Let’s say you’re a dad. You have a 15-year-old daughter. Your daughter has a date for the homecoming dance with a nice, clean-cut young man. You, being a good dad who protects your minor daughter, tells the young man, “Whatever you do to my daughter, I will do to you!”
In a lighthearted demonstration that you’re a man of your word, you step up and pose for a photo in an embrace with the boy, exactly in the same position he poses with your daughter. (Remember, anything he does with your daughter, you’ll do to him.) The young man, very good-humoredly, takes it all in stride. Cute, yes?
So, knowing you’re a man of your word and that you value your minor daughter’s virtue and reputation, the young man treats your daughter respectfully. They go to the dance, have a great time, and she comes home chattering about what a nice fellow he is. All is right with the world.
Unless you’re a feminist.
You see, only a feminist would view this scenario with suspicion and disgust. How dare a father protect his minor daughter living under his roof? How dare he step in to “police” his daughter’s “private life”?
This scenario happened to the Schock family in Bangor, Wisconsin. Benjamin and Sharee Schock’s 15-year-old daughter had a date. Wrote Sharee, “My husband is a big-hearted teddy bear, so it was his way of being silly with a pinch of ‘I’m watching you, buddy.’ … We hope that above anything else this picture shows the love and protective nature of a dad with his little girl, but in a playful and not-so intimidating manner.”
She posted the photo on Facebook with the caption, “Funniest moment of Homecoming,” and it went viral. That’s when it came to the attention of a feminist writer named Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon magazine, who decided she had to “blow a gasket” at the idea of a father being protective of his daughter.
Williams, who also has a 15-year-old daughter, wasn’t so much offended at the individual scenario as with the media support the Schocks received. She found the “notion that adolescent female sexuality is something to be guarded by daddy from outside invaders is actually creepy and gross.” She continues:
It suggests that this isn’t about the Schocks any more – it’s “dads being dads,” and isn’t it cute when a father steps in to police a girl’s private life? Isn’t what goes on with the person a girl dates just a story of what one male does – or tries to do – to another male’s property? Aaaand now we’re getting very territorial and messed up. I’m sorry, does a girl get a vote in what happens in her romantic life? It’s called agency. It’s called bodily autonomy. Live it, learn it!
Dads are supposed to protect and love their children. They are also supposed to raise them so they can grow into adults who make their own decisions. But when we talk about “what you do to my daughter,” it implies that what happens in dating is something that is done to girls, who are mere passive recipients. It depicts boys as inherently predatory – and even if it’s in a jokey way, that’s insulting to them too. And that’s not really how it works, or certainly not how it should, if we’re raising both our sons and daughters to take ownership of their choices and actions. It’s definitely not something that merits widespread, legitimizing approval. And when one family’s offhand joke becomes a viral reinforcement of the old message that a girls’ sexuality is somehow a negotiation between her father and her boyfriend, it’s just not so funny any more.
Criminey, this borders on sick. What Ms. Williams carelessly ignores in her screed is the operative word GIRL. This is a minor child. This is a minor child raised and supported entirely by her parents. At this point, she doesn’t really have a “private” life. Minor children who are still entirely dependent on their parents are not autonomous, nor are they capable of full adult understanding of taking “ownership of their choices and actions.”
What does Ms. Williams say when her daughter goes on a date? “Be sure to carry condoms, dear, and don’t hesitate to invite the boy home for the night. After all, I won’t interfere in your bodily autonomy” …?
You see, for liberal permissive parents like Williams, when it comes to “empowering” girls, it always comes down to one thing: SEX. Girls are encouraged to view sex through the exact same lens as boys.
Let’s face it: Boys are “inherently predatory.” It’s the nature of testosterone, which is why it takes a man to teach a boy to control himself and not be predatory toward girls and women.
As much as feminists try to deny it, girls pin a great deal more emotion on sex than boys do. Sex is biologically linked (through the hormone oxytocin) with nurturing, emotion, love.
In her book “Unprotected,” physician and former UCLA campus psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman wrote, “Why are students inundated with information about contraception, a healthy diet, sleep hygiene, coping with stress and pressure – but not a word about the havoc that casual sex plays on young women’s emotions?”
She goes on to give grim statistics of increased depression and suicide among girls who are sexually active, then adds: “To acknowledge the negative consequences of the anything-goes, hooking-up culture would challenge the notion that women are just like men, and undermine the premise of ‘safer sex.’ And in our ultra-secular campuses, no belief comes so close as these to being sacred.”
You see, I have this little pet theory. I have a theory that girls who learn self-control do better in life than girls who don’t. I theorize that girls who learn to value their bodies do better than girls who slut around with an endless succession of random hookups and have three abortions by the time they reach their majority. I theorize that the best way to “empower” girls is to cultivate what’s between their ears, not what’s between their legs.
But Ms. Williams apparently finds ANY degree of female sexual self-control weird, freaky and unrealistic. The sad thing is, she has a 15-year-old daughter.
I would like to ask Ms. Williams what her husband has to say about the “adolescent female sexuality” of his 15-year-old daughter’s “private life.” Or is there a Mr. Williams to watch over and protect his child?
Mr. Schock’s fatherly protection of his daughter is, in the eyes of Ms. Williams, a bad thing. It’s understandable feminists would object to paternal concern. After all, if more dads behaved like Mr. Schock, their daughters would be far less likely to grow up to be feminists.
And we can’t have that, can we?
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