Father: “I realised something horrible today, my little girls are being diminished”

BettyJean Kling

Somehow I wandered into a gaming site where a father posted the following realization about what he is up against being the father of daughters in such a sexists climate as this. I also read the comments of other gamers who responded. I was curious  as to the amount of support he would get – it was mixed for the most part. 

I just had to post this man’s piece. I also had to post one idot’s reply. I say idiot because he was not even smart enough to realize he was one of the dummies he was recognizing and so opposed to exposing.

As long as I’ve politically aware, I’ve been broadly supportive of the aims of feminism without ever worrying myself about the details or indeed about the effects that feminists catalogue of discrimination on the lives of women. “This is bad”, I would think. “Something ought to be done”. But in terms of actually doing anything well, I left that to the feminists.

Since becoming a father to first one, then two, daughters, this perception has slowly changed. As I read “girls” books with them, or play “girls” toys with them or watch “girls” TV with them I have become aware, and saddened by the subtle way in which these things diminish the expectations and lives of little girls. There are few enough stories and stereotypes that feature females as the main characters. And when so many of them that are ostensibly about girls actually end up carrying the implicit message that what they should be worrying about is how their actions end up affecting the men in their lives, what hope is there for them to grow into strong, independent young women?

This makes me very sad. I’ve tried to treat it in a sensible fashion. Alongside the Disney things and traditional toys that they desire I do a little research and try to ensure that at least some of the things they get to play with have more central, adventurous female role models. Push it too far, start banning stuff, and you run the danger of bringing them up as social freaks or, worse, making them hate the messages that you’re trying to get them to take notice of.

As I’ve slowly grown into this realisation it’s struck me that more and more men who have daughters – especially those who, like me, have no sons to dilute their attention – must notice the same thing. It’s not like it requires a massive level of perception of intelligence to distil – it’s obvious once you, as a man, get exposed to all these “girls” things that you’d probably never otherwise notice or hear about. And so it made me wonder why it was that more and more middle-aged men aren’t, as a result, sticking up for at least the moderate sections of the feminist cause, aren’t helping the women to make a fuss about this stuff, get it noticed.

I was listening to the radio this morning, to a segment about stalkers who are almost inevitably men stalking, threatening, damaging both psychologically and physically, women, when the answer struck me. The reason is because a lot of fathers accept this stuff. They think it’s right and good and proper that their little girls grow up to be attendant to the needs and desires of men, and to put those needs and desire secondary to their own, believing that the men will handle things for them, and handle them better, just because they’re men.

That realisation has made me feel quite profoundly depressed.

Now for  a smart comment: Jorge Montero (hibikir)

There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/734765/i-realised-something-horrible-today

My Comment: BettyJean Kling (The Majority United)

RE: There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate.

I am stunned with your comment. Obviously, you have missed the point of this piece completely. In fact even the writer should have provided the following visual demonstartional evidence for the viewers perusal.

I suggest you view the trailer known as MissRepresentation. It can be seen as a 3 or 8 minute video at the following link. Perhaps this will open your eyes to the point! http://vimeo.com/28066212.

If the link is not accepted here – google ‘video for MissRepresentation’ – every father of boys or girls needs to see it! Every teacher needs to make sure this is seens by young people. Get it in your colleges, Libraries and high Schools.

21 Responses

  1. Great post BJ,

    I’m going to post to FB on both mine and TMU. It is wonderful to find and support a father that cares so much for his daughters.

  2. Thanks – please tweet it too – these guys are far and few between and deserve our support for supporting their daughters. I have been reading the comments from some of the gamers who are acting macho and the real men are not backing down at all!
    I am not patronizing these guys- I am sincerely pleased that tis guy was not approached by a woman to do this – he actually did this on his own – and on a gaming blog at that. To boot- other guys are not afraid or ashamed to support him.
    Bravo to the real men who stand up for human rights!

    • I’m all for you folks coming over to BoardGameGeek and checking out the level of sensitivity of some of the fathers of daughters that you may find there. Good for you for broadening your internet horizons, if that’s what’s happening here. However, your seeming use of stereotype regarding those that might be encountered at “a gaming blog at that” is nearly, in its scale, as offensive to me as the overwhelming level of utter horseshit that our media imposes upon impressionable young minds appears to be to you (and certainly is to me). BoardGameGeek is not a “gaming blog,” it is a web site devoted specifically to board game enthusiasts around the world. You popped into a very, very tiny corner of that web site where discussions of Religion, Sex, and Politics have been segregated from the rest of the user population who cower in fear at the level of ichor and bile regularly expressed by RSP participants of every stripe. I’ve been the father of a single daughter for far longer than Matt Thrower has been a father, and I’m here to tell you that his post is complete and utter crap. If it panders to your most earnest desires for male behavior, then by all means, lap it up like lolcatz, but it won’t make it any less ridiculous or offensive to those fathers who have, like me, actually considered and approached the problems Mr. Thrower appears to have become so despondent by confronting. What a whiny crybaby he is! Raise your daughters strong, and raise your daughters smart, and strive to give your daughters the self-esteem they will need to face the world without succumbing to the media bombardments that anybody with an IQ greater than 11 can see are detrimental not just to women, but to society in general. And do the exact same damned thing with your sons.

