Halle Berry reveals how she is raising her son to be feminist

The director and Oscar winner shared her tips on challenging gender stereotypes with her son

Halle Berry attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California
(Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor via Getty Images)

Halle Berry is raising her son to rethink gender stereotypes, one conversation at a time. 

Oscar-winner Halle Berry has revealed her techniques for helping her 7-year-old son, Maceo, to challenge society’s patriarchal norms. The event, which was hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as part of this year’s virtual  Sundance Film Festival, aimed to "discuss the future of women in the film and music business post-pandemic."

Halle was joined by six other women with films at Sundance, including Sia, Silvia Bizio, Elisabeth Sereda, Andra Day, Robin Wright, and Zendaya, for an in-depth conversation on the implicit sexism that pervades their line of work. 

During the discussion, Halle shared her commitment to undoing these biases in her son. 

“I have realized what my job is in raising him,” Halle said. “If we want to have a future that’s different, that’s where it starts.” 

Halle, who also has a 12-year-old daughter named Nahla, believes in the value of addressing the issue of sexism with an open dialogue. 

“You made me think of how many conversations I’ve had with him since he turned five years old about the differences between boys and girls,” she said. “And I see how he’s taught to feel like he is superior at five than girls are.” 

Halle understands the importance of tackling these gender stereotypes at an early age before they become embedded into her son’s viewpoint. 

“I’m having to painfully break that down for him and really give him a new perspective,” she said.  

The Bruised director uses a Socratic style of questioning during these conversations, aimed at helping her son to be critical of his thought patterns. 

She insists it is her responsibility to “make him challenge those thoughts and ask him to identify where that comes from and if he believes that or not and challenge what he’s subconsciously getting from somewhere.” 

Halle has already noticed the impact of these discussions. 

“I can tell that because we’re having the conversation, he is going to grow as a deep thinker on the subject. He is going to be determined not to just accept it, because I keep challenging him all the time,” she said. 

Halle’s questions are simple and effective. She often calls out her son’s seemingly benign beliefs, such as the gendering of colors. “Well why is that for girls, why is that a girl’s color? And it makes him stop. And he has to really start thinking about it...” 

Halle wants her kids to be able to have fun without the restrictions of gender stereotypes. In March, she posted a video on Instagram of her son playing dress up in her stiletto boots. 

More from woman&home:

It isn't the first time Halle has addressed the issue of sexism in Hollywood. 

Halle has previously discussed her difficulties in being taken seriously in the industry and how certain roles are inherently sexist. She was particularly critical of the 2004 film Catwoman, in which her character investigated a dark conspiracy in a cosmetics company. 

"I remember having that argument: 'Why can't Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?' But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn't the director. I had very little say over that," Halle said.