Dancing dads

nofairMy daughter is a performer and can’t get on stage enough. I have attended many a recital and seen more than a few ‘dancing dads’. Recital organizers will sometimes ask dancers’ dads if they want to learn an easy routine and perform it in the recital to add a bit of comedy. These acts are cute and show a dad’s involvement, cool. But, there’s always a but.

These dances operate with a man/woman binary, right away excluding families living outside of cis heteronormativity. It also sends the message that dads are the fun ones. Listen, I am totally fun. I am a fucking hoot. I get jealous that as a mom I don’t get to let loose. I am not allowed to be comfortable enough with my body to look foolish. I am expected to move gracefully and with ease. People would more likely evaluate the size of my belly before cheering me on. It is assumed that as a ‘good mother’ I am already involved, I don’t need any prodding. There is this assumption that when fathers parent it is a treat to be celebrated and rewarded. It is assumed that Dad will be goofy and mess it up, leaving a mess for Mom, which she will merrily clean up. This isn’t good messaging. Also, men dancing are supposed to be hilarious because dancing is girly and frivolous, that’s really not good messaging.

What if the dancing dads act is open to everyone? Would it be assumed to be a mom’s job? Would it add more labour for Mom and take away a socially acceptable way to join in for Dad? This issue is a symptom of gender binaries and patriarchal motherhood.

Back to how I am not allowed to be hilarious. You know, the real meat of this issue. Comedian Louis CK, an affluent white man, gets on stage, calls his kid a ‘cunt’, and is showered in approval and cash. If I did that I would not be a ‘good mother’. If I did that there would be a fucking petition going around and perhaps an awareness raising hashtag. I just want to swear and be asked to dance.

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I am a feminist parent

tumblr_mrkc8mrgr91rivkoko1_500I am happy to be raising a feminist family.

Tara Kennedy-Kline wants us to know she is not a feminist. She says this as if being a feminist is super popular and she is going against the grain. She may have been a feminist before, she writes, but this sounds impossible considering she doesn’t seem to know what feminism is.

Kennedy-Kline presents herself thinking feminists are out to make sure her two sons do not grow up to be gentlemen, opening doors and paying the full cheque.

The fact the one in five women have been sexually assaulted doesn’t bother the mother, it is that, because of this, her sons may need to be sensitive and not entitled as adults- which she can, and maybe already does, teach them. In addition to #YesAllWomen she also attacks the Hollaback! movement. Street harassment is not only a tool to let women know they need to be open to interactions with strangers or be put in their place, it can result in physical violence, or death. Telling a girl they’re beautiful after her sons have actually met the girl, isn’t going to ruin their lives. How can you guarantee that the girl you are approaching as a stranger, isn’t someone who has been sexually assaulted? Remember that silly one in five statistic? Wouldn’t you want your sons to be aware of this unintentional threatening behaviour?

She also attacks the FCKH8, mistaking it for a real feminist campaign and not a commercial that appropriates the movement to sell shirts.

She goes on to claim feminism is all about man-hating and keeping women from wanting to be lady-like. It just make me sad, really. This is yet another message misrepresenting feminism.

Feminism is about equality for all genders and sexualities– as a friend pointed out, the author assumes her sons will be cisgender and heterosexual.

Toward the end of her article it becomes clear why she is so against feminism (emphasis mine): “I also believe that there is nothing wrong with many of the gender roles that have been honored throughout history.” Feminism acknowledges that we are not on an even playing field yet, that gendered violence does exist, and the vast majority of victims are women. We are still not paid equally, and systematically kept from reaching positions of power in and out of the home. This isn’t because of quaint gender roles we should honour because of the good ‘ol days.

Earlier in the article she complains about women and girls showing parts of their body that she thinks they shouldn’t, so that was another tip that equality among genders isn’t Number 1 on her priorities list. But I’m not going to get into why a women’s bodies shouldn’t be policed. That is so common sense to me I don’t even know how to explain it.

The writers wants us to think feminism is about keeping her sons from loving unconditionally and expecting their partners to do the same. She either doesn’t know what feminism is, or wants to help sensationalize it.

Whatever the reason, she is wrong. And for anyone else who thinks feminism isn’t for men, check out the White Ribbon Campaign.

I’m a loving partner, sister, daughter, writer, cat nut and book lover, and I am a feminist.


I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com