The first time I heard someone say they had daddy issues was when my best friend told me she had them. She wasn’t talking about her boyfriend or any other guy; she was talking about herself. When I asked what kind of issues she had, she replied that she didn’t have many, but one thing that stood out to me was how much trouble she would get into just trying to do something as simple as getting ready in the morning without having some sort of drama with her dad.
I couldn’t believe it. A girl who was raised by two loving parents (and a single mom) and never really had any problems growing up, still had daddy issues! I mean, come on, she was only fourteen years old!
I mean seriously?
That doesn’t make sense. Then again, maybe it made perfect sense to her because she grew up in a household where the father was always around and the mother wasn’t present all the time. Maybe it was easier for her to internalize the idea that men were supposed to take care of everything and if she ever needed help, then she should just go ask him for it.
It took me awhile before I realized that this was actually a real problem in our society. Boys are taught from a young age that they need their fathers to provide for them, protect them, and provide material goods such as money or food. Girls, on the other hand, are taught to rely on their mothers for love and nurturing. Over time, this creates a huge disparity between the way a boy and a girl goes through life.
Girls and young women learn that the men in their lives are supposed to take care of everything. If they need help with something, all they need to do is go ask daddy or another man because that’s what men are supposed to do. This causes them to seek out older men or powerful men they think can take care of them. This also causes girls and women to constantly seek out male attention in order to fill this void of affection that they never received from their fathers.
Boys and young men, on the other hand, don’t really learn how to be caring, nurturing, or loving towards others. They aren’t taught that it’s okay to show emotion or even how to do so. They’re only taught that they need to go out into the world and be a man; which means find a job, get married, and reproduce. The idea of going into something like social work, psychology, or anything that is in the artistic field is usually scoffed at because those are considered “woman jobs” by society.
This creates a vicious cycle of boys and men who don’t know how to show affection and girls and women who seek it out anyway regardless of the repercussions. We can see this everywhere both in our culture and in the world at large. Men seek to control and dominate whilst women seek to find the one person or group they can rely on.
Now, I’m not a sociologist nor have I ever claimed to be some expert on gender dynamics. I’m just a concerned citizen who has taken enough psychology and sociology classes to see the bigger picture. My main goal with this post is to start a discussion on this issue and how we, as men and women, can solve this problem together. I’m going to list a few ideas that I think could help reduce some of the disparity between the way boys are raised versus girls are raised.
Firstly, we need to start much earlier. Our culture has become one that seeks instant gratification and immediate solutions to problems. This is a problem for multiple reasons, one of those being that it prevents us from properly raising our children. There is no way I’m going to sit here and pretend I have all the answers on parenting because, quite frankly, I don’t. However, I do know that there needs to be an increased effort in the parent-child relationship from a young age.
This means no Baby-Sitters because parents are too busy or whatever else. It’s not fair to the kids to have them be around a revolving door of strangers when they are still learning about the world.
Secondly, we need to stop with this notion of needing a gender identity at all costs.
When I was younger, I was told I acted like a girl when I ran up the stairs rather than using the elevators (I was really fit back then, okay?
). Other children might be told to stop playing with imaginary friends because “boys don’t do that”. Little things like these can have a big impact on how a child views themselves and others view them. This, in my opinion, is the biggest problem. When children are young they are learning about who they are. They are learning what is and isn’t socially acceptable behavior. When children are learning what is acceptable and what isn’t, there needs to be an effort to make sure that all types of behavior and interests are equally valid. Just because a boy likes pink or a girl wants to destroy a tower of blocks with a superhero toy doesn’t mean they should be punished or scorned.
The last thing I’ll mention is the big one. We need to start seeing people for who they are rather than what gender they identify as. We need to get rid of this notion that girls are supposed to be dainty and quiet. We need to get rid of this notion that boys are supposed to be violent and loud. These are stereotypes that, as a society, we need to stop imposing on our children.
These stereotypes form the foundation upon which much of the disparity is based upon.
Ultimately, I think we need to start treating people like people rather than a gender. This means there needs to be more single-gender schools (you would be surprised how much more violent a boy is when there are no girls around). It also means that we need to do away with gendered toys, clothes, and whatever else. This isn’t to say that children can’t identify with certain characters or types of clothing, but rather that these should never be forced upon them. Let the children (and adults) decide what they want to identify with without feeling like it is something imposed on them.
This is, of course, an issue much larger than just gaming. It’s tied into education, employment, and every other aspect of life. We are who we are because of our biology as well as our environment. The problem comes in when the two are at odds with one another. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but I think we need to recognize these problems and work hard to resolve them.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Why?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Sources & references used in this article:
Graduation project (Comedy is a Safe Space and DJ Daddy Issues) by RS Lord – skemman.is
Daddy Issues: Parental Consent and Scientific Responsibility in Shelley’s Frankenstein by S Wruble – The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 …, 2017 – Thomas Dunne Books
The Best of New Writing in Australia Your account by AB Kavey – Literature and Medicine, 2018 – muse.jhu.edu
Real Thing the musical by A Moar – meanjin.com.au