Dennis Knight

Dennis Knight
Whittier, California, USA
December 31
I'm the typist of those little labels you find in the pockets of your new trousers.
I own several ant farms, but the little fellas haven't produced a single crop.


DECEMBER 15, 2009 9:39AM

What’s Wrong with Women

Rate: 60 Flag
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I realize I’ll be accused of pandering to women by writing this. My belief is that women are neither stupid nor naive enough to be so easily beguiled.

Yes, I’m responding to some recent articles. I’m also offering my perspective as a father, a brother, and a man who has been deeply in love with one woman in his lifetime.

This world would be a barren and desolate place without women. It is your presence that prevents it from becoming wholly cruel, spartan, and austere.

It is the way you are born into this world - not how you are compelled to redesign yourselves - that makes you so beautiful. Women are beautiful because they are women.
When a man seeks to influence a woman with regard to the color of her hair, the size of a her breasts, her choice of clothing, or whether or not she wears make-up, it speaks to a deficiency in the man rather than to any weakness found in the woman.

What sort of arrogance moves a man to critique in this area at all? A male who feels he has the right to meddle in what a woman chooses to be, or how she chooses to appear, is less than a fraction of a man at best.

Our daughters are growing up in what continues to be a patriarchal society. In my country, women were not able to vote until 1920.


Only the “Planet of the Apes” could defend such woefully idiotic prohibitions.

The lies told to women regarding their appearance - and what is most attractive - are ruthless, merciless, and based on billion dollar industries rather than truth.

Your gender needs nothing to improve upon how you are born - except people with the good sense to repeat that fact until it drowns out the lies you hear from the first time you open your eyes.

You bear our children, make our houses into homes, work for unequal wages often while putting forth the lion’s share of the effort. And yet the decisions which govern the most intimate aspects of your life - in many cases - lie in the hands of old white males.

That you would still care as you do, that you would still love as you do, that you would still romance as you do, that you would still seek to understand the male species is a wonder.

Shakespeare said, “Women speak two languages - one of which is verbal.” Whether this is true only a woman knows. But the so-called “challenge” of learning why a woman thinks and feels as she does is one of the most beautiful learning experiences of life.

The kingdom of Earthly life is divided into three parts: female, male, and things.

Seeking to learn the heart and mind of a woman is to see another side of that kingdom and to understand it more fully.

Such “sight” - sometimes referred to as “women’s intuition” - has saved many a man from ruin and destruction while others, who refused to heed the advice, paid a terrible price.

I want my daughter to grow up strong and independent while being fully aware of her symbiotic relationship to men and all living things. I long for her to feel free to make her own decisions, to be who she was born to be, and to never feel she is less than, or subject to the will of, any man.

However, as a teenage girl who is badgered to question whether she is beautiful enough - as is - plus nothing, she can become terrified at the simple thought of going to school without makeup.

I’m not suggesting that women are unable to come to a full acceptance of their natural beauty, invaluable worth, and equal place in this world without the approval of men. I am simply saying all men should offer their unqualified support of women, from the heart - needed or not.

“Of all things upon earth that bleed and grow, an herb most bruised is woman.” -Euripides

The photo is of the wonderful Emily Perkins whom I deeply admire as an actress and as a human being.

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All I can say is Thank You. I wish there were more men who really believed this.
Thank you for writing a "what is right with women" essay in the midst of all the others.
Thank you, Dennis. This reads like a heartfelt letter to your daughter. And I love that line about "an herb most bruised."
I can't help but wonder if you are as great a man as your writing is. I have a feeling that I know the answer. You are. Thank you for this lovely post. With each writing you post, I fall more in love with you....and I mean that in the highest sense. The women in your life are truly blessed.
I think there is something about being a father that softens many men. It is difficult to write an essay like this and not be accused of essentialism, but I see it as an ode to your daughter, to her natural wonder, and to your desire that she not get caught up in an ugly world that tells her she is nothing without a _____ fill in the blank.
May I make a suggestion? I don't know what kind of literature she reads, but subscribe her to BUST magazine. It's a kind of intro to the world of feminism. When you think she's ready, she might read BITCH or MS, but I had a wonderful experience the other day at the mother-daughter book club. We were talking about why beautiful women are seen as stupid and smart women as unattractive, and my 12-year old, who I didn't know was reading my copies of BUST, quoted something from the magazine. I'm buying her her own subscription for Xmas. Yes. There's sex in it. But it's also a magazine about being a feminist and not being ashamed of that fact. It's not a perfect magazine, but it's a hell of a lot better than most of the crap out there right now.
And Dennis? With a dad like you? She'll turn out all right.
dennis, you go right ahead and pander all you want. i'll just keep reading and nodding, okay?

