DadTalk

What a broken arm taught me about being human…

I was mugged two months ago. Thrown off of my folding bicycle and had my work bag stolen. My elbow and face broke my fall. I was supposed to take the full six week recovery period off from work, but only took four because I feared being made redundant by my hugely capable team.

I’m still recovering, but at least I can drive again. And run. And kind of hold my son. I still can’t cradle him to sleep, or change his diaper because he squirms too much and I don’t have anywhere near the nedded dexterity.

My wife has once again blossomed into another evolution of Wonder Woman, taking on all of the adulting and child rearing responsibilities. It’s the way she copes with all the juggling that still knocks me out. You’d never say she was under strain.

And that’s been one of my biggest lessons: people can deal with major setbacks. 

We all have within us the skills and fortitude needed to elbow out of a terrible situation. My wife, dealing with her personal trauma of seeing her husband arrive at the door covered in blood, simply got on with life. My colleagues, already a staff member down and on a tight deadline, managed to put out two stellar publications.

While I’ll probably never trust my elbow enough to get back into Olympic lifts, I can still run. I ran a 10km race on the weekend with no training. I had to dig deep to keep the legs ticking over at tmes, but reflecting on the personal triumphs over extreme adversity I witnessed all around me after the incident played the biggest part in me actually finishing.

I couldn’t let all the people who rushed to my aid down by punking out of the race. So I ran for them. The music helped, but thinking of the steel built into the human spirit kept me going.

Dadwatching For Amateurs

For all practical purposes, I am a stalker. I stare at strangers in strange lands and I take pictures of them. I’ve travelled through 20 countries in the past two years, photographing moments that – for me at least – say something about what it is to be a human on this planet.

The camera helps me to make sense of the world around me – creating some order amongst the chaos. In the thousands of frames I shot, I began to notice I was becoming drawn to photographing the ideas of masculinity. 

I’ve called the project Manhood For Amateurs. Like any decent artist, I hijacked the idea from another one. I read a book called Manhood For Amateurs by Michael Chabon and duly appropriated the clever title. The for amateurs part speaks to me. I like the idea that manhood doesn’t have to be something to keep scores for, and that mistakes are necessary – if not even essential.    

Manhood is much broader than the magazines that hover around cashier’s tills or the bakkie adverts at halftime on Super Rugby will tell you. And to show how sprawling it can be, I’ve focused on building a spectrum of moments, from the flamboyant and reckless instances to the intimate and tender ones. 

The reckless ones are naturally exciting to shoot: wild fires, smashed glass, caressed guns, clenched fists, mean stares.

The tender ones are harder to catch: brothers staring out of a window together, a father hugging his son on a bench. They’re not screaming, flexing and staring their opinions at you; they’re sharing it between themselves, and you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse.

They’re often between family members. Because of their proximity, our family members have seen us with our guards down. You know, those rare moments when we’re not wrestling bears or downing beers through the eye sockets of the skulls of our enemies. 

Fatherhood has been used to define masculinity. And for the past two years, fatherhood has been a voyeuristic concept for me – something that could make for a good photograph.

In the past two years of making this photography project, the closest I have become to fatherhood was becoming an uncle to my brother’s son and godfather to a close friend’s son – both born within a few days of each other a year ago. Last Saturday both of pairs of young fathers and fresh humans came to the opening of my photo exhibition on manhood. 

The young boys wandered around the gallery – exploring it with the same perplexed wonder as I had while trying to decipher a map written in Armenian or crossing a road in Ho Chi Minh City a few months earlier.

Their fathers hover around them, bent over like hunchbacks as their sons clenched their fingers with their tiny fists. The boys had recently discovered how to walk with the aid of a dangling adult’s limb, and were navigating an alien landscape through forests of giants’ legs.

This was a moment of masculine vulnerability playing in front of me – crouching fathers being dragged around by the whims of their roving, fascinated sons.

I’m trained to see these moments, and I often wait for the cover-up that follows moments of vulnerability. Like when you find yourself realise you look silly so you pull out your phone, stare at it intensely and turn around abruptly and wander off purposely to nowhere in particular. (I can’t be the only one who does this.) 

But it doesn’t happen. And this is something I have noticed from photographing many fathers and sons. There isn’t the expected knee-jerk realignment to Brooding Warrior mode after a tender moment. Not with all fathers, of course, but with a lot of them.

