By: Eveline Lynch
I want you to know that I think you are very strong. I see that you work hard for your family because you want the best for my siblings and I. You should know that it hasn’t gone unnoticed. I know that you, more often than not, mean well with the ideals that you teach us. I want you to know that those ideals have led me to be the person I am today- motivated, goal oriented. But also weak and constantly unsure of myself. This is the only way I could ever imagine expressing myself to you because my respect for you has turned into fear. I no longer see a father that I can hug and vent to, but a man that I must hide my feelings and thoughts from for fear that they will be ripped apart by your relentless views.
I’m scared of you because I’m scared of what you are teaching my brothers. You are teaching them that women are weak with comments like, “You need a girl to help you with that?” and, “Stop being such a pussy.” This tells them that, not only are women weak, but you should never attempt to be like them… like me. You are teaching them that women are fragile and that men are above us. You are simultaneously telling me that I’m not meant to be strong, but weak and codependent. The irony here is that, while you’re telling me to work hard to support myself and constantly pushing me to constantly be the best, you are telling me that I’m not strong enough to be the best.
When I react to what you say, you tell me that I need to “stop being so serious” or that I’m going to grow up being an asshole because I constantly desire political correctness. You say that that is just how life is and I have to deal with it. You’re not understanding that you are my father. You aren’t supposed to reflect a fucked up society where women are ridiculed for being women and men must be a certain type of way to be “real” men. My hatred for sexism isn’t a desire to be politically correct. My hatred for sexism is my desire to be viewed as equal to men and my desire for my brothers to show emotion without it being mistaken as weak or “girly”.
I am not weak. My brothers are not weak. Dad, you are weak. To attack your children for expressing themselves and standing up for what they believe shows that you are terrified or being wrong. To tell me that I need to stop judging you for spewing sexist comments while also judging me for standing up for myself highlights the holes in your morals. To tell me that I need to work my hardest while constantly putting me down because of my gender shows that you are a bully.
Tears are pouring out of my eyes as I write this. Not only because I’m emotionally exhausted, but also because this is the first time I’ve been able to honestly tell you how I feel without backlash. I feel like I’ve finally been given a chance express my true feelings. However, it breaks my heart to know that you will never read this because it’s on “some feminist blog” that I know you have no interest in. It’s funny because I think this is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of, and you don’t give a shit. I will never tell you these things in person because I will never have the strength to ruin my chances of having the relationship with my father that I have wished for my whole life. I will never have the strength to tell you this because I no longer view you as a dad that loves me, but the father that I fear.