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Can Fathers (Males) Truly Love and Respect Their Daughters (Females) Under the Patriarchy?

May 23, 2007
Supposedly Oprah’s father is writing a tell all book. Although I think Oprah is a capitalist and promotes materialism she is still a woman and it bothers me that she cannot trust her own father. I have watched a few videos, interviews, her diet tape and a few of her shows, I am convinced that she is financially supporting her father in some way. Actually, I think it was on Biography Channel or A&E intimate portrait where I saw interviews from her mother and father owning up to Oprah’s generosity. In one interview, her Godmother was living in the smaller house behind her larger house and as far as I saw, she was not in want of anything. There is nothing more to be said about Oprah that is not already public knowledge. It is public knowledge that she had a baby at age fourteen. It is public knowledge that she was somewhat wild. She has admitted to having bouts of promiscuity and doing drugs. Unless she murdered the infant and the grandfather wants to clear his conscience before he dies, I do not see what he needs to say in a tell all fashion about Oprah. Hypothetically, even if Oprah did perhaps caused the death of her child, it was over forty years ago. Any penitence for that incident has long been paid for already. Unless of course, Oprah is pure evil, which I think is highly unlikely. After I read the blurb about Oprah’s father today it weighed on my mind for some time. Attempting to dismiss it, I told myself that I do not even know these people so why let it bother me. The theme that stayed with me was how this act seems so much like a betrayal. Why would a father betray a daughter? Could it be because men are conditioned to hate women, including their female blood relatives? I would think to indiscriminately discriminate would be a difficult task, a task that one must be conscious of in order to accomplish. However, if he is not conscious of needing to indiscriminately discriminate then he would more than likely discriminate against the whole group reflexively.

The woman whose son I cared for for almost two years father hated women and in turn I feel hated her. Every female was a slut or whore and if he could not crammed her into one of the two categories she was a “femi-nazi-dyke.” In the patriarchal sense of the word, his daughter did in fact grow up to be a slut. Meaning, she had (maybe has, I am no longer in the loop) promiscuous sex and felt ashamed about it afterwards (and she is a closet drinker before sex), thereby that shame allows her father to control and manipulate her. I believe he wanted to raise her into a patriarchal slut. Because, if his own daughter were a slut it would prove his ideology right,– that all women are sluts (or whores). If he being the anit-slut man that he is could not prevent his own daughter from becoming a slut then he must reason that women are simply born to be sluts. If this is in fact the case, proven by whatever professional observation could prove it, then how could she ever trust that he has her best interest in mind?

I do not have very many memories of interacting with my father, but the few I do in hindsight illustrates how he perhaps assigned me the role of slut before I could opt out or actually become one. One afternoon I was standing on the corner of our block, something that we, the neighborhood children had done for the preceding ten years. The corner was only three houses away from ours. Whatever kid made it outside first after homework or chores would go to the corner, then slowly other children would see who was standing there and join in. This was before our area became infested with crack-cocaine. After a small group was formed, we would find someone’s yard free from a front yard chain link fence and who were either not home or did not mind us being there and do cartwheels, talk, laugh or whatever. On this afternoon I was the first person on the corner. I think I was fifteen or maybe sixteen years old. My father came driving up with one of his friends, Shorty. I did not like Shorty. He never did anything physical to me but he was always so damn arrogant, condescending, rude and acted as if he was doing my father a favor by being his friend. My father did not see him this way but I did. He helped my father with the new cabinets they built for our kitchen. As they drove by, I waved at my father. Next thing I know after he parked the car he charged toward me. He startled me because I did not know what was wrong. He demanded that I come home at once or get off the corner. I told him I was waiting for Robert, Annette, and Nita. He was not hearing it, he told me to wait in the yard. He kept emphasizing the corner, the corner, his daughter will not stand on the corner, as if there was something wrong with the corner on our little street. Something about the whole ordeal made me feel embarrassed, ashamed, as if I did something wrong, horrible, dirty. When I went inside the house Shorty sneered at me. What really bothered me was I do not think my father would have told me to come home if he was not with his male friend.

Once I left home, I never saw Shorty again until my father’s funeral in 94. I was thirty-one years old then and understood more than before. I had no intentions of playing nice with Shorty, funeral or not. To add insult to injury Shorty was hitting on me after the funeral. He compliments were dripping with perverted leers. I remember being so peeved and thinking who the fuck this asshole thinks he is.
  1. Professor Zero permalink
    May 23, 2007 5:47 pm

    Yes – sluts stand on the corner, is the thing. I stand on the corner now waiting to cross the street, and men in pickup trucks stop to start negotiations.

    In a more general way: no, I do not think that in patriarchy, etc. To be non sexist one’s father has to encode one as one of the guys. As long as that can last.

  2. E. K.(Kitty) Glendower permalink
    May 23, 2007 6:10 pm

    Exactly, we have no say in defining a space, because that space is already defined. The corner is for the menz to negotiate. I know there is some symbolism with the corner. Give me some time and I will think of something. Perhaps a corner is the point of intersection maybe. Instead of intersection being equal, it has to be oppressed? It is as if the corner is too equal, too fair, therefore it must be dominated, exploited, made unappealing to females. Men can socialize on the corner and not face losing one’s reputation.

  3. Professor Zero permalink
    May 24, 2007 5:21 pm

    “Instead of intersection being equal, it has to be oppressed?”

    I think it is this exactly.

  4. JoannaOC permalink
    May 25, 2007 2:52 pm

    What an awful thing he did to you, surely because he was responding to something Shorty said. Our fathers have a lot to answer for.

    If I were just going by my own experience, my answer to the question would be–definitely not. My own father never hid his contempt for women. But now I’m raising a girl with two men who are non-conforming to the patriarchy’s ideas about men because one is gay and one is bi.I know that this guarantees nothing about them not being sexist. But I have seen them, over time, being loving, respectful and aware, each in his own way, of the need to nurture her self-respect and autonomy in ways that support my efforts to do the same. It’s really hard for all of us to do because our models are so faulty, but we talk to each other about the need, and share stories about our interactions with her around this kind of thing.
    So, now my answer would be, a few of them are trying to do their best.

  5. E. K.(Kitty) Glendower permalink
    May 25, 2007 11:26 pm

    I agree there are a few, but I think saying so takes away the fact that there are many men who hate women. Because it will be the very ones, the nastiest ones who will cry he is among the few. I watched an old movie today, Robert Young, And Baby Makes Three. I got a headache from rolling my eyes too hard. He did not care that she was pregnant, he was fighting her for custody hoping it would convince her to take him back. Amazing. He said some of the ugliest things about children and to think they thought she was going to have his.

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