My Daughter Does Push-Ups

by A Manly Guest Contributor on January 18, 2010 · 103 comments

in Fatherhood, Relationships & Family

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Curtis Silver.

We all get caught in the conversations that start with “My kid can…” or “My kid did…” and end with some sort of typical childlike behavior that the parent finds exceptionally cute. Normally, these are first time parents that are simply amazed that the little creature they have spawned is in fact, a human. I was like that with my first child, everything was new and it was energizing to live life through the eyes and actions of a growing child. However, by the third child the glow usually wears off. When they walk, you think “it’s about time” instead of how stupendous it is that their legs are working as they should. There is a scenario, my scenario, that changes your view when it comes to that third child and reverts you right back to that proud parent proclaiming that your kid just learned how to take a serious dump in the toilet instead of squatting in a corner and lighting up their pants. That scenario? Two boys – then a girl.

Raising Her Right. The thing about that scenario is that the girl ends up doing not only cute little baby girl things, but cute little baby boy things. Which can be awkward at first but when you realize the powerful potential of these influences, can be pretty freaking awesome. She’s four now, so not only is there physical behavior but the verbal behavior is starting to show. It also helps that she has me as an influence. Not to blow too much smoke up my ass, but my parenting style is less sissy and more manly. I rule with an ironed and calloused hand, which can be very hard with a daughter. The same punishments that I handed down on the boys don’t always fly when you have a little girl nearing tears because you’ve raised your voice. It’s something as a parent you have to work through. Or you can give in and bribe her constantly with chocolate and other assorted candies.

A Tough Girl. That parenting style however, ends up raising less of a girly girl and more of a manly girl, and not in the mullet and flannel wearing way. More in the first girl to play baseball and captain in the Marines kind of way. A tough girl, who has dealt with men enough in her life growing up to know how to deal with them when she gets older. So when I’m caught in those conversations that I mentioned above with some preening co-worker and they are going on and on about how cute their kid is when she puts her arms just so or does a curtsy, I just break out with, “My daughter does push-ups.” Because she does. Proper man push-ups, too. Legs out, arms extended and chin out. Mind you, she can only do a couple but dammit – she does them with a smile and true gusto for the job. She lifts heavy things, too heavy for her but tries anyways. She fights with her older brothers, and routinely sends them out crying. How can you punish a four year-old for beating up an 11 year-old? You can’t. It’s not possible. There may even be a law against it. Conversely, how can you not applaud her for it?

She’ll Handle Her Business. Sure, rewarding her ass kicking might be teaching her that fighting is alright, but isn’t that a useful world skill? Is there a father out there that doesn’t hope that their daughter can kick some ass and take care of herself? Especially when it comes to the high school years. Aside from her physicality, she’s super smart for her age (also a genetic trait she got from me) so tag that with the ability to handle herself in a scuffle and she’ll be all set. At four, she’s already begging to play baseball. She asks to watch football almost every night, even during the off-season. One of her favorite things to do is go to baseball games with me and her grandfather. This is my daughter? Sure, she does cute girly things too. She wears dresses, and takes dance class (which will make her more agile and capable in fights) and likes sparkle glitter in her hair. Hell, she’s a girl. I don’t mind. As long as she drops down and gives me five before she gets a piece of candy after I’ve already told her no.

The Glass Ceiling. Strangely, the reaction I get when I tell some wide-eyed newbie parent that I’ve taught my petite daughter to do push-ups and that she enjoys doing them is one of shock and awe. It’s like I just told them that I’m cool with teen pregnancy as long as the abortion can be deducted on my taxes. They are appalled. They chide me for being too harsh on her, that she’s just a little girl. That’s when I ask them how many push-ups their kid can do. Yeah, I get defensive and competitive, because that’s how I roll. I tell co-workers that their kids don’t play flag football, they play tag. My son plays smash mouth tackle football, and my daughter doesn’t want to be a cheerleader – she wants to play. She won’t, because she’s just way too cute to risk any damage, but she wants to. If we go back in time to the seventies and earlier, the women’s’ liberation movement inspired women to cast aside the stereotypes of barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Yet, the children of those women act like I’m doing something wrong by trying to raise a strong willed, strong minded and powerful little girl. Shouldn’t those same women who fought to be themselves be proud to know that here is a little girl who will grow up independent and tough? They damn well should be.

For the moment, to whatever end, whether she grows up to be a princess or a kick boxer – she does push-ups and I’m damn proud.

Curtis Silver is a core contributor to Wired.com’s GeekDad blog along with many other sites. He can be found on his blog, flexing his brain muscles or on Twitter bragging about belt buckles and sandwiches.

{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Abraham January 19, 2010 at 2:06 am

Awesome article! Your daughter reminds me of my older sister- she’s the only girl out six other siblings and the shortest person in my family. Tough and scary as hell when you get her mad. Even my two older brothers that are older than her are scared of her.

2 Tyler Logan January 19, 2010 at 3:01 am

When I eventually get myself a daughter I’d love it if she was able to do press ups. My girlfriend probably wouldn’t be amused but the look on her face when she sees our daughter chin lifting the bathroom door at 8 would be full of pride and confusion. Making me think it’s a good thing.

3 Joe H. January 19, 2010 at 3:16 am

I really enjoyed this article! It touches on something I think about with my daughter. I want her to be able to enjoy both girly things and manly things. To be able to hold her own, but to not feel like she has to shut off her femininity either. She’s super competitive on the soccer field, she likes to go fishing with me, and she knows how to tie knots and put up a tent. But she also likes being a girl-wearing make-up, giggling about boys. I think it’s important to let your girls be whoever they want to be while at the same time guiding them towards balance in their life.

4 Sarah Joy Albrecht January 19, 2010 at 3:52 am

I love, love, love this post.

Tomorrow is my dad’s 57th birthday, and he raised me like you’re raising your daughter. I can catch and gut a fish, win a fist fight (after being beat up once school, my dad made sure it would never happen again), and I’m not afraid of spiders or the sight of blood.

Yet, my father also taught me that it was okay for me to be a lady. He also modeled this by the way he treats my mom, even though she’s also a strong woman. She adores him and always thanks him when he stands when she walks into a room, and when he holds a door open for her. I don’t mind wearing dresses, and I don’t mind being in the kitchen. I love being a mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

My seven-year-old daughter is a lot like me. She is physically strong. She do an unassisted handstand for 5 minutes (we’ve timed her) and takes karate twice a week. Only Japanese kid said, “Tabitha is cute, but her kicks and punches always hurt!” She is also my best help in the kitchen. She uses a knife the correct way and chops veggies with precision. She is tenderhearted and encourages me lovingly with wisdom that many adults don’t even possess.

Part of our job of raising children is to raise them in a way that they will grow to be adults – not perpetual children. We must teach our children to be strong — and not just our sons.

