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.
Filed under: Body Image, Indifference toward Women, Male Bias, Media Bias, Misogyny/Sexism, Relationships, Sex, Sex in advertising, Sexism, Sexist Advertising, Sexualizing America, The Majority United, Violence against women, Women's Rights | Tagged: "girls" books, "girls" toys, "girls" TV, Betty Jean Kling, independent young women, MissRepresentation, MissRepresentation video, positive female role models, The Majority United |