Look, I’m going to be honest. Until I had daughters, I didn’t really think about the world like it deserves to be thought about. I am guy. I’m white. I live in America. It should go without saying that life has been pretty charmed for me.
I mean, I dunno, sometimes I feel overly conspicuous when I’m at a playground with my kids like I need to go out of my way to prove my non-pedophilia to the other parents.
And when I run, if I see someone of the female persuasion approaching me, I feel obligated to cross over to the other side so they don’t think I’m an undercover rapist.
These are the kinds of things I have to “contend” with. And I kind of passively assumed that everybody else had the same sort of range of things they contended with.
I know. Trust me, I know how wonderfully naive and self-centered that seems. But it’s true. This is how I thought about things. I felt pretty sure that if everyone stayed cool and didn’t cause trouble that most things would work out.
Until I had daughters though, I didn’t realize that this wasn’t at all the case. I didn’t realize that the world wasn’t really a forgiving place for all those who don’t share in my demographic.
I didn’t realize that women earn less money just because they aren’t men.
I didn’t realize that scholastic equality was even a thing to worry about and I certainly had no idea that even the most visible scholarship program for women doesn’t even really give all that much to women.
Until I had daughters, I didn’t realize that most people’s default reaction (and sadly mine too) was to be suspicious of any woman making a claim of assault or harassment.
I didn’t realize that women have been acceptably marginalized in church.
Like be serious about that for a second. Isn’t it strange how there’s still this weird disconnect about the role of a woman in the Church? It’s 2014. We’ve decoded the human genome and we are putting machines on other planets.
Both of these things are infinitely more complicated and confusing than a church service but yet we have no firm grasp or consensus on what a woman’s role in the Church should be? Isn’t that insane? It’s such a vestige of tradition that now, even though conceptually it is baldly illogical, the idea to challenge it feels even more illogical. Absolute insanity.
I didn’t realize that it would take one of the actors from the most successful film franchise of my generation (that concerned wizarding and muggles no less) to bring up the idea of gender equality at the UN for it to get a little traction. Not much. But a little.
If this comes across as a sermon, my apologies. That’s not really my bag and there are greater minds than me with more resonant words that could speak with an infinite amount of more intelligence about this than I could.
I think I mean this more as a public epiphany. I’m not brilliant, but I’m not an idiot either. And I’m just now realizing what the world is like.
Is it because I am now the father to two wonderful little girls? Yes. Would I have had this epiphany if instead of two girls and a boy, I had three boys? Probably not.
The point is, it took me this long. It took me becoming a parent and becoming a parent to girls to realize all of these things and more. How long will it take others?
How long until, like me, they realize that they didn’t realize what the world was like?