so much of what you write strikes a chord. just when women start to move up on the parity scale (voting, working, wages, etc.), the marketing men who sell what are called beauty enhancement products set their sights on us. i hope i see the beginnings of a backlash. i hope i do.

your daughter is so lucky she has a father like you. it's a rare thing. and we're lucky such a good writer is among us. that's pretty rare, too. thank you.
Dennis... thank you. I hesitate to say that I had tears in my eyes as I read this, because I might come of as being a wuss, but this spoke to something deep in the core. I have more to say, about daughters and mothers and friends. But "Thank You" will have to suffice for this moment. R& (most deeply) A
Thanks, Dennis. Sorry I snarked about your use of "men" in your comment to someone else's post a few minutes ago.

I was put off by some of the recent posts & discussion, about how women are downright vicious while men are merely (loveable) bumbling assholes. Could be we're equal opportunity vicious, but history hasn't given us equal opportunity, and large, deep and wide viciousness is still the province of men. Women can only do small-scale, local, often domestic vicious. However, the Coulters and Palins and Cheneys and Malkins make me think that we're talking *human* here, not gender.

Ooops, so I'm arguing against your thesis, sort of, about the wonderfulness of women. Not really. You're talking gender, but the point is the attitude of the powerful vis a vis the less-so, and pernicious beliefs.
Not sure I agree with everything you say about women...I might be stuck on the symbiotic thing...maybe I am so into being independent that the idea of being symbiotic sticks in my crawl...I had to look up the word, symbiosis again to make sure I'm on track:

1. Biology. a. the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism.
b. (formerly) mutualism (def. 1).

2. Psychiatry. a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement, whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other.

3. Psychoanalysis. the relationship between an infant and its mother in which the infant is dependent on the mother both physically and emotionally.

4. any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc.

I choose number 4! Seems the most healthy. I do not think men and women are as different as we are led to believe. We are all human. Enough said about what I think other than to say, what you have posted is a beautiful and thoughtful attempt at championing women through appreciation for women in their natural state - mentally and physically. Thanks.

I am responding to this post but almost wrote you a PM when you voiced concerns about your daughter on another post. I am the mother of a daughter too and I will respond by saying that you can have what you hope:

"I want my daughter to grow up strong and independent while being fully aware of her symbiotic relationship to men and all living things. I long for her to feel free to make her own decisions, to be who she was born to be, and to never feel she is less than, or subject to the will of, any man."

I have navigated these waters successfully with a daughter who is now almost 22, about to graduate from a tech institute with a 4 year degree in electrical engineering and minor in management. She has already worked for 2 excellent tech companies during the summers. She has a wonderful boyfriend who is also an engineer and I am resigned to having little nerdy engineering grandkids someday. Neither my daughter or I wear makeup very often. I probably apply makeup 5-10 times a year...I raised my daughter by attempting to lead by example in all things womanly and human.

Even with the onslaught of so much superficiality and not much tending to what should really be valued in humans, hearts and minds...what is inside...a young girl can get through difficult teens to successful adult with love, care, guidance and parenting like yours.

JK is right on...women need to band together and appreciate each other because we are sisters, mothers, daughters and friends to each other as women. Using definition number 4. women are also symbiotic with each other and it should be a beneficial relationship no matter what the relation.

I did not mean to highjack your post but your post and comments I have read by you have been very thought provoking for me. Thank you!! R
I'm so glad chance brought me to your blog- and I feel enriched by reading your writing. Unfortunately, it's not only men but I've seen in my life that occasionally women can also be each other's worst enemies. Fortunately those are few and none on OS .
Because of the constant barrage of negative commercials and magazine articles dealing with a woman's (and young girl's) appearance, it is so important that the men in their lives (fathers/brother/boyfriends/husbands) constantly reinforce that they are "beautiful." Of course, most women could never reach the standards of a super model, but they need to be told that they don't have to. Starting when a girl is very young, parents (especially fathers) must be aware of the need to infuse self confidence on a daily basis. This does not just apply to appearance, but to all aspects of human growth -- intelligence, emotions, physical strength. Females have walked in the shadows for so long, it will take a powerful light for them to see themselves in a positive light. I have often joked that I don't want to be equal, I've been superior since birth. Maybe not so much of a joke -- it's my mantra and it's given me the strength I've needed to succeed whenever I felt the scales were out of balance.
And I thought I was the only one who loved me even with all my physical imperfections! {sniff, sniff}
Thanks Dennis--you're a prince!
Dennis Knight. My O day