In raising our sons, we need to teach them that strong women are not a threat to them, but rather wonderful, reliable, trustworthy help-meets they can work with as a team — especially when there is crisis like a bat loose in the house ;)

5 Graham Hutson January 19, 2010 at 5:09 am

Sounds like you’re getting her off to a good start in life. Pushups have got to be about the best upper body exercise you can do – your girl will grow up with poise. And the ability to kick ass.

http://www.openzedoor.blogspot.com

6 Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com January 19, 2010 at 6:11 am

It reminds me of my smallest sister and pretty much every woman in my family. Great post. Good laugh!

7 Kate January 19, 2010 at 7:50 am

My experience as a tough little girl was that I coould take on any boy, until menses kicked in and all of the body changes that went with that. Then I loathed my body since I could not keep up with boys or defeat them, physically. My dad, sensibly, turned to my younger brothers to encourage in sports and to do physical work with him. He handed me books. In my teens I found I could only keep up with men or exceedl them with my mind, which did not feel like nearly enough. I have resented the softness of my body since I was eleven or twelve and hated having been born a girl.

The other things mentioned above: no fear of spiders or snakes, being able to use a knife, tying knots, going fishing, those are just life-skills that any person should have. Girls being raised to be foolish and inept is stupidity. However, girls being raised to resent femininity is stupid, too. If she is only proud of her push-ups and football and then her body comes to let her down in that area…all I can say is that you had better give her something to fall back on.

I fell in love and came to appreciate the feminine things that my future husband loved in me. I was tough enough to bear six children even though the first one took three days of labor in a home birth. Maybe my dad teaching me to be tough or spanking me just like the boys made me able to do that. I hated the process but liked the results. Still, in my mind, the only thing good about having a woman’s body is that it is made to bear children. You guys who pride yourselves on raising manly men need to consider if you really want your daughter to be “one of the boys” when she is twenty. I do not mean letting her grow uo be helpless and inept at coping with the real world. Just let her love to be a woman. There is still mighty little of that for us in the world.

8 Allan Williams January 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

Nothing you do will be “right” in everybody’s eyes and children tend to rebel, no matter how you treat them: both are examples of human nature. If you are raising a child who is close to a loving parent, then you are on the right track. Otherwise, let her learn as much from you as she will and let her become the woman who she should become.

9 Elliott January 19, 2010 at 8:53 am
10 a&d January 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

I found this post offensive in many ways – it contains the implicit assumption that anything girly is “wrong” and that the male way is “better” than the female way. Personal strength is not being army-tough, it is knowing who you are and having the self-respect & self-worth to stand for it. Are you raising her to be herself, or to be the tough girl you think she should be? And by raising her to be independent, I hope you are not denying her the natural connecting urge common to women. I am a female in a male dominated environment (engineering) and the glass ceiling is real, it is not because I am “not tough enough”. It means changing the values and perceptions of the males as well as increasing the self-confidence of the females. This post is one big step backwards for raising true women of strength. I am appalled.

11 Matt Demers January 19, 2010 at 9:15 am

You had me until the last paragraph.

I can understand being proud of your parenting, but asking another kid’s parent “how many pushups can YOUR kid do?” makes it sound like you’re just parading your daughter around. I can understand hearing this question might make some parents antsy, but assuming all children would love to play sports and do pushups is like assuming that all teens and adults do.

Are you going to ask me how many push-ups I can do now, in some alpha male bullshit?

12 Michael Roberson January 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

“It’s like I just told them that I’m cool with teen pregnancy as long as the abortion can be deducted on my taxes.”

This makes no sense to me. Are you going to tell her “Sweetheart, you can have sex like a man, with no need to support any of the resultant offspring, because daddy will pay for the invasive surgical procedure that will end the life of my embryonic grandchild.”

Next time I hear that people are pro-choice, not pro-abortion, I’ll direct them to this post to prove otherwise. Nice to know that teenage boys can be completely confident that sex with your daughter carries no consequences. Way to go Dad!

13 Pipp January 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

Great post! An interesting topic as recently some friends were discussing the demise of the ‘tomboy’. If you think of any family like program from the 70′s there was always that one girl that could get rough with the boys (think Jo in ‘The Facts of Life’). We need our tomboys!! They grow up to be beautiful, capable, fabulous women. We seem to have lost this idea of a girl somewhere in the 80′s, and she really doesn’t exist in popular media currently. Time to bring her back!

14 Gasberg January 19, 2010 at 9:25 am

Wow, you have ONE 4-year-old girl who does push-ups and you somehow are a great father. All my girls do push ups (including my wife). I would never trade in their femininity, for a brash abrasive personality that you intend for your daughter to have. All my girls will be able to change a tire and oil, but i don’t intend them to need to. If you’d stop flexing in the mirror long enough to appreciate how beautiful little girls can be, maybe you will understand. I hope you can sometime put aside yourself long enough to get down on the floor and play dress-up.

15 Rachel January 19, 2010 at 9:47 am

Whoa people, calm down, I think it’s obvious that this article was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Yes he’s being serious that his daughter can do pushups, and he’s being a proud dad, no different than any of you when you show off your three year-old’s latest art creation. No need to jump down his throat for it. He doesn’t throw femininity aside and I certainly don’t think he was suggesting in the article that he forces his daughter to do all this.

Oh, and Michael Roberson? I think you really, really missed the point of this article. Read it again and you will realise that he is not, under any circumstances, suggesting in this post that he’s telling his daughter she can have casual sex, get pregnant, and he’ll pay for the abortion if he gets a tax deduction. Please read carefully before commenting.

16 tony young January 19, 2010 at 10:08 am

Curtis,
Bravo! Anybody who doesn’t get that you’re raising a capable, strong, independent woman of the world is feeling a little bit threatened by a 4 year old who can do more push ups then they. She is at once beautiful, feminine and badass. Nice job and keep up the good work.

Tony

17 Curtis Silver January 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

Rachel hit the nail on the head. She said exactly what I was thinking and my intent. But I didn’t comment yet because I was busy flexing in front of the mirror…..

18 Ric January 19, 2010 at 10:41 am

So you raised a little girl who does push ups and for the most part, acts like a boy? She is awesome because you are and she is a little female version of you? Okay.

19 Vael Victus January 19, 2010 at 11:19 am

Excellent post, Mr. Silver! So tell me, in your grand quest for gender balance and equality, is your wife raising your boys to be feminine?

Cheers,
Vael Victus

20 Shane January 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

Are people really this uptight first thing in the morning? I know I wake up grumpy, but I don’t go out of my way to jump someone elses shit.

I’d say this article is most likely spot on since the author was personally attacked by both ends of the political hate spectrum.

21 Luis Q January 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

I wonder if you are raising your daugther to be your third boy. If thats your obejctive, I think you are doing quite well.

As to Rachel, I doubt this article was tongue-in-cheek. I at least don´t expect that when coming to this site.

22 Christopher Hall January 19, 2010 at 11:41 am

@Shane

“I’d say this article is most likely spot on since the author was personally attacked by both ends of the political hate spectrum.”

That’s the best comment I’ve read this week.

Great article, and I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. As for a lot of the criticism, in this case I think most people don’t understand the point you’re trying to get across.

