Parenting is hard for every generation, but having a baby in 2019 is weighted with so many expectations. For instance, dismantling the patriarchy. A tall order for a mom or dad, but it starts with little things, like teaching your kids to defy gender roles or something.
Luckily, there are a lot of people with opinions on how best to raise young men and women into fully actualized human beings who respect each other and love themselves. There are also a lot of people mocking them, like writer Elizabeth Bruenig did to this dad who is agonizing over calling his 20-month-old “pretty” and “cute” and other markers relating to the physical.
He feels bad that he is focusing on his kid’s “physique” which is a weird word choice. Bruenig screenshot his thoughts and commented about them on Twitter, writing, “Think you can probably take a chill pill on this one.”
think you can probably take a chill pill on this one pic.twitter.com/RYUKGf3les— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) September 3, 2019
This screenshot is from a post titled “I’ve stopped calling my daughter pretty and cute” on the subreddit r/TwoXChromosomes. Posts on this sub are generally from the perspective of women and generally are meant to be entirely sincere and address serious subjects around gender.
Whatever you think of the content, the following is actually only remarkable because it’s written by a dude:
I’m a father of a 20 month old girl and she is incredible in a bar amount of ways, like pretty much any parent will tell you of course.
However, recently I’ve found myself doing something that kind of upsets me: I’m catching myself calling her “pretty”, “cute”, and other words that solely focus on her physique.
It really bothers me, because I never thought of myself as a patriarchal man. I’m am avid supporter of equal rights and I always believed that I was not part of the problem.
Well… I am. And it’s engrained in my very fabric apparently and it legit scares me.
I need to change, so I will: my daughter is incredibly intelligent, smart, clever, funny, caring, loving, cool, and so many more things, so why don’t I tell her that!? Instead of constantly saying how beautiful she is (she sure is, and I will enforce that too, but it shouldn’t be the main focus).
Just needed to get this off my chest, and I hope a lot of future dad’s will also actively compliment their daughters on all the other amazing things they are!
The post took off, so he later added an update:
Edit: I can’t reply to everyone, but some people are much better at putting into words what I meant. Complimenting them in things they pursue, or show an interest in, or work for, is what I mean.
Also, this post bright out quite some nasty sentiments. I’m sorry if you feel like this post is “wrong” in some way, I guess we’re all entitled to our opinions.
I actually sympathize with this dude. He is right that focusing on a little girl’s looks can have a negative affect over time, and maybe he’s concerned about breaking the habit before she can actually understand what he is saying.
I also think new parents get a little wacked out from lack of sleep and anxiety over keeping an animated bread loaf alive. I remember my BFF reprimanding me for calling her baby girl a “princess”—she was only one week old and as aware of the world as a sea slug, but my friend was worried about gender roles, too. She also hadn’t slept in eight days.
Most people were less compassionate:
same— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) September 3, 2019
i call my baby beautiful and perfect all day, and yeah, i don't conceive of them as primarily concerning her body shape or anything— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) September 4, 2019
Yes of course! But at 20 months old...usually they're mostly just cute 🙂— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) September 3, 2019
fella needs to loosen up— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) September 3, 2019
This is perhaps a reasonable concern after she is reliably using a real toilet
— ?larry? (@LarryGoosetrain) September 4, 2019
i call my son cute all the time but more often i call him “booger” and “poo butt”
— Alex Yablon (@AlexYablon) September 3, 2019
I call my daughter champ boss bubba and Rex to really drive home the point she can do/be anything
— brogan broback (@dubgeez) September 3, 2019
— Andy Haz Tweets (@Txtchguy) September 3, 2019
Keep being you, dad! Better to have someone who cares too much. Maybe?