If You were a swine hog
(but you are not a bore)
a drone dang-lazy-boar
(but you are no oink ho)
a rabid cat, jackal-hyena
a physics professor, huh
a t-ball `lil squirt coach?
Ya got women to swoon!
I Hope Ya no get threats!
You know. Death threats!
I was always calling a woman a women. I never knew woman was one, and women was two!
Thanks to Ya I no woman!
I never knew a 'e'- was two!
If I had one women I swoon!
Ask a Mennonite preacher?
okay. Hay. If Ya save 2-gal?
I mean - two women. 1-gal?
Please save One for farmer.
I gotta go to a office party.
I hope I find one woman.
One for Dennis Knight. 2.
Well said, my friend. Well said.

I think one of my most memorable moments in life was when I first saw Jamie Lee Curtis sans makeup doing a talk show. How she said she was tired of this image that was being foisted upon women and wanted them to see that you can be beautiful without all the window-dressing. How right she was.

I share your concerns, as well. I want my daughter to grow up respecting herself, being happy with who she is and how she looks. I want her to feel perfect as is, because in my mind she is. As is her mom.

*Stands and applauds, looks around to make sure the other guys are doing it too*

Highly rated. This better make the cover, Kerry/Thomas. At the VERY least give it an Editor's Pick.

This is a beautiful post and very poetic. Your love and admiration of women speaks volumes about you as a rare, confident male. I would believe that you had or have a very good relationship with your mother by the way you speak with such wisdom and empathy about women.
You are the best kind of husband and father. Your daughter is so lucky to have you for her's and will have deeper awareness and a positive self image as well as the potential for a positive relationship with men, as she surely does already.

Loved this post and your ability to give women such a heartfelt look
at themselves from a very healthy male perspective. Good on you, Dennis!

Side note: It's a funny thing for me, but it was my mother, whom I loved and adore, who first gave me my first self depracating glimpse into my self image. She told me when I was about 12 or 13, that I was very plain, like a blank canvas and that I would always need make up and lipstick to be attractive! Can you imagine?! She really meant no harm, but I have never forgotten what she said. However, I have never been one to wear much makeup at all, starting out as a major tom-boy and athletic type growing up, I had no use or want for it. I prefer a natural look and it's a lot less maintenence, expense and wear and tear on my skin. Just plenty of moisturizer, lots of sleep and water...more water!

Thanks for this uplifitng and intuitive post!
A lovely post, Dennis.

"she can become terrified at the simple thought of going to school without makeup"

Makeup, especially at this age, is a kind of armor. It's like putting on a new suit and polishing your shoes. I grew up with a father who is anti-make up and a mother who would put on lipstick before going into surgery. This made me look at what makeup is and what it means for me. I think the cosmetic industry (and the media) are at fault for pushing the idea that you are less without it, or not beautiful unless you wear it. And I think it's Victorian to believe that makeup falsifies you. We see many primitive societies paint or adorn their face and body all the time. They use makeup to enhance their beauty, or to put on the spirit of animal or god. It is a kind of folk art, if you will. and a kind of armor. So, I think wearing makeup is natural. I think we have this urge to believe in the power of magic, for makeup is a kind of magic. And makeup is fun. With any kind of practice and study, one can learn the art.

And I think it wonderful that you tell your daughter that she's beautiful without makeup. She needs that to combat the messages she gets from the makeup industry.
You are my new world leader.
Thanks for this. This doesn't feel like pandering to me; it feels genuine and appreciative and smart. Thanks.
This is a great piece - wish there were more like you.

But you know, it does beg the question -- why the focus on beauty? ie; are we beautiful with/without makeup or with/without the approval of men. Do men worry about whether they are beautiful? No. So, why should we? But then, men worry about whether they are virile enough, big enough, last long enough instead. And all of it - ALL of it - based on billion dollar industries. Exploit human weak spots. Offer the solution. Take it to the bank. Kind of sad, really.