Perhaps it’s because fatherhood is a perpetual moment of vulnerability. Or perhaps it’s because these are fathers and sons in that sacred decade where the father is still a faultless, mythical hero in his son’s supple mind. 

For a moment, I feel envious of that long-forgotten and sanctified closeness. Before I quickly cover it up with a smug thought about how I have a regular sleep cycle.

My expression would have made a good photograph. – Ian McNaught Davis


About the author: 

Ian started work at Men’s Health about a month before me and, sitting next to each other, we formed a strong bond through banter and mutual bullshit calling on the magazine’s subject matter. We’re both intrinsically tied to manhood as it formed such a big part of our careers (he joined that team from GQ and me from FHM), even though we’re not alphas or warriors by any stretch of the imagination. 

He is the godfather to my son, someone I can truly call a friend and a far, far better writer than me. His only flaw is not rushing to join me when there was a vacancy at my Popular Mechanics. He also once gave me a bottle full of his beard clippings.

Catch Ian McNaught Davis’s exhibition “Manhood For Amateurs” at the Grey Area Gallery in the Cape Town Creative Academy in The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock. It runs until the 23rd of September, weekdays 9:00 to 16:00.

See his full protfolio at www.ianmcnaughtdavis.com

 

What getting a deaf dog taught me about leadership

I tried my best to adopt a pet, I really did. But in my experience, simply wanting to do the world some good by bringing an abandoned puppy home to a spacious backyard, loving family and steady flow of treats. Not even having someone at home most days was enough. No. A rescue animal has to sleep inside. So I bought from a breeder.

I chose an Australian cattle dog because the breed isn’t plagued by an extravagant grocery list of ailments. Cattle dogs also don’t go walkabout because they form an intense bond with one person and want to be near that person at all times. This urge manifests itself in stalker-like lurking at windows around the house, staring at me.  

These are in-your-face real dogs. If you kind of like dogs, but don’t have the time or patience to put in the work to mould it into ideal companion: do not get a cattle dog. This breed will test you beyond what you thought possible. The flip side is that I trust Gruff with my children. Entirely. He’s still young and shaping his temper, but I have complete confidence that besides for knocking them over during play he won’t lash out with aggression.

It’s important for me to have that trust because I wouldn’t be able to call him off of a mauling should the worst possible situation happen. You see, Gruff is partially deaf and the sound range that he isn’t partial to includes the human voice.

Deafness does plague the breed. As well as an exceptionally high prey drive, excessive energy levels and supreme stubborness. They also nip at your heels when excited/frustrated/overstimulated – it’s a breed trait that works great for driving cattle, but less so for catching a human’s attention.

Cattle dogs, like people, crave attention and deeply desire a purpose to their lives. Gruff’s purpose, as far as i can define it at his young age, is companionship and protection. The problem is that he wants more compnionship than I am able to give him (my wife won’t let him sleep inside) and is a shit watchdog. The plan is to have him as my running partner when he’s old enough to hit the road – we’ve just acquired a German Sheperd for protection duties.

Training has been frustrating and greatly rewarding so far. I’ve been told that I’m too timid to be a cattle dog owner. Not “Alpha” enough, apparently. But the dog responds to me. 

I’ve learnt that dogs are mostly visual communicators and that you need to project confidence through your body language to get your point across. The new puppy sleeps inside because she’s a new puppy, and this breaks one of the cardinal rules that govern Gruff’s life. So now all the rules are up for breaking and he is trying to push the boundaries. I’ve had to be firm with him, but he has remained loyal and kind throughout.

I’ve learnt that dogs and humans are very similar in their desire to be part of a hierarchy. As long as the leader trusts them to do their job and empowers them to have he best possible chance of success, then all is well in the world. Well, until you break one of the rules. Then all of the rules are up for testing.

The 5 stages of Dadism

Child number two is a game changer. I love both my children, but I must be honest and sat that at the moment I feel stronger for my daughter. The boy is starting to find some personality and is growing on me, but there’s no crushing weight of expectation. Nothing. Zip. Nilch. Which is odd because I was kind of counting on the deeply philosophical bouts of melancholy and feelings of inadequacy to help push me back into exercise.

But it also got me reflecting on the process I went through when my daughter was born. The five steps to the summit of confidence in my abilities as a father.

