Friday, October 29, 2010

Fatherhood Friday: Dads of Daughters

Fatherhood Friday at Dad BlogsHere are a few articles and links more or less related to fatherhood that have come my way via the Twitterverse this past week.  These are more relevant if you are a parent of a daughter or daughters.

Let's start on a light note!  I'm not a huge fan of the show (though in general I love Shatner), but this blog and Twitter feed make me laugh on a pretty regular basis.  This dad is hilarious in ways a dad is only allowed to be after his kids are grown: completely filthy and completely honest.

I think I breathed an audible sigh of relief when I read this article.  Here's my favorite part:

As with many things in medicine, things change, and this article concludes that it is no longer necessary for most adolescents to undergo a routine pelvic exam.  The first Pap smear is now recommended to be performed at 21 years of age.   Furthermore, an internal exam is no longer required to begin an adolescent on oral contraceptive therapy.  This has just recently become the recommendation.
Third, we head to the Bible Belt for an article about how well abstinence-only sex-education is working (here's a hint: it's not).  I want everyone to remember that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been teaching abstinence-only sex-ed for thousands of years.  It has never worked.  If you want proof, just open your Bible to Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  Any time you read a "law" about what to do when men and women have sex outside of marriage, that means that it happened and the court had to rule on it.  Nowadays, absent the penalties of death, stoning, being forced to marry your rapist, being disowned by your family, being ostracized from your community, etc., abstinence-only sex-ed has no teeth and is ineffective.  Dads, I know it is tough to even think about the fact that your daughter is going to have sex some day, but please don't add to the risk of teen pregnancy by refusing to teach your daughter about birth control and safe sex in addition to making good decisions about her body and encouraging her to wait until she is old enough to make a good decision for herself. 

And now we have the troubling story of a high school cheerleader who refused to cheer the name of the basketball player who sexually assaulted her.  The courts actually ruled that as a cheerleader, she was required to cheer for him.  Unbelievable.  Here's the article about her and her father, who stands with her no matter what.  All parents need to be their kids' advocates, but fathers of daughters have a special role.  Even some conservatives become allies with women in the struggles against sex discrimination and sexual assault because they experience these things in a new way through the lives of their daughters.

Unfortunately, the realities of gender discrimination don't always ping men's radars.  Here we encounter a candidate for Congress who appears to be ignorant of the realities of gender discrimination.  A friend of mine recently told me that "in this country we have equal opportunity, not equal results."  We were discussing poverty issues in that case and the increasing disparity in income between the highest earners and the rest of the country.  However, while we have equal opportunity as a matter of principle, not all of us enjoy it as a matter of fact.  I could point to any number of relevant facts that show that women still do not enjoy equality with men.  That someone running for Congress is ignorant of the gender-discrimination which exists in this country is evidence enough for me.

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