Why I Am Not Raising My Daughters to be Feminists

HuffPost reported recently on a project created by photographers and partners Sham Hinchey and Marzia Messina called “Dear Daughters,” in which 22 men posed for artsy portraits with their daughters, ages eight to eleven, and chatted informally but a little awkwardly, with them about feminism. As you might expect from HuffPost, a half-hour video of the process depicts mostly “woke” grade-schoolers and hipster dads showing off their feminist consciousness for the camera without a trace of a diverse viewpoint.

In the video, fathers and daughters play a board game Hinchey and Messina invented to encourage discussion. The game featured such questions as, “What worries you about bringing up girls in a male chauvinist world?” and “Name a woman you admire” (almost all the girls named Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama) and “Name all the stereotypes you can think of about boys and girls.”

“[C]hildren of this age start asking questions regarding social issues and it is interesting to watch them process news, trying to rationalize and decipher events which in their minds are absurd or unjust,” Messina told HuffPost. Yes, but a ten-year-old isn’t likely to have the wisest or most informed perspective on what is absurd or unjust—many adults don’t have it, for that matter. At that age, children are largely parroting what they have heard from parents and other adult influences such as teachers, particularly on complex political issues such as wages and the environment.

When one parent in the video tries to explain the concept of abortion to his daughter, for example, he glosses over the ugly reality of it and declares that what the issue boils down to is, “There’s a bunch of men in a room trying to tell women, ‘If you get pregnant, you have to have that baby.’” His daughter responds, “That’s messed up.” What’s messed up is the way he steered her toward the progressive lie instead of guiding her toward the truth.

Another father says to his daughter, “What if your brothers were doing the same chores but they were getting a dollar and you were getting seventy-five cents? Because that’s basically what’s happening in the country right now.” Actually, it’s not. The wage gap fallacy has been debunked over and over again, but you would never know that from this video (not a single father in it presents a viewpoint that opposes the left’s narrative).

So it appears that from an early age these daughters are being fed assumptions that women are valued unfairly in the American workplace, that they begin life at a disadvantage on a skewed playing field, and that men want to keep them down. Whereas that certainly was true in the past or even in some other cultures today, none of it is systemically true of the United States now, nor is it an empowering message for girls; on the contrary, it plants the seeds of a victim mentality.

“Male chauvinism and feminism are not abstract concepts,” Hinchey told HuffPost. “They are issues that are most likely already at their doorstep and will most certainly be a part of their daughter’s life in the future.” But male chauvinism and feminism need not be issues for our children if we raise them properly. If we raise our boys to be chivalrous and our girls to have some self-respect and to reject the anti-male resentment that feminism stokes and exploits, their interaction will be far more harmonious than the suspicious, bitter discord that marks the current state of the sexes.

I have three daughters, ages two through seven—all under the age range of the children in the “Dear Daughters” project. Nothing in the world is more important to me than their welfare and their future. I want them to be well-educated, independent, confident and strong—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

But you don’t create strong women by indoctrinating girls, as today’s radical feminism does, to believe that they are victims of a sinister cultural force bent on enslaving them as in The Handmaid’s Tale, a feminist fantasy that has been hyped hysterically as a dire warning about the coming patriarchy in Donald Trump’s America.

As my daughters grow older, I will not teach them that as females they are oppressed, because in America, they are not. I will not teach them that they need to demand equal rights, because in America, they already have them. I will not teach them that abortion is about “my body, my choice,” because it is not. I will not teach them that they will earn less than an equally skilled man for the same work, because in America they do not. I will simply empower my girls by teaching them that they can become anything they want, because in America they can.

I will teach them not that this is a “male chauvinist world” or that all men are afflicted with “toxic masculinity,” but that there are good men and bad men, and how to tell the difference. I will teach them to defend themselves—with words, martial arts, and yes, with guns too—so that bad men will think twice about, or deeply regret, messing with them. I will teach them to find validation as productive members of society so that they don’t have to seek it by marching with a juvenile, vulgar mob in pussy hats.

I am not raising my dear daughters to be feminists, because I am not raising them to be the angry members of a Marxist victim class struggling to overcome imaginary oppression. I am raising them to be strong, responsible individuals in control of their own destiny.

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  • InklingBooks

    Quote from that video: “There’s a bunch of men in a room trying to tell women, ‘If you get pregnant, you have to have that baby.’” His daughter responds, “That’s messed up.”

    That’s easily adapted to one for boys:

    “There’s a bunch of women in a room trying to tell men, “If a woman gets pregnant, you have to pay child support for 18-26 years.” Her son responds, “That’s messed up.”

    To the credit of most men, there’s no comparable menist organization talking like that or stuffing that vile attitude into little boys heads.
    .

    • dianiline

      How about this: “There”s a bunch of women in a room saying if you get pregnant, you can kill the baby if it seems inconvenient to you.”

      “That’s messed up.”

      “There’s a bunch of women in a room saying that if a woman gets pregnant with your child and she finds it inconvenient, she can kill it. You have no say. If she doesn’t find it inconvenient, you have to pay child support for 18 years. No one cares if this is inconvenient. You have no say.”

      “That’s messed up.”