How Daughters Help to Prove Their Daddys Are Jerks


I read this article yesterday saying that having daughters makes parents (and particularly fathers) more progressive-minded about gender equality than having sons.

The au­thors’ key find­ing is that support for policies designed to address gender eq­ui­ty is greater among par­ents with daugh­ters. This result emerges partic­ularly strongly for fa­thers. Because pa­rents invest a sig­nif­icant amount of them­selves in their chil­dren, the au­thors argue, the antic­ipated and actual struggles that offspring face, and the public policies that tackle those, mat­ter to those par­ents… The au­thors de­monstrate that people who par­ent only daugh­ters are more likely to hold fem­i­n­ist views (for example, to fa­vor affirmative action).

My initial reaction was “well duh”, but when I told AT about it, she dropped some keen insight right away:

Me: Did you hear about this blah blah blah?

AT: Oh, so, what—none of these guys had wives or girlfriends?

Me: Wait, what?

AT: You’re telling me that, in general, men don’t really think about how they feel about society treating women worse than men until after their daughters are born?

Me: [ Feels like jerk; decides not to say the next part about how this study totally dovetails with his own personal experience. ]

I can, in fact, think of several good explanations for this phenomenon. But none of them look very good for us guys.

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