Great writing. Rated, as always.
P.S. -- I like that you have Heifer on your blogspot.
Thank you for your kindness. I believe there are more men than believed yet far less than should be. But I love a challenge.

That was the goal and I’m grateful you mentioned it. Thank you very much.

It was a combination of ideas. There are women I deeply respect on this site and in real life. They don’t need my voice but I want them to know they have it. My daughter has more than a good chance of seeing a different world provided women and men work together to give it to her and her sisters around the world.

I am far less a man than any writing of mine would tempt people to believe. But I work on that deficiency daily and hope to narrow the gap some day. Thank you for your generous remarks.

Lorraine flw,
I agree with you about fatherhood transforming some men. I would add that dating, courtship and marriage does a number on many of us as well. Not to mention parents who lived out an example of equal respect and admiration. Thank you so much for your kind comments and for your suggestion about the magazine. I will definitely follow up on that.

I fear the world would be in trouble if there were but I thank you with all my heart for the kind words. I really appreciate you suggesting “The Magdalene Moment.” Your comment was anything but disjointed. It read far more like “heartfelt.”

You have?! Where??!! Your words “true beauty” are really at the heart of my post. All else is smoke and mirrors and fleeting. Thank you for your kind words.

You’re very welcome.

I will indeed :) I grieve that what you say is all too true. One step forward leads to the inevitable expectancy of several steps back. But we can change this. I really believe we can. I am all about the backlash you described. Thank you for your encouraging words.

You are anything but a wuss. That’s evident. So your tears are admired. I cannot begin to know what it must be like to be a woman in the midst of a predominately patriarchal world - but as I said to femme, I believe we can change this for those that follow. Thanks so much CK and BAM :)

Well, thank you for your kind words but truthfully “only one” me is a thing of great relief to anyone who knows me. And I have many men friends (not just male) who share these beliefs. Have hope.

Thanks for your kind words. My answer is it’s owed to everyone who has cared to speak into my life and to leave me with such wonderful examples, starting with my father and mother and on down the line.

No apologies necessary. Those posts rankle the hell out of me too. Part of the price of liberty and free speech is that some folks leave the drinking fountain soiled and crappy for the next folks in line. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.

Number 4 was my meaning :) Thank you so much for the encouragement I draw from how you have raised your own daughter. My daughter is being raised by only one parent - me - and so I wonder and stand amazed at how wonderful she is turning out despite this fact. You did not in any way hijack the post. I love the comments and always appreciate the thoughtful replies.

Thank you for your kind remarks. It is strange how often some who are immediately affected by bias find themselves on the wrong side of the struggle. I appreciate OS for the same reasons you listed.

Thank you for your words and insights. I think the super model standard you mentioned is a facade. That’s the real problem. Images are rarely what they seem. It is unattainable because it is false at its core. Then there is the problem of appearance versus character. The most beautiful people I have met make the impression by their deeds and words. It is almost proverbial that someone previously thought to be beautiful becomes instantly ugly upon opening their mouth.

Thank you for your very sweet and kind comment. Imperfections are anything but. They are almost always the things we would wish to have back in a heartbeat that characterized those who have passed on. And a dark prince if one at all :)

Thank you my friend. There are few things as wonderful as receiving one of your comments on a post. I am grateful for your artistic

You have always struck me as a man’s man. And here you verify that - leaving no room for any one to doubt. We will carry this burden for our daughters and I have absolutely no doubt how yours will turn outwith you as her dad. I know you will understand when I say that the true test of a man is not who he can pummel but how kind and genuinely protective he can be despite living in a violent world. Thank you my friend for your supportive words.

No one has yet accused you of pandering. I'll be first.

And having said that, how could anyone not appreciate the spirit of the post.

I would prefer the common notion of BEAUTY to simply disappear. It has been ruined in a way that makes it either meaningless or dangerous. I suppose that I would like women to be able to live beyond beauty in its currently bastardized sense. Men too.

I suppose what I am driving at is that perhaps one would want their daughters to feel acknowledged as people, their ideas important, their value - simply inherent and incalculable. And that conventional ideas of beauty are no more and no less important than the color of a cell phone or the paint on an automobile. They exist and can't be denied, but they can be considered appropriately.