23 Paul_of_TX January 19, 2010 at 11:43 am

I am currently finishing up The Screwtape Letter and just last night I read something that was fits in with this article. At the end of the book Screwtape gives a toast at the college of demons and he mentions a recent prayer by one of the humans. A girl prayed to ask God to make her a normal 20th century girl. Screwtape goes on to say that thanks to the work of the devil and his demons making this girl normal the demons can work toward making her a minx, a moron and a parasite.

Raising your children to be strong is a good thing and it does not matter if they are a boy or a girl.

24 Tim January 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

Whoa, someone needs to lay off the steroids for awhile. I completely support raising a girl who is able to take care of herself and who is not afraid to be tough, but this article seems to be more about YOU being “defensive and competitive” rather than HER being a strong woman.

Oh and, call me weak, but just because you want to raise a tough girl doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be punished for unnecessary physical violence. Yes a woman should be able to dish it out when needed, but it’s completely unacceptable in Western Society for that dish to come in the form of a physical ass-beating.

After reading this article it’s hard to believe that you write for a living. The only people that I know that use “damn,” “dammit,” “ass-beating,” “super smart,” and “freaking” this much in a short piece are barely literate at all.

25 Seth Q. January 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hey Brett, how about doing an article on “How to Have a Sense of Humor” or “How to Remove the Stick Up Your Butt”? Seems like a lot of folks who read this site could use something like that.

26 Jay January 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

“Shouldn’t those same women who fought to be themselves be proud to know that here is a little girl who will grow up independent and tough? ”

No – not in their eyes – you’re a man, imposing your will onto a harmless, trapped woman… It doesn’t matter that you empower your daughter, preparing her for the big world probably in a much better way than most of those women were raised themselves (hence their screwed up thinking and battles) – you are and will remain a bad-example-man :-)

27 Brucifer January 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Meh, merely sounds like the author wanted yet *another* son. And even that said, this article seems more for the author’s self-aggrandizement than for the edification of the reader. This article is the poorest example of manliness I’ve ever seen on these pages.

28 Shane January 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

How can the humor of this article be missed? Is there any segment of society that goes around saying, “that’s how I roll” in a sincere, honest and meaningful manner? If that statement can’t be recognized as the joke it is then I have serious reservations about the future humanity.

To me the whole point of this article was about the authors renewed joy in being a father which was found by way of his daughter doing something unexpected, having fun with daddy.

I really didn’t want to be an asshole today. I didn’t expect to find this level of jackassary on this site tho. The haters pissed me off so much I’m gonna go kick a puppy.

29 J.B. January 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Just as boys should be raised to be gentlemen, so too should girls be raised to be ladies.

While being smart and self-sufficient are noble qualities for women to have, let’s not forget the intrinsic character of a woman: Her mind, spirit, and body are built to be a mother. This doesn’t mean that she will certainly be a mother, but it does mean that her life is ordered to being nurturing, loving, and gentle.

So fathers, please don’t raise your daughters to be tough and strong men.

For the best look at the differences between men and women, read Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. (Brett, it makes great content for a post!)

30 A Big Man January 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm

What a load of macho crap… I usually love AOM, but this post is nothing but thinly veiled chauvinism bleeding through the author’s meat-headed insecurities.

Case in FAIL:

“That’s when I ask them how many push-ups their kid can do. Yeah, I get defensive and competitive, because that’s how I roll. I tell co-workers that their kids don’t play flag football, they play tag. My son plays smash mouth tackle football…”

Ya, it’s all fun and games until someone breaks a jaw. Please follow this article up when you get the dental surgeon’s first bill.

Sorry, *this* is manliness? Please. This is every stereotype of “manliness” I thought this site existed to correct. Thanks for setting us back about 50 years. Now gimmie 20… BTW, I can do 100 pushups in under 60 seconds, let’s see your four year old BEAT THAT!

31 Davey Jones January 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Good God. The readers of this site really lack a sense of humor and the ability to read something with nuance. I am blown away by how dense people are. There is nothing chauvinistic about this post-I actually thought it was the most progressive thing I’ve read here. The author is being funny! Humor seems to be totally lost on people.

People like Big Man are TOTALLY missing the point of the post. If anyone is a dumb meathead, it’s him! Perhaps a post on reading comprehension is in order because this is sad, sad, sad.

32 J.B. January 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Shane: “How can the humor of this article be missed? Is there any segment of society that goes around saying, “that’s how I roll” in a sincere, honest and meaningful manner?”

Yes, the military and Todd Beamer come to mind. The phrase is sincere in general, rather than vice versa.

33 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I guess that this can be taken a few different ways. I have seen women who were raised this way struggle to know what it means to be a woman, “because Dad left me with the impression that in order to impress him, I had to be one of the boys. ” That said, I have my daughters in martial arts, at the recommendation of my wife, because it builds confidence and I don’t want them to be caught unprepared if they are threatened with violence, which is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. A little girl should be just that, and to undermine the feminine with an attitude that femininity is somehow inferior to being masculine is a disservice to the intent of A.O.M.. We are here to celebrate masculinity, not degrade femininity.

34 Davey Jones January 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

“Yes, the military and Todd Beamer come to mind. The phrase is sincere in general, rather than vice versa.”

Oh man, the laughs keep on coming! Todd Beamer said, “Let’s roll,” Which is quite different than “That’s how I roll.” The latter is used entirely in a light hearted way.

Seriously folks? Who are these humorless automatons who read this site?

35 Shane January 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

@ J.B.

Nobody says, “that’s how I roll” with any amount of seriousness. It’s a phrase that began on the streets, popularized by rappers, and satirized by everyone else on this planet. Except for maybe you, but then, you don’t even know what Todd Beamer said.

@ everyone else

Why am I feeding the trolls? I have old ladies that I need to push down the stairs.

36 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

“A little girl should be just that, and to undermine the feminine with an attitude that femininity is somehow inferior to being masculine is a disservice to the intent of A.O.M.. We are here to celebrate masculinity, not degrade femininity.”

I didn’t see this in the post whatsoever. It’s funny that men seem to be offended by the article, but women get it. Nowhere does the author say anything that degrades femininity or that boy things are better than girl things. All he says is that it’s been fun to see his girl do “boy” things because it’s unexpected. He’s surprised but supportive and it sounds like he’s doing a great job with raising her.

37 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Davey Jones
I am very light hearted and find humor everywhere, but that doesn’t make everything funny, and as a father of four daughters, they are not what I consider a target for this kind of macho/chauvinistic/anti-feminine assault. It is not funny to manipulate a child to fulfill a misogynistic impulse. Children are subjects unto themselves, and are to be assisted in becoming what they were created to be, not what we want to create them to be.

38 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Lisa
“That parenting style however, ends up raising less of a girly girl and more of a manly girl,” says everything in one sentence about the intent of this author. What is a “manly girl”? Why is that a good thing?

39 Jim Zaccaria January 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Loved the article and the posts. Agreeable to having Strong and Feminine women in the world….Best match for strong and sensible, chivalrous men.

Here’s a link especially for Curtis Silver, or anyone else who gets the urge to ‘Blow Smoke’ [your words, Curtis :o) ] enjoy http://twitpic.com/hspe8
[I wonder if any of these contraptions still exist?]

