I’m a dad. I have daughters.

Friday, September 5th, 2014

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I’m glad there are posts like Jeff Bogle’s about how it only gets better when it comes to raising daughters because I need to be reminded that my girls themselves are just fine. That the decisions they make are made for them only and that as long as they feel strongly about what they want to do in life, they’ll be able to do it.

I worry a lot though. About my girls.

I worry that some of my daughter’s 4-year-old classmates are already spouting off tales of boys only liking blue and girls only liking pink.

I worry that in 2014 it’s progress that a law has been passed that requires people be educated that you have to be given affirmative consent before engaging in sexual activity with another person. Are you kidding? We’re realizing this now and we have one state acknowledging it?

I worry that 17-year-old’s (an age my girls get closer to every day) think it’s appropriate to hold a sign saying “honk if you’re dropping off your daughter,” at a residence move in weekend at a university. And that there even needs to be a poll after the story asking if the sign is inappropriate and sexist. And that a single human has answered that no it is not (forget the fact that no was leading the poll when writing this).

I worry that when humans take private pictures of themselves and have those pictures stolen and then displayed as part of an “art exhibit” the picture takers are the ones who “should have known better.” That our need to see what they look like without a shirt and pants on is more important than them being a human.

I worry that laws are still made about what she can do with her body by people who are not in charge of her body.

I worry that some people think there are varying levels of sexual assault. That there’s a serious way where you get raped and then there’s the minor sexual assault where you’re just touched in ways you didn’t ask for. Sexual assault seems like sexual assault to me, not a colour palette where you have varying scales of gray.

I worry that there are both men and women who believe street harassment is the sincerest form of flattery. That “it’s flattering, so deal with it,” as though being yelled at by strangers about your body was the life goal of all women.

I worry that my partner and I still have to explain to her that “those people were wrong when they said men can only marry women.”

I worry that right now, this is as good as it gets in terms of gender equality. That the place where my girls are growing up is where women are treated “more equally” than in other parts of the world.

I worry that none of the above are thoughts held by only a small handful of people. Many people would hold that sign, many people would share those images, many people would shrug off a little inappropriate touching & many people would tell someone on the street to “smile more.”

I worry that all of these stories are from the past month.

I worry that as a man I won’t be able to relate to what they go through as two quickly growing girls and that my inability to relate to them will cause me to act irrationally. That I’ll underestimate how much something I’ve never experienced can hurt them.

I worry that many people who struggle with some of these concepts are our young children of today and that I’ll be another parent that fails to teach my daughters the value of an individual’s rights.

I worry that I’m not educated enough, not brave enough or outright not a good enough parent to teach my girls that none of these things, should they happen to them, makes them any less important or is any way their fault.

Really, I worry that I’m closer to being a part of the problem than I am to being a part of the solution and that by the time I figure this out, it will be too late.

But I’m working on it.

4 responses to “I’m a dad. I have daughters.”

  1. TJ says:

    The fact that you’re even thinking about these things means you are 100% further evolved than most other men. Keep up the good work!

  2. Tony says:

    I agree with the TJ. The fact that you are considering these things is a good thing in and of itself. You have an awareness of the privilege that you, as a man, have. You’re not blind to the awful stuff in the world, such as sexism, misogyny, gender essentialism, rigid gender roles, and Rape Culture. You could have tumbled through life like so many people, unaware of how good they have it or being apathetic to the experiences of other simply because you didn’t share those experiences. Instead, you’ve opened your eyes to the world around you. I know it’s not a pleasant view at times, but the only way we can make the world better is if we see the problems for what they really are. The world needs more people (and, with regard to sexism and misogyny, more MEN), who, when confronted with the reality, do not shirk, but instead, remove the rose tinted glasses to view the world in all it’s splendor and horror.

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