Good writing, as usual. Rated for pandering.
"What sort of arrogance moves a man to critique in this area at all? A male who feels he has the right to meddle in what a woman choses to be, or how she choses to appear, is less than a fraction of a man at best."
Thank you for stating so well what has long concerned me. We are fearful creatures and clutch at any straw that gives us supposed strength. Some of us strive to resist the temptation to do so.
Dennis - I too, raised my daughter completely by myself, from her birth. I will assure you that sometimes, it is much better that way and less confusing for the child. I can tell you are a wonderful, considerate and devoted father. Sometimes, in 2 parent families, the children don't get half the attention one good parent can give. Also, don't be too concerned that you are a man raising a female child, you are already leading by a fantastic example as an adult and guide for her...sounds like you are both lucky to have each other and the abundance of love generated in your father-daughter relationship.
ultimately we are not men and women or even men or women, we are individuals as different as snowflakes and in the grand scheme of the universe, just as fragile and short lived. Like snowflakes we carry our similarities and from a distance all seem to be about the same. When examined closely we see that each is alone to itself, the sum of all others. I told my daughters that people matter not genders, I didn't mislead them about injustice or inequality, just that when we line up on sides our strengths are cut as well. Fairness and equality is for us all and anything less does an injustice to someone and that is what is truly intolerable for me. Good piece.
I am so glad I read this today. It touched me and I'm grateful to know there are fathers like you in the world.
I am so glad I read this today. It touched me and I'm grateful to know there are fathers like you in the world.
I felt that so strongly I guess I submitted it twice. Well, I meant it twice. cheers.
As I raise my own two daughters, I can only hope they run into men who appreciate them they in the same way you have so beautifully expressed your love and appreciation for not just your duaghter, but woman everywhere.
Beautiful, Dennis. We live in a culture that objectifies women--and encourages women to objectify themselves. It's awful. I wish every woman knew what you obviously know: that she does not need makeup, hairspray, high heels, or cosmetic surgery to be beautiful. I wish everyone would read this. Rated, appreciated, slanty, bold, and underlined. With a warm Guinness on the side.
Thanks, Dennis, I loved this post.

Regardless of how much appearances still matter, I think we women are making progress, and achieving a higher level of self-reliance and confidence every generation.

I'm so glad my daughter prefers soccer, tennis and the arts to girly stuff and obsession with popular culture and fashion--it enables her to improve skills and ability rather than dwell on what you rightly say doesn't need improvement.

Rated and appreciated.
Not pandering, just stating your mind, and what a mind it is. All people need to be told they are lovable, and they need to be loved. The rest will take care of itself, at least that is the theory. Reality is a little more complex, but you are taking care of your own. Thanks for this love letter to the "fairer" sex.
From one father to another, Amen.
Dennis, this is just beautiful and wonderful and just aren't enough words to say. I'm printing it out to give to my daughters and my younger female clients. Heck, I'm printing it out and putting it in my sons's stockings for Christmas. While I'm at it, I'm giving it to every male and female I know! And every word you write is true.

Having said that, women need to believe this about themselves and OTHER women. The whole plastic surgery debate, the beauty culture myth, etc. etc. Women get to make these decisions, yes, not men. And if I want to get all gussied up, put some highlight in my hair, do my toes and nails, wear something a little daring, a little plunging, put on some red high heeled shoes with some matching lipstick, I want to do that and not be accused of buying into some beauty myth. I do it because it's FUN. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm not saying you are implying that this is not okay, but women judge other women much more harshly than men do. So, yes, men can read this, but my experience with so many men is that they do already get this.

I love the diverse and many choices we women have...I look at the cup not half empty, not half full but overflowing. I take them boldly and if it that offends someone else, then I wish them all the best, but it's not my deal.

As for your beautiful daughter, she'll be just fine. I know it hurts to see that damn pressure being put on her, but it will pass because she has, I'm assuming an incredible mother, and you, a most amazing father. She will be more than fine.