 

Stage one: the dawn of enlightenment

It’s a suddenly overwhelming feeling. It’s usually around just after you change your third nappy that the flood of emotion washes over you. I remember holding my daughter, looking down at her and realising that everything I do is to ensure that she has the best chance at life. I worked harder, planned better and became a better human because of it. Humans are designed to breed and serve our offspring, imparting everything we know to guarantee the future for them.

 

Stage two: changing the world

Shortly after stage one new dads realise how unfairly weighted the world is. You count your #blessings and realise that all of it came from inexplicable luck. Yes, you make your own luck by acquiring skills that allow you to take advantage of favourable situations, but being granted the opportunity to showcase your skills is pretty much a lottery. Your only goal from then on is to level the playing field. I’ve worked and been interested in content creation for a very masculine market for my entire professional career, so I immediately needed to change my perspective of the world when I found out that my first born was a girl. I consciously started collecting media that depicts or was created by the type of women I would want my daughter to emmulate. I started tearing down the walls of the patriarchy as far as I could. I’m still not done, but I need to tone it down now that I have a boy.

 

Stage three: crushing sense of responsibility

Around the time my wife went back to work and our life settled into a new rhythm, I realised that my decisions had much broader consequences than I first thought. A few drinks on New Year’s eve is the norm, but what if there was an emergency and I needed to cart my family somewhere in a car. Those drinks stop seeming like such a great idea. That’s just one of the uncountable new considerations you have to make as a dad, and all those little things can weigh down on you when the start piling up.

 

Stage four: desparate denial

“But the child will adapt to my life,” you think. You’ll make plans with friends and cart the kid along and carry the stroller up five flights of stairs to spend most of your time rocking a restless infant on the far side of the table because it’s a bit drafty. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to make it out the door before the tummy bug manifests itself in a torrent of projectile vomit, ruining your wife’s new dress that you bought to help boost her body confidence. You’ll endure, until you stop.

 

Stage five: content acceptance

You’re a dad now. Your instagram account is now the storefront to your joy. You take pride in racing the stroller through the aisles while your child shrieks with unadulterated happiness. You finish lollipops. You judge yourself by the number of smiles you can elicit from that unthinkably beautiful face. You can’t praise your wife enough for shouldering the load of early parenthood with such grace and strength. Your personal happiness is now found in cuddles and giggles. You think about the example you are setting and strive to be better every day. Your life moves at a child’s pace, and it’s better that way.

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt 5 of 5)

Team Umizoomi

This is Spawn’s latest obsession and the reason for the delay on this story was from a lack of understanding. Team Umizoomi live in Umi City and help out kids with their super powers. Milli, the eldest, and her younger brother Geo are joined by their friend Bot (a robot) in the adventures and the show encourages the viewer to interact and develop their Super Math Power. Within the team Milli has Pattern Power and can generate any pattern from her dress and two ponytails can grow to measure things, Geo has Super Shape power and can construct anything out of geometric shapes and Bot can stretch his appendages to grab things and the victims call for help on his, bear with me now, Belly Belly, Belly Screen.

There are a lot of things to love about Team Umizoomi and my favourite thing is how much my daughter impresses me with her counting and rudimentary mathematics skills. She’s three and she can multiply or divide by two on even numbers below 10, that’s freaking amazing no matter which way you slice it.  Milli is also a girl and therefore wins major FeministDad points.

The shortcoming
Even with Milli acting as team leader, it’s still hard to deny that Geo got the better deal at the super power gene pool. In a world starved of maths and common sense (some of the scenarios the kids find themselves in is really a product of senseless action), designer patterns have a very limited use. Geo always comes off as the hero because he can build things with shapes while Milli is stuck measuring things and making pretty patterns. For all the good Nick Jr has done to empower girls, I feel the channel executives shat the bed a bit here.

Even worse
Bot is completely self aware and seems to be the only one of his kind, and probably the size of a small mouse. How exactly did Bot’s creator keep his patents and technology away from the military? Or better yet, where is his creator? Also you never see Milli and Geo’s parents or meet anyone who may be part of their species. Then there’s the trolls and the fairies who pitch up all the time. Where the hell is Umi City and how can they support such a wide variety of sentient species without exploitation?

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt 4 of 5)

Bubble Guppies

It’s difficult to recommend a show that simultaneously entertains and stimulates tiny minds, but this gets pretty close. Maths, language, international studies, life sciences, timekeeping, problem solving, shapes and even biology are dealt with in the underwater city of Bubbletucky.

