Fathership, Husbandry and the women in my life

So I read a great list of Male Privileges yesterday after a pointer from Amber Rhea and it got me thinking about my relationships with both my wife and my daughter, the two most important females in my life.

First off, I lamented the fact that Jenn and I do virtually identical jobs for the same company and I’m paid a good deal better. Some of it is due to tenure, some of it is due to old rules versus new rules, but a good deal of it is patently unfair and I hate that. [Sidebar: while I think I’m the more innovative thinker of the two of us, in terms of plain getting things done, Jenn wins hands down. She’s the most organized, prepared project manager/producer, bar none. Don’t believe this bracketed love-fest, read a previous iteration.]

Next, I thought about the great joy and pride I get when I see my daughter. Sure, there’s the usual stuff about how smart she is or how pretty she is and all that other stereotypical parental nonsense.

But honestly, I like her just as much as I love her. It’s a very slight differentiation that most people don’t consider, but if she weren’t my daughter, I’d want her as my friend. She’s just cool and unique and her own woman, even if she is only 3, and I respect and admire that.

What got me down the most about the privilege list was how much society pressures woman and puts them in these binds while letting guys off the hook. To be fair, I think guys face a different kind of pressure to live up to a singular concept of masculinity, whereas women can be anything, but must prove their worth at everything. (Does that make sense? I’m just trying to say that what passes for “options” for women just means they have to be not just a Jacqueline of all Trades, but a mistress of them. I’ve probably muddied the waters even more.)

Anyhow, all the privilege talk got me to thinking how great it is to have these two great women in my life. I try every day to work with them as a partner and a teacher, respectively, and I do my part not to play on my own privileges but lift all of us up together.

In any event, I’m just glad that they’re part of my life and that I hope things change in the future. I’m doing my part and I know they are too.

We can’t all be like the asshole dads in the Atlanta Parent Magazine poll (not online) where 2/3 of the fathers said they didn’t think they had an effect on their daughters’ lives. What horseshit. If you have a voice and a relationship with your daughter you can influence her to be great and do wonderful things.

Guh!

My mind is just everywhere on this whole topic, but I just wanted to say the women are great, and I mean that in a far broader (ha!) sense than just sexually or romantically. My two best friends, closest relatives and greatest individuals I know are women and I hope they see true equality and the erosion of these male privileges in their lifetime.

This diatribe is too long, so here’s John Mayer’s Daughters, just for more drivel:

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
but she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Ooh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from
A woman’s good, good heart

On behalf of every man
looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too.

5 thoughts on “Fathership, Husbandry and the women in my life

  1. Thanks for the shout-out and the very well-written, thoughtful post! And, it’s refreshing to read this, because I’ve gotten emails today from a few guys complaining about the list and how it’s not true or not fair. (As I did in the post, I’ve reminded them to revisit #45 on the list.) But it’s my sincere hope that as there continue to be more men out there that espouse beliefs similar to what you’ve written here, things will improve. Sometimes I get discouraged, because in a lot of ways things seems to be going in the opposite direction, but hope springs eternal, ya know?

    I did have one thing in particular I wanted to point out, as well, that I don’t fully agree with:

    I think guys face a different kind of pressure to live up to a singular concept of masculinity, whereas women can be anything, but must prove their worth at everything. (Does that make sense? I’m just trying to say that what passes for “options” for women just means they have to be not just a Jacqueline of all Trades, but a mistress of them. I’ve probably muddied the waters even more.)

    I get the point you are trying to make here – there is def. a certain “ideal” of masculinity that places a great deal of unfair pressure on men to conform to it. And I also agree w/ your point that women are held to a higher standard in many cases in whatever they pursue. However, all options are certainly not “equal” for women. Excelling as a stay at home mom, or as a corporate executive, are widely viewed as acceptable, but excelling as (for example) a sex worker? Not so much. And, of course, talk to the Religious Right and they’ll cast that same eye of disapproval on the successful (though still comparatively underpaid) corporate executive.

  2. Yeah, I agree that some feminine roles are definitely more desirable from a societal standpoint.

    In the Miller household, however, we (my wife Jenn and I) and our children (just one right now, but plans for more) are held to one standard: happiness. If your career/profession/role makes you fulfilled and happy, good for you.

  3. In the Miller household, however, we (my wife Jenn and I) and our children (just one right now, but plans for more) are held to one standard: happiness. If your career/profession/role makes you fulfilled and happy, good for you.

    If there is going to be any kind of universal standard, I think that should be it!

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