40 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

“That parenting style however, ends up raising less of a girly girl and more of a manly girl,”

Shmikey, did you not continue to read that sentence:
“and not in the mullet and flannel wearing way. More in the first girl to play baseball and captain in the Marines kind of way.”

Basically Mr. Silver is saying that a “manly girl” is the kind of girl who enjoys and isn’t afraid to pursue activities that have traditionally been enjoyed by men and boys. Why is that a good thing? Because everyone, both male and female, should be allowed to be who they want to be. If my daughter wants to be a Marine, then good for her. And if my son wants to knit and cook, then good for him!

I don’t see anywhere in the post where the author is misogynistic or anti-feminine. and I don’t see anywhere in the post where the dad is manipulating his daughter. He doesn’t care if she “grows up to be a kickboxer or a princess.” He gives her the same discipline that he gives his boys, which is making her tougher. How is this not a good thing? It would be more misogynistic to be tough on your boys and easy on your girl, because you thought she was weak and couldn’t take it, would it not?

41 Lea January 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I loved this post. I was raised by my father and he taught me that as a woman I would have to work twice as hard to get half the reward. If i didn’t like it then I should change it. He taught me how to work on trucks and how to fight someone twice my size because he read the news a knew that women are constantly at risk of assault by men. He taught me all these things to make me a capable PERSON not to make me manly. I love makeup and clothes and boys. I am smart he instilled a deep love of reading and learning that he himself still feeds. I love my father and I am closer to him than I am my mother. He told me once that he became a feminist the day I was born. Everyone criticising the author for forcing his child into a masculine ideal instead of letting her “become herself” is missing the point of parenting. We have to pass our values on to our children we don’t just let them wander along and find morals or values we show them it is the same with skills such as pushups. Really people……stop taking things so seriously…..learn to take a joke………
My Name is Lea and i AM a feminist, and i love Men, their ways and all things manly including AOM

42 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

O.K. my last post here. For all of you who think that it is a good thing to encourage “manly girl”, let’s just propose the opposite, “womanly boy”. Would you approve a mother who encouraged her son to be more effeminate? Case closed! (That doesn’t mean encouraging sensitivity, but encouraging femininity because the mother thinks that she needs to make her son more like a woman because she fealt that men were too agressive and needed her son to be more submissive.)

43 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Lisa, I hate to sound a little old school here, but I am not going to encourage my daughters to pursue things that are not in their nature, and joining the marines to prove something says more about your lack of understanding of the feminine, and how we have come to this screwed up world we live in that would have us believe that there are no differences between the sexes and that there is nothing that a woman can’t do that a man can. That is why we have had to lower all of the physical standards that were once required in order to be politically correct and allow women into areas that are beyond her naturally abilities. Men are the physically stronger sex. That is a fact. You can manipulate things with drugs and so forth, but that is a lie, like any other and we are in this world of garbage because of that pursuit.

44 Curtis Silver January 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Lisa, Lea – right on. If anyone has any further questions of my intent in the post, please refer to Lisa’s response at 1:10pm.

45 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Case closed? I very much disagree. If a mom raised her son to be a “womanly boy” in the same way that Mr. Silver is raising his daughter to be a “manly girl” than that would be great! Because it would mean that she taught her son how to cook and sow a button and be sensitive (while still being tough).

Shmikey, you continue to read things into the post that aren’t there. There’s nothing in the post that says that the dad is trying to make his daughter more manly because he doesn’t like feminine women. He is using the same discipline with his daughter that he does with her sons, the result of which is that his daughter is a self-reliant gal. And he’s allowing her to pursue the things she’s interested in-you can’t “make” a girl like baseball and football. She just does, and Mr. Silver is surprised by this, but supportive. I can’t fathom how this is a bad thing. Case closed!

46 Vanessa January 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

“My son plays smash mouth tackle football, and my daughter doesn’t want to be a cheerleader – she wants to play. She won’t, because she’s just way too cute to risk any damage, but she wants to.”

I wanted to play football when I was a young girl as well. My brothers got to, but not me. I played fastpitch softball (catcher) and loved the physical aspect of it. This girl sounds like someone I would want as a friend when she’s older. Keep on doing what you’re doing, let her be herself and she’ll be fine.

47 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm

“but I am not going to encourage my daughters to pursue things that are not in their nature”

So interesting that you started out pretending like you were offended by the chauvinism of this post and then finally it comes out that you are the chauvinist!

Women don’t join the Marines to “prove something.” They sincerely want to serve in that capacity and I’m glad I live in a world where they can live out their dream. I agree that the lowering of physical standards is quite unfortunate, but women still aren’t allowed in combat and I agree with that. But if they want to play a supportive role in the military, than I think that’s a great thing.

48 Vael Victus January 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Alright, Mr. Silver. Then I ask (merely out of interest) how you balance your respect for femininity, in your boys?

49 Shane January 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

@ Shmikey

You’re having a very difficult time separating skill sets from mindsets. Come back when you can differentiate.

50 Danielle H. January 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I too, find it funny that the women love the post and the men are offended!

As a girl I liked football, and camping and hanging out with the boys. The boys were always doing the fun stuff! As I got older, I started to enjoy being more womanly. Now I cultivate both side of myself-I still like sports but I also like dressing to the nines and making my man dinner! I’m so happy I didn’t have a father that forced me to do girl stuff and didn’t let me be myself!

51 Gasberg January 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

@Rachel:
I Concede. I was not looking at this article at a humorous vantage point. I was immediately defensive of my 3 girls. Just as sarcasm and irony do not come across in many of my emails, i thought this article was going in the wrong direction. I re-read it in a ‘Jack Black’ image and do now think it’s humorous.
@Curtis Silver
RE: “I didn’t comment yet because I was busy flexing in front of the mirror…..” touche’ :)

However. I should say that I do not raise my girls the same as my son. I hold him to different standards. You have to. I look to him to watch out for his younger sisters at school. I tell him he’s the man of the house when i’m gone. I tell him to quit crying and it’s NEVER ok to hit his sisters. “If your sister hits you, you have to take it, don’t hit back. go downstairs and beat on the heavybag” Think what you will, but expectations are different. Not higher or lower, different. Parenting is dynamic, contextual and a lot of hard work.

If nothing else you’ve sparked a great discussion and thought provoking debate.

52 Curtis Silver January 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

@Vael Victus – Dude, that’s a whole ‘nother post for sure! Basically, I make sure they know to respect women and to treat them as such. I remind them that women are not just eye candy and baby makers. And yes, sometimes there is a double standard between the boys and the girl, but mostly it’s an age thing rather than a gender issue. Plus, my oldest son is in ballet and dance. He’s not a sportsman and I tell him all the time (when he tries to be) that he doesn’t have to be. That’s he’s good by me just the way he is as long as he’s happy. Same with my daughter. I just want her to be happy. And if doing boy things because we are is what makes her happy, who am I to tell her “no – go be a girl?” That would be wrong.

