A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a video named #DearDaddy. The organization CARE, in Norway created a video of unborn girl talking to her soon-to-be Dad. She described all the challenges she will face while growing up. People calling her derogatory names, being the victim of sexual and physical violence, and struggling with bad relationships through her lifetime. The video ends with her asking her dad to stop all of this before it begins. Stop making ‘whore’ jokes and respect women as much as he would like people to respect her. The video certainly leaves you thinking. You can’t help but feel identified with the circumstances she describes. But for me, it sends some mixed signals. In a way, this video is very powerful, but it has unfairly portrayed the life of a girl. It is a marketing success, but it misses some points, and gets some others just wrong.
What’s up with the end statement?
She says to her dad: “ I know you will protect me from lions, and tigers, guns, cars and even sushi without thinking of the danger to your own life. But Dear Daddy, I will be born a girl, please do everything you can, so that won’t stay the greatest danger of all” The world IS a scary place, women have more freedom and rights in some countries than others. But they are kind of telling you: Your future is doomed for the fact you are born a female. I don’t think so. I mean, statistically we are at greater risks of violence and abuse, but the video kind of encourages you to go and say: Maybe I should have been born a boy? And for the 5 minute video to end like that, I can’t help but feel it’s not something you want to leave a large audience with.
Where is mommy?
Yes, daddy has a lot to do with the problems of male chauvinism, but so does mommy. I grew up with a single mom, she was strong, feisty and determined. Yet, every once in a while I noticed, how even though I was the older kid, my brother got different treatments than I did. All the way from curfews to household chores. I had to come back from parties earlier, and my mom needed to know exactly with whom I was hanging out, and forget about having some alone time with a boy. Needless to say my brother didn’t get any of these treatments. I’m not being ungrateful, I know my mom was just trying to look after me, but I just need to point out the double standards. My mom sets high demands for how I should behave, but those same expectations are not applicable to my brother. Daddy can sure help a lot, but mommy needs to be included in this equation.
A woman’s life is not all suffering.
The video says: “By the time I am 14 the boys in my class will have called me a “whore”, a “b!tch”, a “c*nt” and many other things… By the time I am 16 a couple of the boys will have stuck their hands down my pants while I’m so drunk I can’t even stand straight… No wonder I am raped when I’m 21”. These statements are insensitive and portrays horribly the life of a girl. We all know that is not true. You WILL be insulted during your lifetime (by boys and girls, they forgot to mention that) no doubt about it, and boys WILL try to make a move when you are vulnerable. But to reduce a girl’s teenage years to these three words and a smart-ass is, to me, ridiculous. What about all the other things that happened with a boy that were wonderful? Recall your first kiss, your first date, your first love, those are all amazing memories I have. The bad ones are somewhere in there, but is like they’re scratching on a long healed wound and making sure you never, ever forget it was there. I am not being oblivious to all these issues, I just don’t see the need to use them as the focal point to portray the life of a girl growing up.
#DearDaddy delivers strong points, I am not going to take that away from them, but my life is not the story of a person doomed to be a victim because of my gender. NO WAY! There are many issues with gender equality, but this video does not make it for me. Did it get everyone’s attention? YES! But has it left you with the right message? I certainly don’t think so. Being a woman is AWESOME. There are ups and downs, as I am pretty sure a lot of men go through as well. But do not point fingers solely to men as the cause of all of our problems, do not tell me being a woman is the biggest danger of all, and do not attempt to depict my life as some sort of depressing, frightful experience, because it’s not. I actually feel privileged of being one.