Everyone and their sister seem to love this Huffington Post blog post by Kelly M. Flanagan, a clinical psychologist. where Dr. Flanagan tells his four-year old daughter that she’s worth so much more than any makeup ad will let on. I mean yes, that’s a good message because yes she is worth more than that. But Dr. Flanagan lost me when he said that when you have a daughter you realize she’s just as strong and passionate as any man.
Really?! He seriously never realized that before he had a daughter?! If he is married to/partnered with a woman, he really didn’t recognize the inherent value in the person he committed his life to?
I mean I know there are some men who have daughters and still don’t see girls or women as equal human beings. And that really sucks. But it also sucks that many men don’t realize that women are people too until they have daughters. And to add to that is the fact some of these men can then put out the fact that they once thought of women as less than until they had a daughter and then not acknowledge how wrong that was/is and perhaps apologize for it or show some sign of embarrassment. Because the fact that it takes having a daughter to realize women are people is a big part of the problem too. I mean like for real, that lack of acknowledgement and lack of awareness that it wasn’t okay to see girls as less than – well, that is male privilege in a nutshell.
To me, this just goes back to the issue of women only being as important as to how they relate to men, especially as the children of men. So what would happen if Dr. Flanagan had never had a daughter? Would he continue to go on thinking women and girls don’t have as much strength or drive as men? And mind you, this guy is a psychologist, someone who likely works with at least some women and/or girls and his role in their lives is to support them and help them increase their self-esteems.
And if he does have a son, now or later, will he let him know that his sister and girls in general are just as good? Will he send implicit and explicit messages to his son to think better of women than society does? So that his son won’t need to have a daughter to understand that women are equal to men? And if he has a female partner, will he consult her and ask her advice on raising a daughter? Or will he just decide he knows best and doesn’t need to consult someone with the lived experience so they together can send a unified, equal message to all their children?
We need for men to realize that it’s not enough to see women as equals only once they have a daughter or some other important female in their lives. And for f- sake, they need to at least acknowledge that it wasn’t okay for them to have thought this in the first place.