By Bahar Erdogan
“Oh yes I have children. But that daughter? Her eyes… If she points those eyes at me.. asks for something? I cannot do anything else but say only yes to her – I’d give her anything. Really anything! That little girl, breaks my heart.”
Out of 10 men I ask, 8 to 9 will have a very similar answer. The new generation of progressive men having daughters are melting by the word “daughter”. They are ready to gift her the world, but do not underestimate any of them – men do overprotect their daughters from literally every creature in the universe too. Hearing her name, a cry, or that sweet voice of hers calling for ‘daaaaddy’ will make the entire universe stand still for him.
Men increasingly express their desire for a female child. To hold a beautiful girl and protect her.. that seems to be one of the ultimate dreams men have. Women representing half the world’s population (as all of us must have internalised this fact by now) and the #HeforShe movement picking up, demographics of women outweighing men could increase. Men and our fathers are our biggest supporters and fans in the aim to succeed life’s challenges.
The Internet era has seen a huge shift of parental care too. Researchers from Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution in the US, found in a survey of head teachers by the GSA that one in four heads believe fathers are concerned by the influence media and the culture of celebrity are having on their daughters, with both parents now taking an equal interest in their daughters’ education and try harder to shield them from undesirable influences.
My father used to repeat year after year “Okulunu bitir sonra hayatta istediğini yapmakta özgürsün.” Now reading that phrase surely sounded equal to something like gibberish to you. But at the beginning being annoyed, it turned to be a very valuable phrase. When translating it from Turkish (what you read was not actually gibberish), the phrase says: “Once you have finished your education, you are free to do anything you please with your life.”
Moving out from the house is not an easy act from where I come. It is a custom that men in Turkey support their daughters throughout their lives till the day they get married (yes! even if that means they marry at the age of 40 or 50).
Having moved across the globe without a single objection of my father is an open declaration: “You’re my daughter, I have faith in you and I support you with your decision!” That’s a big thing! It also means that he supports women advancement and places full trust in my capabilities.
One has to understand: this is not a common practice in the Middle Eastern culture and only the “big minds” will push through walls and show the world the meaning of #HeforShe.
Good news is, according to a research done by sociologists Emily Shafer and Neil Malhotra, men who have daughters shift in their attitudes and adhere less to traditional gender roles.
I on my part have faith to be surrounded by men, who:
- Treat women around them equally
- Trust in their choices and decisions
- Listen to their opinion and want to think from their perspective to get a different view
- Share responsibilities in household (household is not the job of women anymore)
- Raise children together, children need their fathers too (I support paternity leave)
- Share thoughts, communicate at all times (communication is the key to understand the opposite sex – and the world!)
I also believe in the responsibilities that we women have toward a successful communications basis with men. In order to succeed I understand that:
- Men are human (might sound unbelievable to some) and give full efforts in the science of “understanding women”
- Women have to be supportive (financially too – the world has changed and so have life standards)
- Men can be emotional at times and go through phases of stress (in different ways than women) – we need to give space
Having said that why not having a good read and getting some tips from John Gerzema, who wrote “The Athena Doctrine – How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future”. It looks at how feminine values can solve our toughest problems and build a more prosperous future. He found out that “among 64,000 people surveyed in thirteen nations, two thirds feel the world would be a better place if men thought more like women.” Let’s encourage all men around us to place themselves in our shoes and see subjects from our perspective – it does only good.. (we just learnt)
That means it is crucial too, to have all those amazing strong women around that you accept as role models – especially within the family and feel they can raise you to stand your own ground. Those are your #SheforShe(s). From those amazing women, we learn values that will build our human relations and they make you feel good about yourself and most importantly that you can be and do whatever you want to be or do.
I discovered that life becomes so much more enjoyable and easier when one is a content woman. Now don’t ask me how to make that happen. You have to figure it out yourself– it’s an entire process and topic itself. I on my part can say: it helps making the right choices I stand up for (no regrets, but experiences that are meant to happen), definitely being encouraged by my father to walk the path of my own life with the mistakes I make and learn from (as the saying goes: make mistakes, but learn from them).
Growing up is a lifelong process, but dad’s make sure you’re never grown up enough… you simply do not forget that you’re daddy’s little girls..
Mine always ensures it with his thoughtful comments: “It is almost 11 (whereas the clock will show 10:15pm – and I see myself turning my head to the big round clock, analysing those two pointers.. wondering how he is reading almost 11 out of quarter past ten?)! You should get yourself ready for sleep. Otherwise you won’t wake up tomorrow.” For school? Dads…