53 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Sorry all of this smells of political correctness and I still don’t get the humor. I am not a chauvinist to want my daughters to grow into the women that they were created to be. the idea that a woman should be in combat is pure CRAP!!!!! The women commenting here in agreement are feminists, which to me is the feminine version of the chauvinist, because what they pursue that is as disordered as Machismo. I am an artist, I crochet, I cook a mean Italian, I have known how to sew since I was 6 years old, I dislike mosts sports, and love to read, so that is not what we are talking about here. You are defending this piece, because you agree with his assessment. But I disagree, and that doesn’t make me a chauvinist, as much as discouraging my daughters from combat doesn’t make me a chauvinist. I am teaching my daughters how to shoot and they are involved in martial arts, but these are not what makes them a woman. But encouraging a daughter to be tough like the boys is just C R A P!!! There are way too many things that women have lost by replacing the womanly arts with the pursuit of what men had, and they wanted. This whole thing boils down to the pursuit of power, not to being truly what GOD CREATED YOU TO BE!!! Will I encourage my daughters to join the military? Certainly, as a service to this country, and in areas that are congruent with their feminine nature, not in COMBAT. Supporting combat troops definitely!!! The problem that I see here is that there is very little understanding of the nature of man verses the nature of woman. The Theology of the Body by JPII is a great place to get an understanding of what those natures are. Yes it does refer to scripture, but it is expounded upon through sociological and philosophical realities. But because of the political circumstances that we have gotten ourselves into because of the political correctness, that is very evident in the remarks I have seen from women commenting here, it is evident where the comments come from. One of the commenters even admitted that she was a feminist. Sorry, modern feminism is a distortion. It went well beyond the original intent of ensuring that women were respected to ensuring that men were degraded for being men. What you call chauvenism, I call common sense, which is not available to much anymore.

54 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Shmikey, what happened to “O.K. my last post here.” Where’s the manly self-control? You should have stopped while you were ahead because your posts are getting progressively more offensive and shrill.

First, I actually don’t consider myself a feminist. I love the differences between the sexes.

Second, I already said that I agree that I don’t think women should be in combat. NOBODY has said that women should be in combat. You’re arguing with a straw man and seem to have a problem with selective reading.

Alas, there is really no sense arguing with a person who thinks that women who want to do manly things are only after power. I’m just glad your true colors have emerged.

55 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Lisa, I think that you may say that you aren’t a feminist but your true colors have emerged. There is a reason that they call them “Manly things”! And, Yeah iam working on that self control thing, but I failed.

56 John of Texas January 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Curtis,
I want to applaud you on the article. I have a daughter who was in fact our first child. I taught her many things to include how to fight, how to stay fit, how to stand her ground and how to take command of her life. By age 6 she wasn’t afraid of anything. Absolutely fearless. Once the parent of one of the neighborhood boys brought her home because she “butt stroked” him with a toy rifle when he started pushing her around while they were playing army. She wanted her punished for hitting him and busting his lip. Now being a young officer in the army at time, how could I, in my right mind, punish my little girl for that? I also used to buy her beautiful, lacy dresses that she loved to dress up in an model for everyone. She played soccer on an all boy team and held her own, helping them win a state championship. She played softball and ran track. But she also acted in school and community theater, loving to play leading ladies and had a ton of friends that she still connects with today.

That young girl turned into a beautiful, strong willed and confident woman who graduated in the top of her class in high school and college, and is now confidently moving through a life she has planned to the inth degree. She loves to be a woman and isn’t some war mongering demon or “suppressed” by the “glass ceiling” or even disconnected from her female friends as a&d supposes. She knows what she wants out of life and isn’t afraid to fight for it. She may not be “marine strong”, but she never forgot the lessons I taught her about staying fit and being able to hold her own in a fight. My daughter, like yours to you, will always be my little girl. But she’s one little girl that I don’t have to worry about.

Keep up the good work and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. HOOOOAAAH!

57 Lisa January 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Sigh. They’re called “manly things” because they have traditionally been done by men because historically women were kept from doing them, and even today, more men than women enjoy them. It doesn’t mean some women can’t enjoy them too. If you think that God created men and women who all have the same gender-specific interests and proclivities than I don’t know what to say, as this doesn’t match reality at all.

If feminism means that men and women are the same and have the same abilities and qualities, than I am not a feminist. If feminism means that men and women should both be brave and self-reliant and should be free to pursue the hobbies and jobs that interest them, then yes, I guess I’m a feminist.

This will indeed be my last post as John of Texas just nailed it and there’s nothing more to say.

58 Mark January 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Enjoyed this. We need more strong men raising strong, independent women. Glad to see someone doing something right! Even if you don’t agree with everything in this article, this parenting style is much better than if he forced his daughter to play princess and said “girls can’t do push-ups”. Instead, he is removing all barriers from her, allowing her to have ALL opportunities and decide if she wants to be a “princess or kick-boxer” for herself. WE NEED MORE DADS LIKE YOU

59 Seth Q. January 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Commenters have said that women shouldn’t be tough, so then they should be what….weak? Passive? Unable to stand up for themselves?

60 Shane January 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

@ Shmikey

Would it have made a difference if he hadn’t insisted she do proper push ups? Would it have made a difference if he let her get by with “girl” push ups? I disagree with you not because I necessarily support this article. I disagree with you because you’re disagreeable.

Now I have to go pinch some babies.

61 Ric January 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm

“She fights with her older brothers, and routinely sends them out crying. How can you punish a four year-old for beating up an 11 year-old? You can’t. It’s not possible. There may even be a law against it. Conversely, how can you not applaud her for it?”

For some reason the quote above rubs me the wrong way. Now maybe the author is not being literal with this story, if that is the case my comments should ignored, but I can’t help but picture a spoiled little girl using an object to beat her older brother who knows he cannot defend himself because he, not she, will be punished by their parents. Maybe she will grow up believing that it’s okay to hit men and that men are required to take it; anyone with common sense knows that this is not a mindset that we want young men or young women growing up with.

62 Shane January 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

@Ric

Part of the whole “don’t hit girls” meme was that girls were supposedly inferior, weaker and didn’t know how to fight. A myth which the feminist movement has done well to disprove. However, part of the problem with modern feminism is that some women insist on equality, unless the consequences of that equality goes against some anachronistic patriarchal western tradition; that actually went their way.

So, if a woman gets in my face like a man, yells at me like a man, puts her hands on me like a man, and demands that I treat her with equality; why the surprise when I do?

Now if you’ll excuse me, my dishwasher stopped working…

63 Shmikey January 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Lisa, sorry, I use these posts to see what my thoughts look like in writing, it is just how I think. and sometimes type things before I really think them through. I may have overlooked some things that you wrote, but I don’t have a lot of time to read everything, my bad. I don’t think that women should not participate in things that men do, but that men should not be forced to participate in them at the same time. I am not knocking what you are saying, I don’t think that women should be prevented from pursuing whatever they like, but should not be pursuing things for the purpose of being more like the boys, that is all. I have never prevented my daughters from participating in sports and they are very good at them. But if there reason is because they want to because the boys are, then that is a no go, because that is jealousy. But if they show a true desire, then I allow it. I may be being a little sensitive here, but since this is a real problem, and one that I have had to deal with, I don’t take these things lightly. But a part of what a woman is that men find romantic is in the fact that they are needed. A strong independent woman is not very attractive to a man, because he cannot be a hero to her. That may be the full extent of why I find this whole independent woman stinks, because men have that in their nature. They want to be a hero, they want to be the knight in shining armor, but that can’t be if a man doesn’t see that he is needed. Interdependency is how a marriage works, and that is what we have lost with this movement toward the independent woman. And in the end, everyone gets hurt. Do I want my children to stand on there own two feet, absolutely. but there has to be the sense that we are interdependent. This is actually one of the flaws that I see in American Idealism, that we are pursuing complete independence, and society suffers for it.