The show follows the exploits of a school class of merpeople. Yes, the so-called Bubble Guppies are merpeople who live among fish and basically get treated like gods. Each episode starts off with Gill and Molly introducing the theme, which is followed by the exceptionally catchy theme song (parents proceed with caution because this tune will get stuck in your head for days). They then go to school and go through the daily routine of playtime, lunchtime and song time.

Topics range from farm trips to construction and are deeply woven into the episode story line. The Guppies act out stories relating to the topic with morals or lessons at the end of each. It’s like all the best bits of school packaged in a really engaging way. My favourite episode included Ballet Ninjas – a concept so radical that I’m still scraping bits of my blown mind off the lounge walls.

The shortcoming.
The Guppies’ teacher, Mr Grouper, is a fish. And we’re supposed to believe that a fish is infinitely smarter than the merpeople. Also, you never meet any of the Guppies’ parents or figure out the history of the city.

There’s also the uncomfortable situation where the role-playing is based on concepts that sea dwellers have no possible knowledge of. Like the Pyramids of Giza, for instance. What do merpeople know about that?

Even worse
Nonny is the nerdy Guppies, the audience knows this because he wears glasses and knows a lot about many things. Now I’m no expert on merperson anatomy, but I’m pretty sure his allergies (another stereotypical nerd trait, just so you know he isn’t the star quarterback) wouldn’t manifest in his nasal accent. Dude you breathe water, science says it isn’t possible.

Beyond that Nonny is also slight of build and appears inherently weaker than the other male Guppies. With society already conditioned to laugh at nerds and geeks (looking at you Big Bang Theory) and not embrace them for the heroes and leaders they truly are (Iron Man, for example), I find it disturbing that such a great kid’s show will reinforce the idea. Think I’m making mountains out of molehills? Do some research on the episodes Nonny stars in, they all highlight his weaknesses. The inspiration for my rage is an episode where his glasses break and then much fuss is made about how terrible his vision is — the lesson is about the 5 senses, but they could’ve used a different delivery.

I feel your pain Nonny.

Posted from the trenches

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt 3 of 5)

Sofia the First

Strong female lead characters are an important criteria when choosing movies and TV shows for Spawn and that’s why this list is mostly populated by “girly” content. But think about it, consumerism is designed for girls. Get past the superheroes (who are technically all the same character anyway) and you’ll realise that there’s more narrative variety for girls. In Sofia the First, for instance, there’s a single mother who falls in love with and ultimately marries a king. The show then follows the exploits of her daughter who now needs to integrate herself into a step family and a royal lifestyle, while seeking the acceptance of her two new siblings and trying to balance her old peasant friends with forging strategic royal acquaintances from other kingdoms.

Sofia is gifted the magical amulet of Avalor by her stepfather, a talisman that grants its wearer a blessing or curse for each deed performed. Naturally the shows producers use this as a moral compass for the story arc and the ever graceful, friendly and helpful Sofia receives mainly blessings in the form of the ability to speak to animals and morph into mermaid form from all her good deeds. The curses are few, but serve as important lessons. When she’s chosen to sing the anthem at a festival and Sofia gets overwhelmed by celebrity, she boasts to her friends and promptly gets a frog in her throat that only disappears once she has made amends with her friends.

Since this show only exists to bridge a generation gap and introduce a new wave of consumers to Disney’s legacy princess merchandise (so they can sell decades old DVDs at premium rates), there’s a plot wrinkle that allows a famous princess to appear whenever Sofia is in a desperate situation. I can live with Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Belle, but I freak out a little when the traditional damsels in distress like Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) arrive to popularise their “someday my prince will come” propaganda.       

The shortcoming
The palace sorcerer Mr Cedric is comically evil, but needs Sofia’s amulet to complete his nefarious plan for world domination. While every story needs a good villain, Mr Cedric is possibly the kakkest embodiment of evil ever represented in a Disney show. Granted, this programming is pitched at 6-year-olds, but still. Also, Sofia never realises that he is actually trying to manipulate her. He once turned into a sea monster, with his Raven sidekick in tow as a squid and the girl still wasn’t suspicious that the monster looked and sounded like the sorcerer she knows and was even using a lifeboat from the floating palace.

All this blissful ignorance really undermines the image Disney has sculpted around Sofia’s charming mix of street smarts and intelligence. My daughter is 3 and can identify me in my baby pictures, I think the magic kingdom needs to use her on their test panel.

