In a modern world where the new concept of feminism is widely frowned upon, introducing people to the true notion of the word early on is important. To promote its inclusivity and intersectionality is something that, more often than not, is forgotten about. On April 11, Loryn Brantz, a woman with a desire to abandon the status quo and change common conceptions of the word, published her third children’s book, Feminist Baby. Brantz lives in New York City, where she is a Senior Writer on staff at Buzzfeed, writing and illustrating about feminism, body image and other hearty topics. The book has captured the attention of many for its humour, distinctive illustrations and value of equality. I recently got the chance to speak to Brantz, and used the opportunity to understand why she felt that writing the book was of such importance.
“Feminist Baby felt like it had been a long time coming,” Brantz told me in an email. “From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been trying to think of a children’s story I could tell that would positively impact the world… I wanted to write a book that I would want to give to my friends’ babies, and to my own possible future babies.” The specific idea for this book, though, hit Brantz when she was looking for a baby book related to feminism to buy for a friend’s shower; she was so inspired that she “literally ran home to write it,” she told me.
Feminist Baby aims to expose children to the idea of feminism; to familiarise them with the true meaning of the often misjudged and maligned word. The book does this through a variety of comics, which present feminist ideas in the context of a baby’s imagined life. “Feminist Baby chooses what to wear,” one page reads; “Feminist Baby likes pink and blue,” reads another.
“A lot of children’s media likes to beat around the bush and I think it’s time to be more direct,” Brantz said. “I’d like to think that if a child loves Feminist Baby, it will help them have a positive association with feminism later on in life.”
The book is also unique in that it’s completely gender neutral. Brantz didn’t want to exclude boys from her intended audience, she said, because “they need to grow up with feminism and not be scared of it. It would be much easier to make progress with everyone working together.”
While Brantz has been waiting for the book to be released, she’s also been publishing comics that similarly feature the feminist baby protagonist, but target an adult audience instead. The comics use humour to subvert typically tired conventions such as the gender reveal, and baby’s first words. This same baby character has also been used in the context of political satire; one comic illustrates a baby’s refusal to be born whilst President Trump tweets.
Acquainting people with the word ‘feminism’ without provoking antipathy or fear is important; introducing babies to the word illustrates the true affability of feminism as a whole. Feminist Baby is not only fresh and neoteric, but shows people of all ages that feminism is not a word to be afraid of.