64 Ric January 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

@Shane

1. Girls are physically inferior to men. It’s a fact that cannot be disputed. If you put 100 average women versus 100 average men in 1-on-1 fights the majority, if not all, of those winners would be men. It cannot be argued.

2. If a woman puts her hands on you and you return the favor, guess what? You’re probably being arrested.

65 Shane January 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

@ Shmikey

So did you teach your daughters to be actual damsels in distress or just to play the part? You say men want to be heroes? I say that gets tiring. Interdependency is not the key to marriage. Love and teamwork is. You really should work on that whole reading what you write before you post thing.

BRB cat stuck in tree…

66 Shane January 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

@ Ric

We’re going off topic. I’ll start a thread in the community forums. I agree, mostly.

67 john January 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

After reading this article my only regret is that you weren’t given more daughters! You are raising her right, encouraging and never limiting her! how could people argue with that?

68 Jim January 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

As the single father of a little girl, for a while I worried that my kiddo preferred running and playing with the boys, working on my car with me, and pretending to be a trooper from a currently popular animated television show was me inappropriately influencing her. But I discovered quickly that if I pushed a more “feminine” agenda, she resisted. After discussing it with her mother, we decided that she could choose her activities herself, without worrying how boy-ish they were. She loves to cook and build, make and learn with me. I’ve stopped worrying that I am an inappropriately manly influence and just enjoy the quality time that I get to spend with her.

I enjoyed the article, and found the humor refreshing. Great job!

69 Dr. Rod Berger January 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm

So nice to read a thoughtful article about girls and their experiences. I wrote today (see link below) about a young woman who is a terrible role model for girls….The Hills “star” Heidi Montag. Normal Males need to do a better job of sharing with females the attributes we truly care about so that we don’t add to the budding complex about the definition of beauty.

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male
http://thenormalmale.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/do-normal-males-really-desire-the-heidi-montags-of-the-world/

70 Liquid Shano January 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm

This was the best post EVER !!!!!!!

@ a&d – go burn a braw and feed your 100 malnourished cats in your lonely apartment. And clean the litter box while you’re at it…….

@ Matt Demers – you probably have skinny chicken arms and can’t do one curl with a&d’s skinny cats…….

@ Micheal Roberson – ever hear of sarcasm?

@ Vael Victus – funny…….

@ Shane – don’t use my name anymore….

@ Tim – it’s an article on a site called, “artofmanliness.com”. It’s not Shakesphere, lighten up……

@ Seth @ – wanna beer?

@ Jay – so, when’s the sexchange?

71 Scarlette January 19, 2010 at 11:39 pm

On a slightly different note, I think this article is also a wonderful testament as to the positive and powerful influences that men have on the lives of their children.

72 Greg January 20, 2010 at 1:00 am

Dude, that’s pretty badass. I’m impressed. This inspired me to do some damn pushups, since if a four year girl can do pushups, a 23 year old guy damn well better be able to as well. Seriously though, this article is a lot deeper than just that. I really do think you’re doing a good thing here, and your daughter has every right to grow up strong and self assured. Not only that, and I clearly don’t need to tell you this, but don’t let anything deter you from raising your child the way you know is right. Inspirational stuff.

73 Val January 20, 2010 at 8:01 am

I think this article is way out of The Art of Manliness’ style I had grasped so far. I am actually surprised Brett and Kate agreed to publish such a post. I’m not saying I’ll stop following The Art of Manliness (the vast majority of the articles they publish is great), but I am disappointed by such a loss of coherence. The idea that passes from this post is that physical fighting skill and aggressiveness are the most important quality a person should have in order to be able to gain respect from society. Nothing farther from the truth. I sincerely hope these kind of posts will be avoided in the future, so I won’t regret having invited most of my friends to subscribe to the mailing list.

Best,

74 Shmikey January 20, 2010 at 8:53 am

I think that people that have whooohaaad this article should read the post by Kate above, and try to rethink this position. My wife had the same experience growing up with four brothers and it was harder than ever trying to understand her femininity when it came time to be a woman. I am not against encouraging your daughters from pursuing their dreams, just don’t discourage what it is to be feminine.

75 Joshua Hewlett January 20, 2010 at 9:23 am

You are raising one tough girl there. I’m sure she is going to be an amazing person. However, there can only be one man of the house and there is a danger that when she marries, she will completely emasculate her spouse and he will live a defeated life in her shadow. It’s important for girls to be strong and independent. But it is also important that they are girls and not just men with vaginae. Thanks for a great article!

76 Brucifer January 20, 2010 at 11:37 am

Gentlemen, my ability to see that this article was (supposedly, as we have now heard from either the author of publisher) written as satire, is sadly dampened and tempered by my interactions with too many “men” who DO act and talk like that. For the record, my current GF’s, one is former Army Airborne and the other a former competitive body-builder. Both “clean-up nicely” (very) and easily turn heads.

77 Jay January 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

@ Shmikey – ” the idea that a woman should be in combat is pure CRAP!!!!! ” – really? In Israel women are enlisted just like men – purely for survival as they are a small population with a lot of enemies around. Since 1948, women have actively fought and often with outstanding results, demanding respect from the guys and enemies… Same goes for the women batallions in the Red army in WW II and Viet Cong.
I’m not saying women ‘should’ be in combat – men shouldn’t be in combat for that matter either, but if the future of your country hangs in the balance, women should not be excluded or ignored, as they can be fearsome warriors.

@ Liquid Shano: you forgot the smiley – right? Or just didn’t get my post that was in line with authors’ tongue-in-cheek…

78 Mr Miyagi January 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

That’s nothing. I be impressed if your daughter pees standing up.

79 Shmikey January 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Jay, there are always exceptions, i.e. out of necessity, as in your examples, I would agree, but as a matter of common practice, I stand by my statement, John Paul 2 made your second point and I completely agree that war is a failure of humanity,

80 Mark January 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I don’t comment here TOO often, but from time to time I like to chip in. I only made it part way through the comments, because it all became rather annoying to read. I felt like I was in the middle of two extreme political pundits in a shouting match – things don’t get done that way.

Personally, there is not an ounce of competition in me, so for me to read about a dad who instills that into their children, male or female, I don’t relate. If I were to have a daughter OR a son who had this trait in them, it would be very lost on me because it’s not natural to who I am. However, where would that come from in my daughter if it’s not in me or my wife? That’s the key.

