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Fathers of daughters

(32 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 09:04:31

Please don't jump on me, this is just something I'm thinking about. I'm very happy to conclude I'm wrong, and I realise the generalisations I'm making do not apply to all.
I have realised that my dad is one of the least patriarchal men I know. To me anyway. When I was growing up as an only child there was an assumption I would go to university, get a good job. Any relationships, children etc were completely up to me. I'm not saying this is the right approach. I was taught how to change a car tyre, sort out oil, was generally trusted to be independent and look after myself (less so by my mum smile)
Dhs dad is absolutely lovely but grew up in a predominantly male household and had boys himself. His views on women's roles seem a little more old fashioned. That could just be the way it is. I'd like to also say he's not rude about it, if he comes across something new he's quite accepting.
We have a boy and a girl. When dd was born I could see dh challenging some of his inner views about parenting girls, and making a conscious effort to not treat her as a delicate little flower.
I don't I on to anything here? I suppose what I'm saying is dads of gis have more reason to challenge patriarchal attitudes and opinions they may have entrenched.

PalmerViolet Sun 10-Jan-16 09:30:14

Given the number of oped pieces by male journalists waxing lyrical about their daughters and how they can be anything they want, I'd agree you're on to something.

Not sure what you're onto.. and please don't think I'm jumping on you... but doesn't it seem sad to you that these men only wake up to the possibilities that half the species have when they manage to produce one of them? Why does this need to be personalised for them?

It's like the memes that ask men to imagine that it is their wife or daughter experiencing something that all women with obvious exceptions experience, almost like the other men making those memes don't think men are capable of seeing an inherently bad thing as bad, unless it's personalised for them.

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 09:35:31

Oh definitely! I did see a phase of dh thinking "so that's why she rants about this crap" when coming across situations with dd

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 09:36:37

And that's exactly mu point about my own dad. Maybe if he'd had a boy his views would be more like fils...maybe not though.

DontCallMeBaby Sun 10-Jan-16 09:47:14

I agree with Palmer Violet to a considerable extent, but I do think sometimes the epiphany is a bit more nuanced. For instance I recently read a piece by a senior manager who concluded he would not be able to recommend working for his organisation as wholeheartedly to his daughter as he would to his son. A few people I know said this was the attitude Palmer describes - I think it's more that gut feel you can only get when something is very, very close to home.

I also think for some men having a daughter makes them realise more what society does to women, because it's the first time they've met something other than a fully formed woman. DH for instance is the younger of two boys, went to a boys grammar school and a male dominated university. Before we had DD the last time he had much to do with little girls he was just a little boy himself. In that circumstance it may come as a surprise that baby girls don't come into the world self-deprecating, anxious to please, and so on (tbf, I don't think it did to DH).

Also - I have a degree of 'take your conversions where you find them' in my mindset, rather than criticising how people come to their realisations, and how long it took to get there.

TeiTetua Sun 10-Jan-16 12:19:01

What I've heard, totally anecdotally, is that fathers who only have daughters are the ones who are most likely to encourage the girl(s) in non-traditional directions. Whereas a man who has sons will share all the male stuff with the boys, and leave the girls to learn from their mother. Maybe it would be most extreme if a girl is an only child--making one little girl into a tomboy might work, but two or more might fight back.

Thefitfatty Sun 10-Jan-16 12:31:03

In my family it's myself and my two brothers. If anything my father pushed me far harder then my brothers, and had far higher expectations of me. He certainly never treated me like a "girl." I was also the only girl on his side of the family and even my grandfather had a complete 180 when it came to how he treated women, so did my grandmother actually. The idea of just being a wife and/or mother is not something that was ever mentioned to me or that I ever considered.

DH often discusses feminist issues with me, especially with how we will raise our DD and DS to believe in equality. However, he was an only child and his fathers a bit of a patriarchal douche, so not sure where that came from....

Kelsoooo Sun 10-Jan-16 12:33:44

Can't disagree.

I see it with my DH and my friends.

We have two girls and my DH is always telling them to be whatever they want, encouraging them to get involved with changing tyres and oil etc (to the best of their ability at 3 and 6) and other typically male dominated tasks..

But my friends who have one of each typically say things like "you'll make a good wife one day" to their Dds

However my Dad has four girls and one day and is still a msyogonystic prick

DaffodilsandTruffles Sun 10-Jan-16 12:43:16

Certainly my FIL (father of boys) is far more sexist than my Dad (father of girls). I don't mean outwardly sexist but his unconscious, inherent assumptions are often sexist.

To put the other side of the coin our male friends who only have daughters are far more of the "my daughter won't be dating until she's 35" attitude than men who have sons as well as daughters.

Branleuse Sun 10-Jan-16 12:53:41

my dp has certainly become a lot more feminist since our daughter, I think he sees the issues as a lot more serious than he ever needed to before.

HelpfulChap Sun 10-Jan-16 12:59:48

On reflection I think is is quite likely.