      I don’t have all night to reply to this nonsense, which I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear, but to castigate Jorge Montero, a Spaniard living in this country, working in his second language, whom you’ve never met, nor about whom you know really anything other than one sentence that you’ve misconstrued? Pitiable. He is allowed to have his focus, as the father of an infant son, and prioritize issues as HE sees fit, not as you would have him do.

      Ms. Kling, I am truly sorry that your daughter was shot in the head. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult her condition must be for you, and for her, and for whatever support system you both have in place, if any. I wish her and you nothing but the best going forward.

      • Dear Josh Adelson,

        Thank you for the comments- I’m not sure if I am thilled or not that you’ll not tarry all night to write.

        Much of what you had to say makes a hell of a lot of sense and some is horseshit which perplexes me coming out of one so obviously brilliant as yourself.

        As for Jorge, I’m entitled to my opinion just as you have allowed Jorge his and just as you have freely expressed yours about Mr. Thrower and just as I have tolerated your candid opinion about my viewpoint.

        Thank you for your wishes for myself and my daughter.

        Most respectfully,

        BettyJean Kling

        • Hi BettyJean, apparently I *do* have all night. I’m now sitting around drinking coffee, having given up on the idea of getting any sleep with this ridiculous viral infection I’ve had for over two weeks. It’s possible–just possible–that I’m not in the best frame of mind for internet communications.

          I am glad that some of what I said, at least made sense. The usual ratio of sense-to-horseshit for me is pretty poor. 1 to 8, maybe, or a little better. I do appreciate your flattery, because I am far from brilliant, as my daughter would happily relate to you, were she to get the opportunity.

          I know you’re entitled to your opinion of Jorge, MattDP, me–board games, board gamers. All of that, and infinitely more. I just wish you wouldn’t let Jorge’s focus on one side of the media depravity color your opinion so much. I have read his stuff for years now, and though there’s the tiniest bit of a barrier to entry thanks to linguistics, if you want to think somebody between he and myself is brilliant, you’re backing the wrong horse if you pick me. I really hope that he fathers a daughter one of these days. Furthermore, I’d like to meet her at various stages and see how she progresses in life. I bet she could rule the world.

          I don’t really think MattDP is a whiny crybaby. I’m sure he’ll come to grips with the sorrowful aspects of dealing with the gender divide as a father of girls. Perhaps once they start beating him regularly at his favorite board games, he’ll stop thinking about stalkers, and worry more about strategy.

          In any case, my opinion of you is that you’re a good person, with a sensible and justifiable passion. I am quick to judge though, so who knows!

          Also respectfully,


          • Hi Josh- so sorry to hear you are sick. You must be on the West Coast because I was up till 4 AM and finally had to lay my head down and for me that was all night.

            The internet is both wonderful in it’s ability to reach out and touch anyone anywhere at any time but it lacks the ability to really feel the intent of one’s written word sometimes. Jorge, is an example of one extreme and our correspondence is yet another.

            I absolutely enjoyed being dressed down by you, I totally got it and answered in kind and you obviously totally got it. How great is that?
            Two strangers able to express themselves honestly, with respect and then agreeing to disagree. You and I could solve half the problems in this world!

            You are a compassionate man with common sense but you have little ptience for stupidity (notice I did not say ignorance). Ignorant people are willing to hear and possible learn – stupid ones are not!

            Yet again- you have proven to be brilliant! Nice meeting you!

  3. Agreed BJ… I am happy to hear that he is getting support from other men on the game site.

    I’m off to so see… 🙂

  4. I’m the guy who posted that piece originally.

    Thanks for the messages of support. I should make it clear, as Josh tried to do that BoardGameGeek is a community-based site for gamers, and that I posted that piece in a tiny corner that’s reserved for the discussion of politics and religion. I put it there for various reasons: because I value the input and opinions of that community, because most of my real-world friends and relations would agree with me without comment and I wanted to hear some contrary opinions, and because I don’t have a useful blog space of my own in which to post it.

    (And Josh, might have been offended by your comments had I not known it was you. Not for nothing is he known as Mister Cranky.)