Thank you again for such a wonderful and uplifting are the most kind compassionate person on this site and your posts are always a gift. Thank you.
Dennis, you wicked panderer. Now to pander back. There's something absolutely delicious about your opposed sex. Sorry, opposite. And, tell your daughter to take that makeup off forthwith! Such beauty as youth has needs no further adornment (vague quotation, remembered badly).
I'm no write. I cannot express my thoughts with this kind of eloquence, but If I could, I would echo these words to all the women in my life (and the men too, come to think of it).
that should be "writer" (see I told you)
Thank YOU. On the topic of physical dream for all women is that they are as comfortable being seen in sweats and hair wet from the shower, without make up, as they are when they are inspired to adorn themselves with lip gloss and high heels. It is all beautiful...I have only loved one woman deeply, and whether in overalls for a day of hanging out, or an evening gown and hair done up, for a special event, she was exquisite. xox
AMEN!! To everything you have said. Oh so true..
1920. Yes, think of it....I was born 29 years later. Only 29 years. Thanks for touching the truth so cleanly. Seeing people as people is a good thing. Hopefully we can all learn to do this better.
Well-thought and well-said. rated.
And although I am gay, I am symbiotic with men in so many ways. I have a father, a brother, have had male bosses, male friends, some of the food I buy is farmed by males, a man rang me up at the store yesterday, and my favorite writer in all the world, Tom Robbins, is a man. Then there is all I have learned, good and bad, from men about my male self. So, symbiotic, absolutely. Brave of you to say. xox
I gotta use this on a chick some day.

Just kidding (sort of).

I am the father of a daughter and I share your desire that she be free of all the sexist and materialistic ugliness that so pervades our culture. On the other hand, I will not deny to her (if she asks) that men and women often approach relationships and sexuality differently and that NEITHER approach is superior.

There seems to be some sentiment here that women possess a depth of sensitivity or capacity for compassion greater than that of men. And when I look at what has transpired in the world - as women (thankfully) have reached higher levels of influence in business and government - I realize that women can be just as greedy, shortsighted, warlike and self-serving as men. I do not see women in the Congress nor in the corporate boardroom doing anything more than their male counterparts to make the world a more sane and safe place.
Jon Harris, you make an interesting point and I've largely agreed with your view (as in absolute power corrupts absolutely).

However, Kristoff and Wudunn, two new york times pulitzer prize winners argue in their new book that statistically women do, over all, make "unique" and arguably "more humanitarian" contributions when they are in positions of power around the world. You might want to check out their conclusions, whether or not you agree with them.

I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton, so I was more than prepared to disagree, but they provide some compelling (and statistically backed) arguments that are beyond cw on the subject. Worth looking into.

This article is rated for uncommon amounts of kindness.
I gotta use this on a chick some day.

Just kidding (sort of).

I am the father of a daughter and I share your desire that she be free of all the sexist and materialistic ugliness that so pervades our culture. On the other hand, I will not deny to her (if she asks) that men and women often approach relationships and sexuality differently and that NEITHER approach is superior.

There seems to be some sentiment here that women possess a depth of sensitivity or capacity for compassion greater than that of men. And when I look at what has transpired in the world - as women (thankfully) have reached higher levels of influence in business and government - I realize that women can be just as greedy, shortsighted, warlike and self-serving as men. I do not see women in the Congress nor in the corporate boardroom doing anything more than their male counterparts to make the world a more sane and safe place.
Boy can I think of a ton of men (and women) who need to read this!
Though you don't seem the type , we need someone with your sensitivity and intellect like in the highest seats of politics, then we might have an ethical government on this planet. Then we could rest awhile. I have a beautiful teenage daughter like you, for whom the mirror seems to be an enemy. The rest of us pale in the reflection it is so beautiful. Thanks also for recognizing the value of our intuition. The women who have you in their life are extremely lucky!
(Virtual standing ovation)

Great article. In an age when stupid but powerful white men are doing their dead-level best to return women to their pre-1920 status as four-tenths-of-a-man, it's great to see a man, a father no less, modeling respect for women. Hopefully your daughter's male classmates will follow suit. Rated.
I will share this with others. Your daughter will have a security few women may ever know.
Thank you for you very generous comments and kind words. You touched on something I’ve noticed many times and that's’ the powerful effect that mother’s have upon their daughters. One positive word or one careless word can have a lifelong impact. I have seen the effect of my words in my relationship with my daughter but there seems to be a distinctly female to female influence that mothers have upon their girls. Thank you for sharing Cathy and for the insight.

You stated the case so well. I admire you coming to such sound reasoning having had opposing points of view taught to you when you were young. I believe a woman should always feel absolute freedom to choose for herself - especially from the men in her life. How it became anyone’s business but her own is a marvel to me. But it is worse still when pressure from either side of this argument is exercised upon a woman in order to make her feel she must conform. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment.