As with any parent raising a child, they are going to raise them in a way familiar to who they are. My dad is not artistic and enjoys “normal guy” things like sports and cars. He was cursed with a son (his only) who doesn’t like sports at all and who would rather sit for hours and draw or play with Legos as a kid. Heck, I’d still rather do those things ;) That can’t be easy to know how to relate to, so his natural instinct was try and play sports with me and even forced me to play football in junior high. However, since it’s not in my nature at all, these things never went further and he was smart enough to back off on the subject. While we have MANY other issues, that is the sign of a loving parent – to recognize a child’s true desires and to either back off on forcing your own ideas and allow them to pursue something else or to encourage your mutual interests further.

So, if the writer is encouraging his daughter (who, considering she has two older brothers, is more than likely going to be a little tough, anyway) to be aggressive, competitive, and physical… that’s just because of who he is. And, in this case, it seems as if the daughter is responding… because that’s who SHE is. As long as the guy is loving, and never pushes her beyond what she is actually enjoying, he’s being a decent dad. Once he pushes too far, or ignores any signs that her attitudes are changing as she grows older, he is making a mistake in trying to force her to be who he thinks she should be.

But none of us will probably ever see that time, and bickering here like children will do nothing but potentially make ourselves feel better, so to the writer and his daughter, I say, “Good luck.” :)

81 Mackenzie January 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

One of my friends has a daughter who wants to play football. She told her no. Daughter gave the perfect argument “Would you let $brother? If so, why not me?” The mum acknowledged it was sexist and told her she could try out for the team.

Also, to those worried about her future husband being emasculated: so what if he is? He can deal with it. And really, “there can only be one man in the house” is perfectly untrue. Haven’t you heard of gay marriage yet?

82 Mackenzie January 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Shmikey:
I would not encourage either my daughters OR my sons (if I had them) to join the military in a combat role. As medics, perhaps, but violence solves nothing. You can claim I only think this way because I’m a woman, so I should perhaps mention that George Fox, Martin Luther King Jr, and Gandhi were all men.

And “effeminate” should NOT mean submissive. Just as “masculine” should NOT mean dominating. So yes, encouraging sons to not fall into the trap of believing that they must do x, y, and z to be Real Men, when really they should just be themselves: PERFECT! It’s all this Real Men crap (Real Men get sex when they want, Real Men can control women, Real Men don’t take no for an answer) that leads to rape!

83 Mackenzie January 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

JB:
I disagree with the idea that women must be ladylike and men must be gentlemanly. These old fashioned ideas still allow men to engage in fisticuffs, but for some reason you seem to think it is not in a woman’s disposition to lash out. I assure you, it is. But why do so many women not react violently when they are raped? Because as little girls, they were taught that ladies don’t hit people. And while I may agree that it is not good to be violent, I would say that teaching the boys that violence is always wrong would be a good step on the path to making it so “women’s self-defence” is no longer seen as one of those thing that women just have to know about.

And while your religion may advocate keeping women restrained simply because it is traditional to do so, I encourage you to read what my religion has to say on the subject of how strict male and female roles harm people and society: Friends and Womankind (you may know the Religious Society of Friends by their nickname “Quakers”).

84 Mr Miyagi January 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Mackenzie, there are plenty of sites out there geared for women like you where you can leave comments and vent your frustration. Seriously, you turn me and countless men off from this site. Your remarks sort of me remind me in a similar way of how liberals will call into conservative talk radio programs and become the main audience when it’s geared for a completely different audience. Why do women bother with a site geared for men? Do men here post on women’s issues/feminist sites?

85 Tiffany January 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

@Mark: I think what you say is true.
I liked this article. My dad was kind of like this; he let me tag along and help out on his “manly” errands around our farm. He didn’t have to push me to do it; I just wanted to be there. He accepted that I wasn’t comfortable with girly things, and encouraged me (and my brother) to think for ourselves (and importantly, to think in the first place), and to take pride in hard work. He was always proud of us when we had done a genuinely good job at something, and I have him to thank for encouraging perseverance, curiosity, ingenuity, courage, and a sense of duty in myself and my brother. Useful traits for any person, regardless of gender.

86 Shane January 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm

@ Mackenzie

You say that violence never solves anything and then in the next post give a perfect scenario of when violence is the only solution. And as far as your ideas on the military, every medic and corpsman I know carries a weapon.

Don’t let the misogynists who post on the front end of this board detract from the fact that most of this sites frequenters and members do not advocate any control over women. This site is simply an exploration of what it means to be a man. That is, an adult male, not just a grown up boy.

When most use terms such as “gentlemen” and “ladies” it is a cross between pride and prejudice and modern society. It’s an advocation of manners and respect, for oneself and others, on an equal footing with a recognition that men and women are different.

There are two distinct features to this site, that, if not categorized exist in spirit: mindset and skillset. You’ll notice that the articles which fall into the mindset categories deal with respect, of oneself and others. The ones that lay out skillsets discuss those that traditionally have shown higher interest from men than women.

Regardless of what commenters might say, none of the articles put forth here deal with power or control. So chill the fuck out. If you want a proper discussion or debate stay away from the front page and join the forums.

87 Hugo Stiglitz January 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

@Jay

You surely realize that the culture of combat in Israel is much different than that in the US. As you mentioned, that little country must use all means to defend itself, including using women in combat. It is a necessity for them, a way of life. American women are certainly not of the same mold as Israeli women. Just take a look around next time you are out shopping at presumably combat-aged (20s – 30s) women and ask yourself if you’d like to be fighting beside them during a war.

88 Jeff January 24, 2010 at 3:57 am

Look at Schmikey’s ranting about God. I see cognitive dissonance between what women are capable of and the roles he believes they’re “made” for. He’s defining femininity a certain, specific way, that doesn’t necessarily mesh with how other folks define it. I see a lot of similarities to J.B.’s comment up in post 29. When your beliefs jive with reality like this, this is the kind of friction you get.

I’d rather see a girl grow up happy, with a mullet and flannel, than force herself to fit some predefined sense of what it means to be a “true woman”. As long as she’s also raised to understand her body and also be free to explore traditionally “feminine” desires as well. It all goes hand in hand.

Yes, men are generally physically stronger. Women generally have better endurance. I know women who are stronger than most of the men I know, because they put the effort in. There are differences, but they often equal out until you get to a very high level of performance. So yeah, different, but both are useful, and can be useful in combat. Or wherever.

Everyone, quit using your beliefs to bludgeon each other. Your kids will turn out how they’ll turn out. The best you can do is set an example, maintain discipline, and give them room to grow.

89 Jimmy January 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm

A small suggestion here but for those of you attempting to use Israel as an example of women in combat – do some research.

90 Nadia February 4, 2010 at 1:38 am

Awww, now I’m really embarrassed. I can’t even do a single “real” push-up and your 4 year old daughter can do multiples. Definitely gotta get off the couch if I’m being shown up by a toddler. :)
Seriously, I applaud the idea of not forcing your daughter to maintain only narrow traditional female roles. If she likes the “boy stuff”, go for it! Personally I always preferred carving stuff with my handy Swiss army knife or making forts in the woods to playing with dolls. My lil’ sis was pretty proud of the fact that she managed to pee in a urinal standing up and she got a guy friend to punch her in the face (black eye) just to see if she could take it. Yet neither of us are the flannel-wearing mullet type.
If you look at history, women were mostly a whole lot tougher than us 21st century western hemisphere gals- and they weren’t any less “feminine” for it. What you’re calling a “manly girl” is closer to the norm for real women when you look at the big picture. Keep on bragging those push-ups!

