Your Daughter

Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful man. I’m thirteen, and my father has a ‘man cave.’ I don’t feel welcome in there, not because of the name, but because he keeps erotic images of women on the wall. I remember, one is of a girl in a tight Peter Pan outfit with a bow, another of a woman with a cat tattooed along her back, and the third of a woman splayed out on the hood of a blue-print like car. I would pretend not to see these images when I was in there with them, or even stand in the doorway if I could to avoid them altogether. It was normal for my father, a married man with a daughter, to have these things, he was a man after all! That’s what I told myself, until I realized I was normalizing the sexualization and dehumanization of women. Her body was the same as mine at its core, and if my father couldn’t respect her, then how could he respect me? I decided to talk to him about it. It came up rather suddenly, I just asked, ‘Why do you have pictures of women like that?’ And he laughed it off, ‘They’re album covers,’ he said. I couldn’t help but notice only one of them seemed the right size and shape for that, and that there weren’t any others that didn’t depict partially naked women, so I asked, ‘would you want a guy I was talking to to have pictures of women like that in his room?’ He said no, and chuckled again, joking that it was a double standard. I left, and shed a few tears on the way to my room. I thought he would take me seriously, or be embarrassed, but for some reason I was the one who was ashamed. But I quickly realized that i shouldn’t be. I refused to normalize this, to pass over it and say ‘boys will be boys,’ because men should be men. I didn’t think he was going to change anything the way he treated it, but I knew that speaking up and saying something meant that I was part of a solution that could benefit my daughters one day. It felt good to be part of a change. I walked in that ‘man cave’ the next day and the images were gone. Who knows where he put them, but my father, a cisgendered, 56 year old white man was able to admit that he did something wrong to a thirteen year old girl. Neither one of us said anything about their disappearance, so I’ll say it here. I just wanted to share that it is possible for ANYONE to make something change by bringing it to the light, and explaining that it shouldn’t be normal. No young girl should feel unwelcome anywhere in their home, or worry about the sexualization of women by their own family. Because maybe looking at women in this way isn’t harmful. But does that change if it’s your mother? How about your sister? What if it’s your very own daughter? Perhaps this problem isn’t nearly as urgent as others discussed on this website, but I just want to say that it is possible, for any woman out there, to change something sexist if you just have the courage to say something, whether you’re 13 or 30.


I was very young, 7 or 8 (I do not really remember). I had always had a great relationship with my dad. We went swimming one day together. I was in the pool and he pulled up my bikini top and later pulled down my bikini pants. I thought it was a joke. I laughed but I also felt so angry. It was only until recently when I realised that it was sexual assault. He has also on multiple occasions, watched me get changed in my bedroom. I’m never going to tell anyone. I’m embarrassed and everyone thinks he is a nice man. I’m scared he will rape me when I’m older. I am 15 now and everyone is forcing me to have a relationship with him, they don’t understand. I will never tell anyone because it’s not that much of a big deal, it was only a small thing.


My dad has a rule that my boyfriend isn’t allowed to go upstairs when he comes over. This is mainly due to the fact that both he and my mother find it disrespectful. This isn’t something I disagree with and I completely respect this decision as I know that it is their house and I should comply with the expectations that they set. However the one thing that continues to upset me beyond belief is the fact that my brother and his girlfriend are allowed upstairs freely. His girlfriend is allowed to spend time cuddling with him in his bed, they take naps together, she changes in his room, and she’s even allowed to sleep over in his bed. I’ve brought this up to my parents and told them how they never punish my brother for breaking the rules however I was told by my father that life is unfair and because I’m a girl that I can’t go upstairs with my boyfriend. This makes me feel like I’m valued less within my own home. My own mother agrees with me in the belief that no one, including my brother and his girlfriend should be allowed upstairs together however my dad has stated in response that he is the king of this house and life is unfair. I’ve tried telling him calmly, we’ve even broken out into huge arguments about this however nothing changes. It saddens me as I feel like my own care for my father is changing however I just don’t feel that he respects me as a person because of this. It feels like I am less valued than my brother and that I can’t be free to the same standards and respect that my brother gets within my family. I guess at this point all I have to look forward to is when I finish school and can move out, but at this point it seems like that will take ages.