    • Just chalk it up to jealousy on my part that your sensitive fathering attracted a whole new section of cyberspace to BGG and RSP for a bit, Matt. My advice to you would simply be to work (speak) openly with your daughters over the years, to avoid having them endure the pitfalls that you rightly find so depressing. That’s really all most of us can do: Work with OUR progeny, and see to it that they don’t propagate gender injustice or succumb to it unconsciously (or consciously!)

      • Thanks for the advice. It’s not like your comments were exactly unfounded or way off the mark, as members of the community here have already accepted. These things are rarely straightforward and, as I said, I wanted to hear contrary opinions to form a more rounded picture.

        And you seem to have succeeded in attracting a whole new section of gaming cyberspace to this blog. Cuts both ways 🙂

    • Matt,
      Please come here anytime and bring your wisdom and you comments and your concerns. I would love to have you become one of my bloggers – I can use a good man around here.

      AND as for Mr. Cranky, he is all bark and no bite- a wonderfully cantakerous gentleman who I am becoming fond of, he is a breath of fresh air and not at all anti feminine- he is welcome too!

      I can use another good man around here.

      • Thank you, BettyJean, your powers of perception are gratifying, and your advocacy is enviable. My cantankerousness wilts in the presence of such charming intelligence. I wholly support your endeavor to enlist Matt’s aid. It will give him something positive to do to combat those feelings he’s described. When they’re older, assuming their dad is still slogging through these pictures of which you speak, Matt’s kids can get involved and he’ll be killing two birds with one stone!

  5. By the way, I was going to leave it at that but I felt it was important that although I was pre-disposed to agreeing with the majority of feminist positions, what really opened my eyes to the reality of what women have to endure on a daily basis was simply looking at media and products designed to appeal to girls and women for the first time. I mean, why would an average man take the time to look at this sort of material, especially when he has so many things around that unconsciously support and flatter his own gender images? It’s struck me that one way to raise conciousness on theses sort of issues might be simply to try and get more men to actually *look*, as in properly consume and consider, media meant to appeal to women and see the often hateful messages that it contains.

    • Matt- I have thousands of pictures of these ads- how would you like to add comments to ten at a time for me ? Wehn I run the series this time. I would love to have you be the writer this time. How wonderful to have the series come from a man’s point of view- a young father?
      Please consider this? Will you?
      I am going to send you an invite to become one of my bloggers. Please consider this- I will then give you access to all the pictures from all the adds you will have full control over which ones you chose to use in each blog piece. It will be great – you will be famous. Do it for your little Girl?

  6. To some of the guys at Board Games who think Feminists hate men:

    My grandsons used to think I was a man hater until they realized that advocating FOR something did not mean I hated something else. In other words- my passion for steak does not preclude my desire likewise for lobster and requesting both be served on the menu in as many ways as possible!

    May I suggest agaim thay you watch the trailers http://vimeo.com/28122207

    I can not speak for radical feminists but I can speak for myself and others like me – all we want is a fair hearing about how females are being portrayed to young boys and girls and how it is affecting them both. Parents cannot shelter their children from the all the brainwshing they will encounter – we must instead demand the bombardment stop!

  7. Wonderful conversation!

    Just jumping in with a story that recognizes women role models in action.

    Nobel Peace Prize goes to women catalysts for peace

    OSLO — Liberia’s president, a Liberian and a Yemeni activist will receive the Nobel Peace Prize Saturday for demonstrating how women facing war and oppression can shed the mantle of victimhood and lead the way to peace and democracy.

    “The period that women appeared as victims has ended. … Now women they are leaders. They are leaders not only of their country or leaders in their struggle, but leaders in the world,” Yemeni “Arab Spring” activist Tawakkol Karman told a news conference in Oslo on the eve of the prize ceremony, which kicks off at 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) in Oslo’s city hall.


  8. Isn’t it great and yet too bad that the USA is lagging behind other countries in having women in leading positions?

  9. You are up late… 😉

    I think it is a sad state of affairs that the US doesn’t have more women leaders. Until that changes we will continue to have less of a voice and our concerns can be more easily dismissed.

  10. OH GEEZ I am always late to the party. i so enjoyed the conversation here, Thank you all and yes it would certainly be nice to have an intelligent mans point of view once in a while here.
    I think Matts daughters will excel in life as they have a dad who seems sensitive to their needs and in my world that is a breathe of much needed fresh air. If only I could clone him and take him to the places where girls are in desperate need of ..loving.
    Thanks to Matt and Josh and as always BJ.

    and Congratulations to our Nobel Peace prize winners..3 personal hereos of mine and to the NPP commitee for getting this right. A prize awarded for actually making a difference in the world. If you get a chance please read President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf book “this child will be great” truly inspiring.

    Blessings to All

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