"You have all these girls being told how capable they are and how smart they can be. But meanwhile, nobody told all these dick-head boys. They grew up to be men."
RYAN ON RAISING HIS TWO DAUGHTERS (11, 9)
PORTLAND, OREGON | USA
Being a good guy
I don't think I was ever like, "here's how I think about feminism." I think it was just sort of considering things that I hadn't considered. I mean you can read as much as you want, you know, as a guy you can think you're doing good things. You think you're a smart and a good guy and understanding what other people are going through. No, some of that you just can't experience and you can't expect to experience all of it if you're not actually in those shoes. And so when you have those shoes in your house, you can’t help but notice.
The word feminism changed as I became an adult and then having kids of any gender, you kind of start to see the world through their eyes. For me, having girls, I've definitely seen things differently now and I think, society at large is obviously going through some different shifts. But I think having girls definitely has helped me see it through their eyes. I don't think we ever really used the word at home, I think we pretty actively talk about things related to that, whether it's kind of kitschy girl power or "girls can do anything" and "here are some great women" and this kind of stuff.
When it hit home
This to me was the most jarring thing. And this is maybe when it started for me. Children’s books. I can't think of any good examples right now, but I just know that looking back through some of these old like Caldecott award winner books, whether it's something with sort of weird racist stuff in there or some gender roles stuff, you're reading this to your kid and you realize like, wait, I never noticed that or I never knew that it said that. It was really kind of explicit right here, and I don't necessarily agree with that. I found myself really just seeing some of these books differently and being like, fuck that. I think there were certain books that jarred me because they're hearing it through your voice, right? It was literally my voice telling her that sort of stuff and I felt responsible.
I was sort of conflicted on this notion of do you actively teach a kid about the fact that society at large, maybe not in this household, but society at large, doesn't see girls and women as equals? And generally you're not expected to do certain things? And so I struggled with that a little bit like, hang on, does it makes a lot more sense to shelter them from that? Why taint their brain with that?
It’s a man’s world
I read this in a quote from somebody recently, like a tweet or something where it was something about how the big failing of the feminist movement of the sixties, seventies, whatever it was, was that it only focused on the girls. You have all these girls getting into squads and learning about how important, how capable they are and how smart they can be. But meanwhile, nobody told all these dick-head boys. They grew up to be men.
You'll see a ton of girls and women that have these kind of great insights that have been passed on or sort of being talked about more openly amongst themselves. And then on the other side just fucking blank slate or thinking that's ridiculous. Whereas if even half of those insights and education was sort of imparted on those guys, I think you'd see it. And it's happening, right? It's happening now. Maybe it's through sort of sudden explosions. You know, the whole James Brown, it's a man's world isn't a fucking joke, I get it.