normal

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.

anonymous

I hate it when people expect woman to look “normal” like shave there legs or wear makeup and “dress up” when men don’t have to