By Steven I. Weiss
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Very thought provoking piece by Steven I. Weiss about the importance of fathers discussing gender relations with their sons. As Weiss remarks, “if we don’t speak frankly and specifically about what consent and respect for women mean, we’re leaving them at the mercy of our broader society. Our boys’ morality is too precious to leave up to television and locker room buddies as their main sources of instruction.”
Los Angeles Times
“As a father of daughters” is now a well-worn phrase, trod out every time men feel the need to distance themselves from misogynistic comments or behavior.
Of course it’s been particularly pervasive in the last few weeks, as Republicans have denounced Donald Trump for saying he “grabs” women’s genitals in a leaked video from 2005.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, for example, said that “My wife and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued a statement explaining that “as the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere.”
The “as a father of daughters” refrain has even become part of Hillary Clinton’s offensive. An ad released by her campaign features a lifelong Republican who announces that he won’t vote for Trump because “I’m the father of three girls.”
Fathers of daughters may well feel a personal sense of outrage, but it’s the fathers of sons who could, ultimately, do something to mitigate or end the misogyny that still taints our culture.
Left up to their own devices, we know what boys will grow up to do. According to a 2014 study, 65 percent of women have experienced street harassment, 20 percent have been followed, and 9 percent subsequently forced to do something sexual. But the street isn’t the only danger zone: 1 in 3 women has been harassed at work, according to a Cosmopolitan Magazine study last year. Sexual assault is widespread on college campuses.