 
Even worse
I realise that the show’s longevity depends on Sofia and Cedric’s Road Runner and Wile E Coyote relationship, but there’s a bigger elephant in the room that needs some attention. So unless the kingdom of Enchancia has some seriously ahead of their time doctors, Sofia needs a biological father.

Was he an alcoholic? Were he and Miranda high school sweethearts? Was Miranda then shunned by her family for the illegitimate child? If he was killed in battle, there’s a whole chapter of Enchancia war history that I’m really interested in.

I like to imagine an episode where Sofia’s dad shows up, leading a revolution intent on overthrowing the crown and taking back his family.
     

      

Posted from the trenches

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt. 2 of 5

The crazy dad with way too much time on his hands and an almost unhealthy obsession with his daughter’s media consumption is back with another chapter to the tale of good value tot TV. Today my sights are locked on Disney Junior, or DSTV channel 309. Check out my Dora the Explorer ramblings in part 1.

Doc McStuffins
You wanna talk about a layered TV show? Try an African American family who live in a leafy suburb where the mother is a doctor and the father is a stay-at-home dad. Dottie, the daughter and eldest child is “Doc” whose mother gave her a set of doctor’s tools of which the stethoscope brings her toys to life. You know where it’s going from here… She fixes toys, documents their ailments in the Big Book of Boo Boos, gives check ups and pretty much does the usual kid thing where they emulate their parents — I, for instance, can’t open up a laptop in Spawn’s presence without going 12 rounds with a toddler who wants to “work”.

The beauty of Doc McStuffins however are the plot lines. Everything is a metaphor. My favourite episode is when Rita the Cheetah comes to visit and all the toys don’t want to play with her because they think she suffers from mystery pocks (one of the other toys had mystery pocks in an earlier episode; it ended up being paint and was cured with the advanced medical technique called hand washing). So Rita the Cheetah is from Africa, plus poorly understood disease equals metaphor for AIDS. The moral of this episode was all about understanding each others differences.

The show is packed with similar themes and plots, scores extra points for the feminist angle and has almost cured my daughter of any doctor fears. But there’s one thing that bugs me.

The shortcoming:
Every show needs comic relief and usually it’s up to the feisty black woman to be just that. Don’t believe me? Tyler Perry made an entire career out of flogging that old horse. Now remember this is a show about an upwardly mobile African American family who all speak without a hint of common accent. How do they inject some humour? They give the most obviously black female character a thick southern drawl and a no nonsense attitude.

Hallie is the nurse in Doc’s clinic. Hallie is a hippo. Hallie’s don’t speak so good. Unsurprisingly Loretta Devine voices Hallie.

So for a show with so much going for it in terms of removing stigma, why then are we painting by racial profiling numbers? Did the script writers get bored or was this the work of the producers? Hallie’s antics doesn’t add anything to the show from my daughter’s perspective because the only way the humour works is if you know it for what it is.

I’m not boycotting Doc McStuffins for it, but I am disappointed.

Even worse
Besides for the various mental issues presented by the rest of the regular cast (Chilly the neurotic snowman, Stuffy the anxious dragon and Lambie – the lamb, not the flyhalf – the overly-attached lamb), we never see what the father does. Yes he mows the lawn and does a spot of gardening, but what does he like do.

Maybe he’s a retired football player, or a freelance journalist, or even a drug dealer… Anything would do. This is a no judgment zone Mr McStuffins, just tell us how you remain sane and blissfully ignorant to your daughter’s magical powers.

I’ve decided that he’s a functional alcoholic, until the producers tell me otherwise.      

  

The actually educational TV shows your kids should be watching and their hilarious shortcomings (pt. 1 of 5)

Let me kick things off with some full disclosure: I work from home at least two days a week and take an almost insane interest in my offspring’s media consumption. We have one of those PVR things and I think it’s annoyingly cute that she refers to her shows as movies. (Side note: because I’ve recorded a bunch of her favourite episodes and she can watch pretty much on demand, so it causes havoc when we’re in a setting where she is forced to wait for an episode of something).

Bottom line, I’m crazy enough to write an entire article on the best educational kids shows when I’m also fully aware that these things exist purely as a vehicle to sell merchandise through. And to take pressure off of competitive party parents, because kid’s birthday parties are now a contact sport played with money. So read on and see how far this rabbit hole has taken me.

