mash: society / parenting / feminism
Have you seen the photo floating around the internet of the dad who labelled himself as a “feminist father”? He has a wildly popular shirt for “Rules for dating my daughter”. He’s getting applause and ovations in the #YesAllWomen atmosphere that is spiraling around.
Most of my friends thought I would have loved the shirt. I am, afterall a woman. And I have, after all, shown my support time and time again for the #YesAllWomen movement. I’m not mad at this father at all. Rock on, Dad! Show the world you care for and support your daughter. Empower her to make decisions about her own body. Protect her. Support her. Love her. However, I don’t like this shirt, ore most shirts, for “Rules To Date My Daughter”. I think it has two big flaws, from the perspective of a mother with a son. Here’s my problem with this dad’s rules.
Rule 1: I’m sorry, but if my son is living under my roof, especially if he is underaged, I do make the rules. You know why? Because I am the parent.
And it’s true, teenagers break rules all the time. However, people break the speed limit too. Should we stop having speed limits? The result would probably be a lose of life. Laws help keep most of us safe most of the time. Police remind us of those laws, and make sure we feel the consequences when we break them. Similarly, a parent sets general rules for their children’s behavior. While they might break some of the the rules some of the time, diligent parenting can help keep them safe by reminding them of certain things. And while I want my son to learn how to make the right choices without the need for exterior rules, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t, as a parent, set parameters. That’s my job. In fact, the prefrontal cortex, which controls reasoning, isn’t even governing most of the decision-making of adolescents. In fact, it has been proven that emotions rule logic in the teenage brain. Adolescents are more likely to act on impulse and make risky-decisions. And the truth is, especially when they are young, their decisions will affect us as parents. How many grandparents do you know who are raising their grandkids? I know quite a few, and have no intentions on joining their ranks.
Rule 2: Know what I’m going to teach my son? That he does make some of the rules. He gets to say “No”. Women don’t own the rights to that.
The world has a lot of jerks that disrespect women, use them for their bodies, abuse them, and are generally pigs. I plan to raise my son to not be one of them. But guess what I want my son to also know? The world holds some pretty horrific mate choices in females too. There are women who use men for money, status, comfort, and caretaking. There are women who lie, cheat, steal, and abuse. Just like a girl has a right to say “Not interested,” he has a right to do the same. He doesn’t have to feel guilted into returning feelings, giving time, taking care of, or dating women that he knows are no good for him or his future.
Rule 3 and 4: The girl does make rules, some of the rules.
And it is her body. He should respect her. And respect his own body too. Yes, only the girl’s body is affected by a pregnancy. However, herpies, gential worts, and HIV aren’t gender discreminators. So, his body, his rules too.
What do you think of this dad’s t-shirt, or other Rules To Date My Daughter shirts you’ve seen?
Would you change it for your kids, or would you rock it just as is?