How Do I Tell My Daughter…?

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How do I tell my daughter the difference between boys and girls?

How do I tell my daughter about sex?

How do I tell my daughter about the hierarchy of gender?

How do I tell my daughter that, from pretty much the moment of conception, her combination of chromosomes has automatically consigned her to second place?

How do I tell my daughter that some toy companies would rather she didn’t play with the toys she actually wants to play with?

How do I tell my daughter that some companies would rather she just had pink toys?
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How do I tell my daughter that she isn’t expected to be interested in engineering or science at school?

How do I tell my daughter that when she grows up, her current classmates are very much likely to earn considerably higher salaries than her?

How do I tell my daughter that she will be targeted by multi-million dollar global industries as a source of income?

How do I tell my daughter that those industries will do their best to make her feel ugly and unattractive, even though those industries depend on her (and all the girls of her age) for their success?

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How do I tell my daughter that the measure of her weight determines pretty much every future assumption made about her?

How do I tell my daughter that at every public image of the idealised woman, on almost every billboard, and every television commercial, will increase any sense of inferiority and make her feel bad about herself?

How do I tell my daughter that the way she looks is more important to some people than her academic achievements?

How do I tell my daughter that at formal gatherings such as weddings, her appearance, her weight, her possible lack of boyfriend, the amount of children she has, and her attitude towards heterosexual marriage will be discussed by other people openly to her face?

How do I tell my daughter that her choice of clothing will be scrutinised by other people for stupid and pointless reasons?

How do I tell my daughter that society expects her to one day have children, without asking for her opinion on the matter?

How do I tell my daughter that there are some men – quite a lot in fact – who believe her sole purpose is to be servile and deferential to men in all things?
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How do I tell my daughter that when she grows up, she might be intimidating to some men?

How do I tell my daughter that if she does intimidate men, some of those men will do everything they can – up to, and including verbal, physical, and sexual assault – to ensure she is made to feel that she is a lower-class citizen?

How do I tell my daughter that if in the future she rejects a man’s advances, he might describe her to his friends as “frigid”, and he might feel entitled to call her a bitch, a slut, a cunt, and a lesbian… just because she doesn’t fancy him, and because she has exercised her right to reject him?

How do I tell my daughter that although her opinions and talents matter a great deal to me, for many people they will be worthless unless she looks thin, pretty, and wears makeup?

How do I tell my daughter that those two fleshy lumps she’ll eventually grow on her chest will cause her some considerable anxiety, will be stared at whether she has covered them up or not, and invite all manner of comments she didn’t ever want to hear, whatever size they are? What’s more, how do I tell her that those fleshy lumps will be used to determine her value to some people?
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How do I tell my daughter that if she goes out in public to be sociable, and she doesn’t have a smile plastered onto her face at all times, both her acquaintances and complete strangers will come up and tell her to smile whether she wants to or not?

How do I tell my daughter that any innuendos, sexist comments, gossip about her, insinuations about her future sexual practices, comments about her tits and her arse, are just jokes and that she should get herself a sense of humour, grow up, and deal with it by herself without drawing attention to how outraged she is?

How do I tell my daughter that although she has every right to walk unmolested down the street, she must grow up to expect to be ogled, catcalled, abused and insulted in the most degrading way at any time of day?

How do I tell my daughter, that although she has every right to do so without experiencing any fear or threat, she should not walk around alone at night?

How do I tell my daughter that if she does walk around alone at night, and she is attacked, as far as society is concerned, she would be held as much responsible for it as the person who attacked her?

How do I tell my daughter that if she is sexually assaulted in any way – whether it is physical or verbal – and if she has the courage to report it to the authorities, she probably won’t be believed, and her integrity will be called into question?

How do I tell my daughter that if she is idiosyncratic, successful, forthright, outspoken, and opinionated, our society – and specifically the media – has an arsenal of methods which can be used to shut her up?
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How do I tell my daughter that the Bible says her gender is responsible for all the evil in the world, and as a result, God has punished all women to experience pain in childbirth?

How do I tell my daughter that the Bible has recommendations on how to punish her if she does not conform to fit in with an idea of society that is 2000 years out of date?

How do I tell my daughter that it’s not just the Christian religion that has an appalling record on treating women abominably, and that most religions treat women in the most shocking way imaginable?

How do I tell my daughter that in many countries, society demands that her genitals be deliberately mutilated?

How do I tell my daughter that in some countries – most of them, in fact – it is enshrined in law that she is inferior to men?

How do I tell my daughter that some people – possibly in her own home town – believe that she (even when she becomes a responsible and educated adult who has been properly trained) should not drive a car, leave her own home, operate heavy machinery, work for a living, own property, have more knowledge than men, give consent to who she has sex with, socialise with whoever she wants to, wear whatever clothes she wants, be as “ugly” or as “pretty” as she chooses to be, serve her country, make her opinions heard, teach, fight back, run a business, lead a nation, or vote in an election?

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How do I tell my daughter that in some countries, the rape of women is used as a weapon of war?

How do I tell my daughter that, just because she is female, she is more likely to be physically assaulted or even murdered by someone she loves?

How do I tell my daughter that there are some women who think she should abide by all of these rules?

How do I tell my daughter that the game has been rigged against her?

Can somebody please tell me how I, as her loving father, could tell her all of this?

Because frankly, I don’t think I should have to.

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