91 Sean Reeder February 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

Love this article! My oldest is a 10 year old girl that beat everyone in her school except for one boy the pullup hang for time the did in PE last month, I have never been more proud. It is so sad to see such rampant child hood obesity, of course the parents are to blame for this.

I do not have any affiliation with them but do use their workouts with my kids….

92 Kenzie February 23, 2010 at 12:52 am

@Schmikey (or however you spell your name, I forget), #53 – Chill, man – chill. As much as men don’t like independent women, women don’t like raging tweakshows.:]
@Shmikey (Is this how you spell it?), #63 – “A strong independent woman is not very attractive to a man, because he cannot be a hero to her. That may be the full extent of why I find this whole independent woman stinks, because men have that in their nature. They want to be a hero, they want to be the knight in shining armor, but that can’t be if a man doesn’t see that he is needed.” ……………………………………Oh, jeez, I’m sorry. It’s just, I’m recovering from swooning over you, my Darling Dearest Knight Who Braved the Treacherous Interwebs On His Magnificent White Stallion. ;) ~~ <333 But — oh, hey, look! That fireman actually saving peoples' lives over there is pretty hot! ;D

Yet, alas, I must bid you good night, my love! Our parting is such sweet sorrow, but I must sleep so I can maintain my honour roll placement in order to be able to support myself in the future! But, mayhaps, some*one(coughmancough)* could support me instead…? *rapidly bats eyelashes* <3

(While we're at it, Mr. Silver, I'd consider myself lucky to have a father like you. Your family sounds happy and supportive, and one that will stand the test of time.:] )

93 Kat March 2, 2010 at 10:12 pm

As woman who was raised similarly to how Mr. Silver seems to be raising his daughter I have to say that being taught how to use tools and allowed to play contact sports was awesome. Because of it I am a very useful person who can built stuff and fix stuff when my partner is not around to do it for me. I also learned to appreciate when he does do those things for me because I could do them, but a big part of how men (manly men that is) show that they care about a woman is to take care of her by doing things like fixing the sink. My father, by being a strong role model taught me how to take care of myself, but he also taught me what I should expect from a future husband. That said, I also learned many traditional female skills from my mother which balanced everything out (I cook, clean, sew, knit, dance etc.) I think that this best of both worlds (and being encouraged to be myself) was ideal because it means I can take care of myself, but also appreciate when my partner wants to take care of me. There is nothing stopping a woman from being both strong and independent, but still wanting to be taken care of by the man in her life. It is always about balance, my father dearly wanted me to be strong enough to take care of myself if he or my future husband was not there for me, but he also taught me to be gracious and accept being taken care of. I also expect more of my partner because if I can do something he damn well better be able to as well (that goes for cooking and changing the oil). Likewise my partner appreciates that I am not a helpless bimbo who can’t hold a conversation or is afraid to break a nail. I think that this balance is well suited to the kind of women that appreciates a manly man.

94 Mike Watts March 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Not only can my little princess do 10+ push-ups she can do this. :)

95 Mike Watts March 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm
96 Frank March 24, 2010 at 3:52 am

I have three boys, I raised them like little Marines. When they got in trouble I had them run, push ups, the whole bit. But when I tried that with my little girl she flat out refused. She just stood there, arms folded and told me she wasn’t doing it. She wouldn’t let me spank her either. Funny thing is she is now 16 and a beautiful girl. She wants to be a state trooper when she turns 21. There is not one person who posted on this article that wouldn’t love her.

By the way, no parent really knows what they’re doing. That’s why we apologize frequently and try to do better next time. I am going to be an awesome grandpa. No pushups though.

97 Sasha March 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

Love this. I am sending the link to my daughter’s papa right now :)

I was on the JV girls bball team in high school. Varsity boys practiced right after us. I would often stay and do the drills with them because I loved the challenge. It made me a better player. I think girls can do lots of things boys can.

cheers

98 Mitzy March 28, 2010 at 5:09 am

Love this, feel like it was written by my father. Thanks to him I do push-ups like a pro.

99 Citly April 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Loved the post!

Shmikey, I think the problem here is you think too much about things – and since the rest of us don’t know the process, it’s much harder to see things from your prespective, and even when you explain yourself, it doesn’t always make much sense to me. However, as they say… Even though I disagree with everything and anything you have to say, but I’d fight to the death for your right to say it. Variety is the spice of life.

Lisa, Lea, and Kat – right on, ladies!

My dad, bless him, didn’t push me to be girly or boyish. He taught me not to be afraid of anything, and not to let anyone, be it man or woman, walk over me. He trained me to beat up the class bully, and I promise you that boy never bothered anyone again. He also did most of the cleaning and cooking, and was extremely romantic to my mom.
My mum, on the other hand, taught me how to be girly, but also that being girly can be painful (killer heels and leg wax, anyone?). She taught me that as a girl, you have to work harder to be respected. She taught me to be independent, because she wouldn’t be with me forever, and I’d have to take care of myself one day. And it was my ultra-femenine mother who taught me that traditionally male subject I so love: math.

I was the girly girl in ballet class, fixing my hair and trying to steal mum’s makeup — but I also really really wanted a Hot Wheels race track for Christmas and played with my nephews rather than my nieces (I’m the youngest cousin, so they’re my age).
Now, I’m one of the few females in my college classes – I’m going for Civil Engineering. I can hold my own against the guys, because I have the smarts and guts to do it. I’m a martial artist, and I love roughing around with the guys, and yet I can still out dance the lot of them. I’m happy in both work boots and pink dresses, and more importantly, I’m happy being just who and what I want to be.

And Shmikey, as for guys wanting to be the hero… I understand that. Now you have to understand that some of us don’t want to be rescued.
It’s true independent women don’t have as many guys falling for them. But look at the men we do have. I don’t have a knight in shining armor protecting me. I have a prince who knows not only how to fight but how to dance gracefully by my side.

100 Ashley April 14, 2010 at 1:01 am

As much as I truly agree with your stance due to that adorable love for your daughter, I have one thing to refute.
And let me preface by saying that I prided myself for years for having been able to beat my whole 5th grade class except for one boy at arm-wrestling.
“Shouldn’t those same women who fought to be themselves be proud to know that here is a little girl who will grow up independent and tough?”
Honestly, women’s liberation shouldn’t be about being more like man. It should be valuing the true nature of a woman as we come. The truth about women is that yes, we can open doors, be stunt doubles, be corporate dragons, and play good baseball with the men. But our worth should not be derived from being able to do “anything a man can do.” It should be derived from the fact that what we do, we do well, and with good purpose. Even if a woman’s persona is barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen– honor that. It’s all we ask.

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