As a 31 year old woman, I just tried to tell my Dad about some of the reproductive problems I have been experiencing over the last year. After finally seeing a specialist I thought it was time to share the problem, as after months of pain and years of issues it is looking like Endometriosis. He didn’t even turn down the TV to hear it or look at me, let alone offer sympathy. He simply asked, and have you been diagnosed? And was immediately dismissive when I explained the risk of making the condition worse that comes with keyhole surgery required to do this. And when I explained that the only offer of treatment is the birth control pill he again dismissively said ‘lots of women take that and they are fine.’ Women need to start speaking out about issues and side effects of the pill, as we desperately need to find other ways of treating Endometriosis. I would argue that we are still discouraged from openly discussing our reproductive health and subjects periods are still so stigmatised to the point that Fathers can’t even comfort their daughters. If we don’t speak about how unfair it still is that birth control is seen as a female responsibility or how awful the symptoms of the pill really are then society will not change. There will continue to be Dad’s who mansplain the pill to their 31 year old daughters, opinions based on no evidence in particular. It brought back a really vivid memory of a Saturday when I was about fourteen when he decided to have a go at me for staying home all day, I was having my period and I didn’t feel like leaving the house because it was so painful and heavy. He really became aggressive so I just told him that I had my period and to lay off, he went silent, no sympathy, no apology, because that would be him admitting he had done something wrong. I have been repairing the damage caused by his sexist attitude my entire life and can only really now recognise it defend myself when it occurs. Men with daughters need to try harder, no matter what age they are. Medicine needs to recognise that the pill is not a suitable long term treatment for a chronic illness. Endometriosis is as common as diabetes and because it actually makes women infertile, this is an issue society is facing as a whole, not just a ‘women’s problem’.


I was walking home from the supermarket on Sunday afternoon. I was almost at my flat when an estate-type car drove past slowly. I looked up when I heard a child’s voice shout “sexy” at me to see a boy of no more than 7 holding my eye contact and “suggestively” kissing the air in my direction. The driver and the only other passenger in the car, I presume his father, carried on driving. I watched them drive away, jaw hanging open.

Alice <3

So, me my brother and my dad would always go see the new marvels movies, its our tradition, but when wonder woman came out and i expected to go i asked my dad and he told me “no alice, thats a womans movie” and that. HMM i couldnt believe my dad would say that to me, i am already going through alot of shit and now hes sexist to his teenage daughter, like what type of dad would do that.


When I was 14 I was traveling down on the train with a friend to visit my dad in London. When I arrived he was shocked that we hadn’t received “unwanted attention”, as we were wearing shorts and t shirts, and he considered out shorts to be too short. I felt very embarrassed as I hadn’t even considered the possibility of being sexualized, but it seemed as though that’s how he viewed it or else why would he have said it? Since then he has asked and made sure I plan to wear clothing that offers more coverage for journeys, as though it’s my responsibility to avoid harassment. He also, when discussing other women he sees wearing shorts whom he finds provocative, mentions the incident again, saying they are similar to the ones I wore on the train journey, where I was lucky to have made it the whole way without any trouble. It makes me feel disgusted he talks about other women this way, and also disgusted that he compares them to myself at 14


I love my dad and have always felt supported by him so I was very saddened to hear him calmly explain to me recently that the reason women don’t play snooker is because “our arms don’t move like mens and our boobs would get in the way”. I tried to explain to him it was due to ingrained sexism preventing women feeling comfortable entering snooker clubs, leaning over tables to be potentially leered at and the burden of history of a sport that originated in gentlemens clubs. He just scoffed at me. My mum was thrown out of a pub in the 1970’s for refusing to stop playing pool with a female friend.


Whenever I cook or clean or do something traditionally ‘homely’ my dad will say to me “You’ll make a lovely wife for a man someday”. This pisses me off on two accounts, the first being that as a woman it is not my job to cook and clean for a man, it’s for my own happiness/comfort/not wanting to live in a shit hole. The second account is that at as a bisexual who prefers female I don’t even necessarily want a man!


I decided recently to cut my hair short and dye it an unusual colour. My dad and grandparents and that side of the family didn’t take any kind of offence to the fact I was bleaching and damaging my hair and dyeing it a crazy colour, but their problem was with the fact that it was short, because it wouldn’t make me look as feminine. I love my short hair, and I frankly do not care about how “feminine” I do or don’t look, and am glad it’s been cut, because it’s sure better for me than long hair.