Dear Daddy, Please Forgive Her: A Response To CARE Norway

CARE Norway, a feminist organisation, recently released a viral video on YouTube dubbed “Dear Daddy.” The video is a quintessential example of the politics of victimhood and the demonization of men. It repeats a number of feminist talking points, including the idea that being a woman in the west is one of the most dangerous things in the world (!), that drunken sex is the equivalent of sexual assault, and the idea that jokes and “lad banter” lead to violence against women. Deion Kathawa of the College Fix responds below. 

Dear Dad,

Please forgive her. She must have gotten those unhelpful, bleak, misanthropic ideas from that Ms. magazine I saw her reading. I took it from her right away. I must not have been quick enough.

It is true, Dad, that some of my friends call girls derogatory names, and that isn’t right. I try to tell them when I can that it isn’t appropriate, but usually they don’t listen to me.

But everyone is mean to everyone, Dad—not just the boys to the girls. Girls will often say rude things to a boy who has a crush on them, who is honestly just doing the best he can, in the best ways he knows how, to show them that. They will send horribly mixed signals, and it’s no fun for anyone at all. They call me a “creep.” It stings quite a lot.

Neither one justifies the other, of course, but shouldn’t we all be interested in doing—and being—better people, Dad? Why is everyone so vicious to one another as a matter of course?

It’s always easier to disparage an outgroup—to, in broad strokes, paint them all with the same ugly colors. That’s what she’s done, Dad.

Maybe, just maybe, we should accept that all people have problems, boy and girls alike, and work together to improve things instead of clumsily targeting one half of humanity with pleas containing quite a lot of emotive heft, but very little substance. Maybe we should stop ignoring all of the good both of the sexes do for one another—and have done and will do.

I’m at a party now, Dad. I can see you’d be disappointed in my choice to come here. You’re such a no-nonsense guy. I should be studying or something, I know. But all of my friends are here; it’s a Friday night, and we just finished our exams for the term.

Everyone here is so wasted and dancing so stupidly. It’s dark, and loud, and everyone is bumping into one another or making out in odd places. And the stench: It reeks of beer, and sweat, and hormones, but also of desperation, loneliness, and insecurity. I really just want to leave.

I wish I could explain to all of these people—over the roar of Drake—that their happiness doesn’t lie in impermanent hook ups, no matter how exciting or kinky they are, or how drunk they get. It lies in relationships built upon deep trust, commitment, and self-sacrifice. I wish both sides could see that they are being used by the other solely for pleasure and that there’s nothing lasting or fulfilling to be had here.

She’s just told me she’s been raped. I’m so angry, Dad, you wouldn’t recognize me. That a man—he doesn’t even deserve the designation—that a scumbag would violate a woman is unthinkable to me. It’s beyond comprehension for most of my guy friends as well, and to you, I know.

But not all boys have such good role models to guide them, to teach them to respect women. Some people want to settle for just teaching boys to not rape. I think that’s shameful. We should instead seek to productively channel men’s natural protective instincts and love of majesty and challenge, direct it, toward honoring and respecting women because that’s the right thing to do.

We shouldn’t settle for these half-measures that assume that all men are a “problem” to be solved—brutes who just need to be distracted long enough to not traumatize someone until they finally die.

I just know that if I’d been there, I’d have probably beaten that fool to within an inch of his life, as would just about every man on the planet.

I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t have a lot of time to talk. She’s telling me about the problems in her marriage, as though we all don’t have them—me especially at the moment. A woman whom I love, well, I … don’t think she feels that way about me anymore.

I really don’t know what happened, and I don’t know if it’s my fault. I’ve been staying late at work, trying to provide for her and our four children, sure, and at the end of the day I’m just so tired. So, so tired. And I’ve been irritable because I’m unsure if I’ll be able to make ends meet, what my children will wear, even where we’ll sleep.

I try to keep these things from her because I don’t want her to worry. But the times when I’ve tried to explain things to her, she really just doesn’t want to hear it. She doesn’t really like talking about money. So I just keep quiet.

Dad. … She’s filed for divorce.

And then just like that, in the blink of an eye it seems, she leaves me, and she takes our kids with her. I’m all alone now, Dad, and it’s Christmas, and my family is gone, and I’m just so angry and confused, Dad. How did this happen to me?

She said such horrible, hurtful, false, things about me, Dad, in court. It was like the woman I’d loved for nearly a decade had forgotten. I felt like it was middle school and high school all over again. I just tried to love her as best I could, in the best way I knew how, to show her that. I guess it wasn’t enough.

Everything’s so bleak now, Dad. I’ve taken to drinking quite a bit. You know, after the divorce … after I’d lost my job. I know you used to have some whiskey every now and again to celebrate special occasions. I don’t have special occasions anymore, so I just drink … and drink, and drink, and drink. I wish we could get together to see who could better hold his own. Maybe next Christmas?

I’m sorry, Dad. It’s all just too much. Don’t be sad, though. You did the best you could. But there’s only so much that you could do for your son when the levers of society—the levers you helped to fashion and put into place; the levers that have continuously expanded the franchise to those who were disenfranchised, however slowly; the levers that make modern society possible—turn on you, lock you out, and demonize your very existence.

I wish that more people realized that all people have problems, and that the only way we’ll ever improve anything is that if all people, men and women both, join hands in recognition of our mutual need for one another. I think we’d have a real chance to improve things from that starting point.

Dear Dad: This is my wish. I hope it one day comes true, for all our sakes.

Good bye, Dad. Please forgive her, and forgive me, too. I love you.

Deion Kathawa is a contributor for the College Fix. You can follow him on Twitter


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