Mike Snyder-Barker Says Fathers Can Help Reduce Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is always a tricky subject for men and fathers. Though it is a fact that men are also victims of domestic violence, it is under-reported and hard to track actual cases and statistics. Obama’s got a figure for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, saying that “one in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.” I’d bet that the number for men is higher – because men don’t consider being slapped or pushed as an act of domestic violence. And if a man were to call the police after being slapped by a woman, I’m sure the first question would be “what did you do to get slapped?”
In any event, Mike Snyder-Barker has an interesting run-down on the Daily Telegram about how fathers can help reduce domestic violence. The beginning of the article is kind of the standard DV talk of “don’t beat your wife in front of your kids.” Okay, check. Got it.
But Snyder-Barker brings up an interesting point that many of us might forget: “When you tell a boy, ‘You throw like a girl,’ this is a significant put-down to a boy,” says Snyder-Barker. “Why is this a significant put-down for a boy to be called a girl? Obviously being a girl has less value than being a boy. Why else would this be used as a put-down?”
Now we’re onto something.
Snyder-Barker looks at it from the other side as well. If your daughter hears you telling your son that he ‘throws like a girl,’ then your daughter as well gets to thinking, consciously or not, that she’s less of a person, just for being a woman. Not cool.
The more colloquial equivalent I think would be a father telling a son he’s “acting like a bitch” or “crying like a bitch.” Again, this is a hateful and unacceptable insult at any age, but on a son that’s developing gender roles and equality in his head, you’re basically telling your son “don’t act like a woman because women are less.” And let’s take the word “bitch” back to its etymology – you’re using an insult that refers to women as dogs, and then applying it to a boy. So it’s really more of a horrible insult than we treat it – it insults the boy as if he’s a girl and the girl as if she’s a dog. No one wins.
I think that the interesting discourse came far too late in this article – and while it’s always important for a father to be mindful of the way he treats his wife, ex-wife and/or mother of his children, I think the real meat of this article comes with Snyder-Barker’s look at how people use gender in insults.