If this be the case. abandon hope all ye who enter here! :) Thanks for your reply.

It definitely was not pandering :) But that stop rarely stops the biased from finding it where it does not exist. Thank you for your kind words.

ranting boomer,
You hit the nail on the head. My motive in this piece was to show the ugliness of coercion to conform outwardly when there is so much inherent beauty without and within. Thank you for your comment.

Well thanks. I would have been grieved if no one had accused me of it. Your last paragraph says it all. I’m often reminded of playing “blind” when I was young and how much more “visible” virtues like kindness, compassion, and love were when the visible distractions were set aside. Thanks for a really insightful remark.

I’m wholly with you on resisting that temptation with all my might. If the roles I’m convinced there would be riots. Thanks you for such kind words.

Thank you sir. I appreciate it.

No. It never is. Heartfelt and true are the acid tests. Thanks.

Thank you again. I really appreciate all you shared about your daughter and yourself. It really bring lots of encouragement. I’m extremely fortunate to have a great daughter who has an amazing capacity to understand and tolerate an all too often lame and obtuse father. She practices with a sack of hammers :)

Thank you for such an insightful comment. That’s the balance isn’t it? To see people equally while striving to insure they are actually and practically so. I really appreciate your words.

You made me smile. Thank you so much for your kind supportive words.

I am absolutely certain your daughters will find the men you hope they will. You powerful example and values have insured that for them. Thank you for such a kind comment.

I was hoping you’d show up. You’re aware of how much I value you, your writing, and your opinion. I’ll take you up on that warm Guinness and say a grateful thanks for your kind reply.

Dr. Ayala,
You’ll smile to know my daughter is very much leaning toward becoming a vegetarian. Much of her youth she was not with me full time. Now I propagandize her regularly :) I really appreciate your comments regarding your daughter and the things you long for her to value most. I hope to communicate and demonstrate the importance of those internal virtues to my kid as well. Thank you for your gracious words.

Thank you very much for seeing and commenting the heart in this piece. It is so true that everyone needs to be loved and know they are lovable. The e rest really can fall into place if that is true and if it is not the battle is so much harder.

That’s what I love to heart. Thanks man.

I absolutely concur with your answer. I purposely did not post my title with a question mark believing that people would read it however they were most disposed to. Thank you very much for your comment.

You’ve touched on the central point. That anyone feels the freedom to seek to influence a woman’s decisions or worse yet to pressure or coerce her is unspeakably arrogant. If we truly love we respect the autonomy of each person over their own life. You know all too well that such pressures come in sheep's clothing when in reality they wolves within. Thank you very much for your incredibly generous words.

Wicked yes. Panderer rarely :) The whole point is, that after telling my daughter how gorgeous she is (and she is) I butt the heck out and leave those decisions to her. Thank you much for your comment.

Thank you for your encouragement. And don’t worry about the typos. Welcome to my world :)

Thank you for your kind words and for the perspective you added. Acceptance and love are gender and lifestyle neutral - or should be. I think the pressure that women have felt for ages is felt all the more by women in the gay community - from many more sides.

Thank you for your kind comment.

Don’t go blowing smoke up my skivvies dear. You know I’m a chauvinist pig at heart ;)

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your comment.

Well, the trouble is, many guys do “use” these words on women and that’s where so much distrust is born. Lip service to equality and respect is a spectre of what is needed.

Generalizations are dangerous things. It’s always wiser to deal in specifics rather than painting with the broad brush in matters like these.

There may be many women who far excel their male counterparts in seeking to make the world safer just as there may be many men who are not nearly as affected by greed as some women at the same workplace.

But to deny that as potential or actual child bearers many if not most women experience a perspective on life that is not common to men - im addition to their uniquely female perspective is shy of plain truth in my opinion. Thank you for your comment.

Thank you. I appreciate your kind words and your insights offered from the the Kristoff and Wudunn book.

Thanks for your very gracious reply. I’ll take writing over politics any day. I’m convinced that the power of influence (words) is far greater than the power to command (authority). It makes me smile to read of your affection for your daughter.

Thank you very much for your kind reply.
Um, yep. What Dennis said.

