“So, you feel more protective of your daughter than your sons?”
“Yes.” I replied.
“Don’t you think that’s a bit sexist?”
“So, are you saying your daughter needs your protection more?”
I intentionally gave one-word answers, because the capital of some conversations are simply not worth the investment; especially fleeting conversations with casual acquaintances you don’t particularly care for. Truth be told, I was almost intentionally presenting myself as wilfully nonchalant because much of my life experience has a solid grounding in a grotesquely beautiful physical reality.
My current trio of children will soon become a quartet, of which only one is a female. My daughter has existed on this planet for just under three years, so much of the subject matter I address will not be applicable for many years to come.
Should she ever stumble across my musings, I want her to understand why initially I will be as ice cold as Elsa, toward any male suitor bought to my table.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning much of this is written on the assumption my daughter is heterosexual, but should she have a more fluid/experimental approach with her emerging sexuality, I will not love her any less; in fact, I openly welcome any potential partner who resembles Halle Berry or Alessandra Ambrosio.
If I were talking exclusively about same sex relationships, I drop the mic and this post ends here, as same sex couples cannot impregnate. It’s almost too obvious to say that society should give men and women the same opportunities but it is naïve to overlook the significant impact of biological consequences.
Let us not forget I am the same man who once said…
“I want every woman to have the same freedoms, choices and opportunities I do. It has already been proven that humanity progresses and benefits immeasurably from an inclusive society that values, appreciates and warmly holds all genders within its embrace. Without question, I want the burgeoning potential of my daughter and nieces to have the same chances of being unlocked as my sons and nephew…”
All of the above still holds true, although I was writing about feminism and society at large, however stakes tend to be a little more intimate when we turn our attentions away from external influences and look inward toward the personable, romantic sparks that humans tend to ignite with one another.
I do not mean to offend anyone’s intelligenza, but in simple terms; after a consensual, casual, intimate encounter between a man and a woman, only one of the two genders ends up harbouring a fugitive for about 9 months. And at this point you might say…
“Oh Ty, how naïve you are! Have you not heard of contraception? Not every intimate encounter results in the birth of a child!”
I flippantly laugh in the face of that assertion and counter any scepticism with authentic life experience, because I’m not sure if in the heat of the moment women feel confident asking a man to put on protection and I certainly don’t think men ask for more than a woman’s word if she says she is on the pill…and if we assume an unintended accident did happen there isn’t a man alive that ever need worry about childbirth.
Now, I’m not suggesting because a woman has life giving potential she isn’t capable of engaging and enjoying non-committal, casual, seductive encounters. I’m not saying a woman doesn’t have a thriving libido that can out match her male counterpart and just because a woman has the potential to have a child, it certainly doesn’t mean she will necessarily have or want one.
But the personal consequences are greater and a common-sense society must surely acknowledge this? There is a false illusion that people who acknowledge distinctions in gender must be conservative thinking and unable to fathom a functioning existence outside of a stereo typical nuclear family…but that is not true…because a males instinctive behavioural (and reproductive) traits tend not to be the same as a female and that’s okay.
Not one of my sons can walk in, disturb me while I’m watching Netflix and say “Dad, I think I might be pregnant!” but my daughter can, which does not mean I value her any less, but her awesome, child bearing, life giving capabilities mean I can’t just bundle her into an Uber, give her my credit card and tell her to lay low for a while.
So, is it sexist, to feel slightly more protective over my daughter? My answer is still “Nah!” because I have no interest in moving into overprotective territory. I won’t be trying to make sure my daughter is home from the ball before midnight without losing a glass slipper.
I have been fortunate enough to be at the births of all my children, and after such an experience you can’t help but walk away with a deeply appreciative respect, understanding and value for what a woman is willing to selflessly sacrifice.
It is not possible to discriminate or devalue women by acknowledging a clear, obvious and fundamental difference in a person’s life-giving potential and if my sons had this ability, I’d feel exactly the same way.
But they don’t.
So I will never be afraid to acknowledge a natural, protective paternal instinct every father should have towards his children. Differential treatment of my daughter does not come with a preferential treatment of my sons.
Until next time.