Dora the Explorer
The feisty Latina with the comically over sized head goes on adventures solving problems with the magical powers of logic and Spanish. To assist in her heroism she has at her disposal a sentient map and backpack. So I’m not sure whether or not Dora can actually read because the map only communicates with the audience, prompting the children to deliver information to her. Which is strange because the map is hers and my kid is not stupid; she knows that the TV show doesn’t exist in the same universe as she does. Further more, if the backpack (named Backpack) is supposed to be so smart, why doesn’t it just spew out the correct item whenever Dora is in trouble?

What the show does well is teach problem solving and some basic maths and physics. Also there’s the Spanish bit, which kinda makes Dora a miniature version of Pitbull — on a crusade to teaching the world Espanyol, one hook at a time.

The shortcoming:
Dora is always accompanied by her friend Boots, a sentient monkey with a shoe fetish. My quarrel isn’t with the inappropriate nature of Boots’ adoration for Dora, but rather that I’ve neither see nor heard about his family. Like does his mom speak? Is he the result of some science experiment? Is he suddenly going to go ape and share the serum with his other primate pals and overthrow the government, claiming the planet for themselves?

What’s your deal Boots?

Also, I’m not a fan of primates as pets and now my daughter is thinking that it’s a natural thing. And she has no concept that monkeys are actually wild animals and are dangerously unpredictable when they come in contact with humans.

Even worse
So this Swiper the Fox character is a kleptomaniac fox who wears a bandit mask and instead of the show addressing his obvious problem and trying to find a root cause, kids are encouraged to just tell him to stop swiping. Now I suffer from junkie empathy and would hate for my kid to grow up ignoring the social issues that really contribute to criminal behaviour. Dora the Explorer’s ignorance to Swiper’s situation is deeply disturbing, but Spawn’s wellbeing seems to rely on a daily dose of the show so I let it slide.

Making space for women: The Feminist Dad manifesto

Contrary to what Beyonce tries to tell you, men run the world. Look at the Run the World music video as an example. “Queen B” uses provocative dance and revealing clothes to bring her message of female domination across. If, as she so boldly claims, women did control the world then surely there could’ve been a more sophisticated way to deliver the message. Something more elegant that emphasises the more feminine side of dominance. You know, like a hand rocking a cradle, or arms embracing a child, or even Hellen of Troy launching a thousand ships. Instead she takes the path of least resistance and panders to the most influetial members of society by putting her wares on show.

Why does the current poster girl for female domination choose this route whenever she preaches to her choir? Because the marketing men tell her to. Beyonce is in the unfortunate position of being moderately talented and pretty. Unfortunate because it makes her a marketable commodity who is open to being used as a pawn.

Wipe the coffee off your screen and let me explain. See, my wife is a strong woman; physically and philosophically. She can chop wood and has lasteda decade of my constant attacks on her faith without flinching. She breastfed for three months and then continued to do the middle of the night wake ups when spawn gets restless, she makes decisions and is my pillar of support through everything. I don’t dictate to her and make a conscious effort to allow her to live an independent life. I say a conscious effort, but it’s only conscious because she comes from a family of many women who play traditional female roles and aren’t really equal to their husbands.

I say the above with all respect, but if the husband is considered the head of the household and makes the bulk of family decisions, that automatically demotes the interests of the wife to a lower priority.

My wife still says she sees me as the head of the household and weights my opinions and decisions as higher than her own, but that’s an unfortunate hangover of her otherwise spectacular upbringning.

My slightly counter-intuitive point is then this: as the traditionally more dominant sex, the onus is on men to shape the role of future women by making space for them to be in leadership roles. It needs to be a clear idea in the mind of all women that they are equal in all spheres of life and even superior in others. Men need to indicate that women can be more than physically attractive to be recognised by renouncing them in the instances where they use traditional ways of appealing to men to get a point across.

It’s a powerful thought to have the assumed ability to empower someone, but unlike the way in which South Africa was liberated, men must clear the room when women are willing and able to use the freedoms granted to them.

I’ve spoken before about my attempts to raise my daughter in a world where women occupy all the influential roles in her life, but I’ve realised that my feminist ambitions started long before I became a dad. I love my wife because she challenges me and although some men might see her as being disrespectful, or me as being too timid, I know it’s for the greater good.

To conclude about the Beyonce thing, it’s true that she should be admired for making good use of all the freedoms granted to her by the men who run her world, but in the same breathe her interpretation of the power she gains from that freedom. Why serve up the same product that they would’ve made you make?

Actions change perceptions and I vow to open more doors for women and step aside as they rule the room.