A Letter to My Daughter About Young Men
Benjamin Sledge

This headline immediately caught my eye as I was lucky enough to be raised by a very good man, count several of them among my friends, and have also married one. However I also have daughters and sometimes despair of what I read about young men (and some of the unpleasantness you can encounter on the internet). So I was intrigued to hear your perspective. I appreciate your honesty for starters. Reading about what you say happens to young boys (and men) under the effects of peer pressure and without any alternative, better models was very sad. To me that also says a lot about the broader culture of gender relations. I know nowhere on earth is there a culture where women and men treat one another as equals. But I live in hope :)

The only other point I wanted to make is that, to me, it’s not so much about wanting our daughters to find a future partner who (among other things) shares our parental instinct to want to protect them. To me that conjures up a slightly paternalistic idea of male / female relationships (and also assumes they’ll be straight and want to be partnered, which of course is not everyone’s experience). Myself, I hope that if my partner and I manage to raise our girls to expect respectful relationships, hopefully they’ll make better choices, be fine with being single if that’s what ends up happening, and if they do choose a dishonorable guy (or woman) along the way it won’t be the end of the world. Lastly, I agree with one of your other commenters that toxic gender cultures also exist for girls and women, which can lead girls to behave in not particularly honorable ways too. I guess if there’s anything I do want to protect my girls from, it’s from the shitty behaviour that either sex is prone to. Look for honour is a good motto for ALL relationships. Thanks for your piece.

Like what you read? Give Meaghan a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.