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guidance, just not for making lots of rules—remember, rules and guidance are not the same thing (see my discussion above).And seriously, look back at the first meme—that’s not “guidance”, that’s petty rule-making. This idea that parents either have rules or don’t care about their kids is not at all reflected in my experience as a progressive parent surrounded by other progressive parents. Ironically, many of them are the same ones who make lots of rules for their kids, because control. More than that, I believe that trust is mutual, and that communication is a two-way street, and that the two, if given a solid foundation during a child’s early years, can carry a parent and child safely through the teen years. I made that last line bold for emphasis because I’ve never seen this nonsense idea stated so plainly before. We need to be teaching our daughters skills and putting agency in their hands rather than steamrolling their self-determination. But what I didn’t notice at the time I first wrote about these memes was that several weeks after my post on the subject the Federalist posted an article titled “3 Inadvertent Truths In Feminist ‘Rules For Dating Daughter’ T-Shirt.” The article, written by writer Mollie Hemingway, focuses on the shirt pictured above. Even a focus on protecting our daughters doesn’t work once they reach a certain age—what’s to stop a daughter whose father takes this approach from simply ditching her dad and running off with a guy, but without the tools to recognize abusive patterns or stand up for herself? Her body, her rules This approach, as you may notice, places agency in the daughter’s hands and seeks to empower her.And apparently you can’t counter that meme without someone saying “hey look, a father is in his daughter’s life, that’s scary to boyfriends! Here’s an animated discussion of some of why that is: Some feminists objected to that video on the grounds that “it’s bursting with false and blatantly sexist claims, like the ideas that men want sex more, women want marriage more, and the decline of marriage rates will destroy the world.” Ah yes, where would anyone get the idea that men generally want sex more?
You know, the whole “I’ll have to get a shotgun to keep the guys away from my daughter” meme and the “I’m not letting her date until he’s thirty” line. So just the presence of this father is a powerful, powerful message to the daughter and to those she might date.On the other hand, roughly three-quarters of propositioned males were happy to oblige such titillating proposals.This is not to say that all of us XX folks want less sex than some men, just that, you know, in general there are biological distinctions between the sexes that result in different preferences.Another of my daughter’s friends who has a single mother lives with her mother and her aunt, and sees her father regularly on weekends.Conservatives would likely characterize both of these families as “broken,” but I would rather focus on the diversity of family structures and on valuing all of the adults involved in childrearing, whether they are a child’s biological parents or not.