promote social justice?

Once a week for the second year of my son’s life, I am going to write about my trials in answering that question and other questions around ‘parenting for social justice.’

Let’s speak poop to power together.


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