I have always told my DD that she and women as a whole are the equal of men.

Perhaps more importantly, I used to tell my DS the same.

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 13:02:56

But my friends who have one of each typically say things like "you'll make a good wife one day" to their Dds

I'm pleased to say dh isn't like this. But I think he became aware if his inherent assumptions when dd was born, and they actually applied to a person he was responsible for.
yes I'm hoping the presence of ds counters any "won't be dating till she's 35" macho-ism. I'll certainly be countering it ;)

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 13:04:41

Yes helpful chap.
I recently got told that "the boys" in ds's class had done some sporting activity. When I asked what the girls had been doing ds didn't know (dh helpfully suggested they may have been having sewing lessons). It all got sorted out in the end but I think it's just as important to teach sons as well as daughters

Thefitfatty Sun 10-Jan-16 13:06:16

But my friends who have one of each typically say things like "you'll make a good wife one day" to their Dds

I can't imagine DH ever saying that, unless he was looking to tease me. To be fair though, he has said he'll take a shot gun to boys that come round. hmm He says he'll lend it to me for girls that come round for DS...

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 18:16:53


TeiTetua Sun 10-Jan-16 18:59:12

I don't like all this talk of shotguns. Surely a child who grew up in a feminist household would be able to avoid either being exploited, or exploiting anyone else?

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jan-16 19:01:27

Not sure what you mean? It's an old fashioned stereotype of the male head of the house scaring off his daughter's boyfriend. Patriarchal nonsense as the message fundamentally is nice girls don't.

Helmetbymidnight Sun 10-Jan-16 19:15:56

In my experience, yeah, men can become more sympathetic to feminism when they have daughters. I've seen it in DH and others.

I don't know any men who do the 'make trouble for the boyfriend/no boyfriends til they're 80' schtick though. I wouldn't find it amusing. I genuinely don't get why people feel that way. My Dad was the opposite, he was very much of the, 'get out there and have some fun' variety. I think that gave me a lot of confidence/strong self esteem.

ethelb Sun 10-Jan-16 19:18:25

There are studies shown fathers of women are more left wing.
I come from a family with almost exclusively women in my generation (sisters and cousins) and it very much the case the men in my family are v pro women and never had limited expectations of us.
DH's parents on the other hand are quite negative about women whether they are working or 'living off their sons'. And OBSESSED with false rape accusations.
Its been v hard to get used to tbh.

noddingoff Sun 10-Jan-16 21:09:48

My mum is the eldest of three girls - no boys - and was treated as the most worthy of "serious adult" conversation and argument (about business, politics etc) by her father and took over the family business from him. The other two were left to do girl things/whatever. I suspect mum was the substitute son and often wonder if she would be running the business (which she is very good at) if one of her younger siblings had been male.

TheseBedroomWalls Sun 10-Jan-16 21:42:01

My DH is firmly feminist, and he became so on the birth of dd1. He became so besotted, and read up soooo much on how her life might pan out....that he became very pro-women!!

You should hear him rant sometimes about men!!!

WilLiAmHerschel Mon 11-Jan-16 00:21:30

Whereas a man who has sons will share all the male stuff with the boys, and leave the girls to learn from their mother.

I have seen this very much in dp's family. It was a bit surprising to me at first that whenever we attended a family event, the men would go off one way, the women another. I still find it very strange. His sister (the youngest after two boys) had an entirely different upbringing to her siblings.

In my family I am the oldest child and have a younger brother. From when my dad was around I actually think he was quite encouraging and supportive of me. (As supportive as an abusive, alcoholic and violent man is able to be). I feel as though we had some connection and maybe he thought of me as being capable of anything. I don't know though, I could be doing that thing where we only remember the good stuff. He certainly was not enlightened when it came to his treatment of my mother but I feel like it was different with me. I don't know though.

AmpleRaspberries Mon 11-Jan-16 21:16:26

My dh is definitely more enlightened since we had dd. How this pans out when ds arrives in a few months I don't know. I'm already sick of being told how great it is dh will now have someone to do sports with (because obviously he could never do this with his daughter hmm).

On the other hand I am one of two girls and df is pretty sexist until challenged (when he will seriously back track), and fil is very sexist despite having 2 daughters and dh.

BarbarianMum Mon 11-Jan-16 22:29:49

Not my experience, sorry. My father (2 dd and one ds) was/is hugely misogynistic, placed little value on my sister's/my education on the basis that we only needed to get a "little office job" until we were married anyway. Ironically, he sent us to an excellent single sex secondary school to keep us away from boys not because of the academic opportunities it offered.

Having said which, I give him great credit for my academic success, my feminist principles and my career (all of which I acquired, in the first instance, as an act of rebellion).

slightlyglitterbrained Tue 12-Jan-16 01:38:01

This article might be interesting - quotes various research showing that male CEOs, judges, and politicians with daughters appear to make different choices to those without:

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