It truly is difficult to walk in someone else's shoes. Unless you happen to wear exactly the same size. Just kidding. Of course I am talking figuratively, as in, imagining what it would be like to be in someone else's situation. No matter how hard we try, we can never know exactly what life is like for someone else. So, it is not surprising that most people who take it upon themselves to fight racism are of a minority race. Most feminists are female. Most Occupy Movement folks are unemployed or struggling financially. This is all natural. Our hearts will be most moved by those causes that affect us directly. But, boy is it powerful when people take up causes that do not affect them directly or even when they are part of the cause or could be negatively affected by a change. Consider how much news time Warren Buffet has received. What wonders could happen if we could stretch ourselves to embrace causes that don't impact our lives directly? What could happen if we stood up for what was right even outside of our self-interest?
Sometimes we wouldn't even have to stretch ourselves too far. Consider what would happen if daddies everywhere united to make sure their daughters' didn't have to put up with sexism and rampant sexualization. So often as parents we have little power to protect our children. This is one time when I don't believe that is the case. As parents we can choose not to buy products that sexualize little girls. As parents we can let our children know that they can be whoever they want to be regardless of their gender. Moms and grandmas and aunts can do these things and, surely, I hope they do. But because these are "women's issues" it will be even more powerful if daddies, grandpas, and uncles take a stand too. To all the testosterone endowed out there: think about what kind of world you want your daughters or granddaughters or future daughter-in-laws to live in and then do what you can to create an environment where that kind of world can grow. It can be as simple as playing catch. Encouraging your daughter in sports, just as much as you would a son, communicates to her that she can be strong, she can compete, she can indeed do anything the boys can do. If she doesn't become a sports enthusiast that is fine, but make space for her to learn that exercise is healthy, can be fun and isn't just about making her body pretty. Give her experience that will let her know immediately that it is baloney when someone says pink and pretty is for girls and sports are for boys. Or if you are more of a handy man, buy her a set of tools, just like you would if she were a boy, and teach her how to use them. Let your daughter see you doing things outside of traditional gender roles too. Cook with her. Clean with her. And remember that how you treat your wife may impact how your daughter lets some guy treat her someday.
Then, if you really want to stretch yourself, check out this website: http://blog.pigtailpals.com/ Here you will find more food for thought. You may not agree with it all but it is worth considering. I particularly like this post http://blog.pigtailpals.com/2011/08/a-letter-to-bella-and-other-girls-with-blue-shoes/
We all have the power to change our world for the better. Sometimes we have more power if we stand up for others than if we stand up for ourselves.
Of course, I realize there are issues for parenting boys too. And yes I realize moms can play catch with their daughters. But there is only so much one can say in one blog post before some of us (namely me) run out of attention span.
So, let's wrap it up with a song. Cue music: Daddies don't let your daughters grow up to be oggled ...by cowboys? It seems like there were cowboys in there somewhere. How does that song go? ; )