Every man looks forward to having a baby boy. Finally, he has someone to play catch with and someone to play video games with. Of course every couple wants a “healthy baby” but in our heart of hearts we internally fantasize about the benefits of giving birth to a specific gender.
This week, while talking to my husband about gender, I came to the conclusion that having a daughter has made him a more considerate, more reasonable, more sensitive man and most of all he is not only interested in “women’s issues” but an advocate for said issues. While looking into his precious baby girls eyes, he can imagine all of the women’s eyes he’s looked into – and he sees his past & future with women including women in his own family, differently. In fact, when he thinks about her dating one day, he clutches his hand over his heart (in an Arthur Dimmesdale kind of way).
There is a reason that female children have been shunned around the world… (while hyper masculinity and patriarchy are the primary culprits), I’d argue that there is something deeper going on… When a father gives birth to a daughter the faulty foundation of gender inequality shifts. His desire to protect her is sometimes clouded by the women who were not protected from him. His relationship with his wife changes as he realizes she was once “sugar and spice” and everything nice to her own father.
When Daddy’s have daughters we get the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Barack Obama often cites his own two daughters for the inspiration to do the right thing. When Daddy’s have daughters we get Title 9. We have to think that President Nixon questioned why his daughter Julie, could not be treated equally to men while learning. We have to consider that the all male Supreme Court justices were thinking about their own daughters when giving women control over the reproduction process. So as we look at the sexual violence that women are experiencing in India, and the gender issues in boardrooms and bedrooms across the world, I think we need to appeal to the natural allies of women… their daddies…