Nicely stated. Well done.
Thanks for your really kind reply. It’s true the hounds are always at the gates seeking to reverse any good that’s been done. I hope like heck my daughter finds a great guy who appreciates her as he should. I like your nickname.

Thank you so much. I’m really grateful to hear you feel you can share this.

TBL4 (L.),
Thank you for such kind words. Though I’m sure you’d have hated me as your dad ;) The decision you spoke of is what I hope all men will affirm and support a woman in every way they can.
Thank you. We should hear it again and again, until we too choose to believe it. For I know we should take the first step. Rated.
Your daughter and all the other women in your life are very lucky.
I thought my husband and only a few special others felt this way. So glad to know there are more of you out there. Thank you.
Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments.

Thank you for your comment. I agree this is something we should always hear speaking in our hearts.

Thanks very much for such a gracious reply.

There really are more than it may seem. And I trust the numbers will continue to increase. Thanks so much for your kind words.
Lovely post. I bet women love you.
Dennis, you recently commented on one of my blogs. (thank you, by the way, for that), and I don't know how you found your way to me, but I am most appreciative, because it led me back to you and this wonderful piece.

As a daughter of a wonderful father myself, I can tell you that someday, when your daughter is all grown up (probably sooner), she will daily cherish having had the support you gave her in her formative years. My father always made me feel I could accomplish anything I set out to do. Being a girl played no part in my life's potential. What I looked like had no bearing on my future.

Having a father like you gives your daughter the greatest chance of choosing a life partner who will respect and love her for who she is, because you have taught her what that feels like. I know I found an amazing man to share my life with, because I was able to recognize it from my father's example. Your daughter is a very lucky girl, indeed.

Well done, Dennis. Thank you.
"I want my daughter to grow up strong and independent while being fully aware of her symbiotic relationship to men and all living things."

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much. Here's to your daughter realizes that she is amazing and beautiful just the way she is. (It will happen soon, I assure you. Just maybe not in high school.)
Thank you for this loving tribute to all women through the women in your life. You are a man blessed with daughters.
I believe that women could be the saving of us all if--worldwide--resources and respect were laid in their hands.
Thank you,
Thank you for your very thoughtful and reflective comment. I grieve reading that you have suffered so much at the hands and viciousness of men. I’m always amazed when any soul who has been violated and abused is able to overcome those challenges and retain any sort of charity towards those similar to their offenders. I admire you for being able to do so.

The title was actually left ambiguous intentionally. I wanted to make my own thoughts and feelings clear in the body of this piece. I did not feel what I wanted to say could be fairly summarized in a sound bite. I truly appreciate all that you had to say.

Thanks you so much for your very kind reply. I wholly agree with you. That is one of my hopes in writing pieces like this. I think the power of influence and example can aid in enraging the much deserved respect greatly. The resources are something I long to see, and have tried to be active to see, furnished abundantly.
Ooops! Sorry I missed three of you! Duh.

Thank you for your kind comment. Don’t bet the farm :)

Thank you for that. I’m grateful you feel it will be something she would profit from.

I really loved the post on your blog. It’s one of the most moving I’ve ever read on a topic like that.

I really appreciate all you had to say about your dad and your relationship with him. It gives me tremendous hope. My daughter is lovely and brilliant and her dad can be dumb as a post and as sensitive as a falling rock. Your encouragement is very much appreciated. Thank you.
This was beautiful and something our daughters need to hear as well ourselves. We are our own worst critic and it only takes a look or suggestion from a man that fuels that. I wish there were more men that truely felt and acted that way. Your words brought tears to my eyes.
Dennis, you are my new hero. Your daughter is a lucky lady to have such a supportive man in her life.
Dennis, thank you for this beautiful, poignant post. Your insightful understanding of women's importance in the world is both refreshing and uplifting.
Anne - you really nailed it when you said that it only takes a suggestion to fuel doubts in most of us. Thank you for your kind words.

Ash - I’m not entirely sure my kid would agree. Depends on the day you ask her :) But thank you so much for your encouragement. Truly.

Karin - Thank you for such generous remarks. I really appreciate all you had to say very much.
Thank you Dennis. Your post is filled with wisdom and compassion. All the comments are well put and I find that I have little to offer outside of these. One possible exception would be to thank you for your model as a considerate male and an extraordinary human being. I need all I can get of these things.
Thanks for this, Dennis. You remind me of my father, one of the good guys. We need more like you.