Can A Dad Take His Daughter Clothes Shopping (and Other Indignities of Modern Dadhood)

J.R. Reed, on a rant about fathers who are treated as second-class parents.

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The other day was filing out some paperwork and got to the bottom of one of the pages and saw the picture above.

To say I was offended would be a huge understatement. I’ve had full custody of my daughter for almost ten years and to see “NAME OF NONCUSTODIAL PARENT/ALLEGED FATHER” was like a kick in the sack.

I hate to sound like an old lady but “How dare they assume that the noncustodial parent is the dad?”

Are there way more noncustodial fathers than mothers? Absolutely, but to automatically assume the father said “Peace out” to his responsibility is bullshit.

I was working on a post called Oscar Mayer Is Full of B-O-L-O-G-N-A but now that I’m in full rant mode I see how the paperwork and a company that runs commercials portraying men as idiots are both drinking the Bad Dad Kool-Aid.

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials. The dad is portrayed as simultaneously whipped and also a complete idiot.

If you want to see for yourself take a peek at the thirty-second commercial below.

 

As you can see from the picture and video, modern day dads don’t have a lot of street cred. That’s sad. And they get stereotyped all the time.

I was once in K-Mart (a store I will NEVER go back to) and my then seven-year-old daughter was trying on some clothes. The lady running the dressing rooms gave me the “Why are you bringing your daughter to buy clothes?” look and I proceeded to ignore her.

About three minutes in I heard my Drama Queen shouting that she was lost in her turtleneck and needed some help.

I looked at the gatekeeper and began to ask if I could go help my daughter when she said, “No men are allowed in the women’s dressing rooms.”

“OK,” I replied. Can you go help her?”

“You should have her mother take her to buy clothes,” the woman said with a straight face.

Meanwhile my daughter was ignoring my request to stop trying to find a way out of the sweater and just wait for help to come.  I know this because she shouted; “Now I’m more stuck than I was stuck before.”

Lovely.

As politely as I could I asked the woman to call a store manager. When he finally came out he was even worse then the woman.

“It’s not appropriate for you to take her clothes shopping,” said the guy who was barely old enough to drink legally. “Her mother should be doing it.”

That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Let the rant begin.

 ♦◊♦

“First off,” I said in a voice that was loud enough that the people over in electronics probably heard me.

“Her mother isn’t around. I have full custody of my daughter and I take care of her.”

I should probably tell you that I was easily five inches taller than the Assistant Manager and I was playing ice hockey a couple of times a week. Also I was playing the intimidation card.

“Don’t you ever,” I said while glaring into his eyes. “And I mean never tell a dad he can’t take his daughter shopping. Who the hell are you to tell me how to raise my daughter?”

At this point a female customer came over and asked me if she could go help Her Majesty navigate her way out of a turtleneck.

I happily accepted her offer and moments later my daughter appeared. As soon as she did the manager grew a pair.

“I’m going to ask you both to leave the store,” he said. “And ask that you don’t come back. You should be happy I don’t call the police.”

At that point I got livid and whipped out my cell phone.

“You want me to call them for you?” I asked. “Because I smell a cop giving you a verbal beating for being a dumbass. Or maybe I should call your district manager and tell them that you’re kicking a guy out of your store for taking his daughter clothes shopping.”

The guy was visibly shaken by my reaction. He assumed his nametag gave him ultimate authority but he was wrong.

“Listen up slick,” I quietly said as I stuck out my hand.

“This is my business card. It has my name, phone number and e-mail. Go ahead and give it to the police or whoever you want. I would love to talk with someone about this.”

I then took my daughter’s hand and proceeded to walk out of the store.  Looking back at the manager and small crowd of employees I said, “And don’t worry about us coming back to this K-Mart or any other.”

She finally figured turtlenecks out around the time she was nine.

 ♦◊♦

That was the most colorful encounter but it’s not the only one. When I take my daughter to places like Forever 21 I get the “You’re a pervert and are standing outside the dressing rooms to get a peek,” glance.

I’m not kidding. Women waiting for their daughters or friends eye me and on my daughter’s thirteenth birthday an employee of Forever 21 asked her manager to come find out why I was standing there.

“My daughter is in the dressing room,” I explained. “Is that a problem? Because if it is we can easily go to other stores in the mall.”

The manager apologized and one mom standing around there gave me a fist bump.

The reason I’m telling you these real-life stories is to illustrate how dads are perceived. I sometimes think that people don’t know fiction from non-fiction.

Is Phil Dunphy, the bumbling dad from Modern Family, an idiot?

Yep.

Phil Dunphy is a character. He’s fictional and he’s there to entertain us. I laugh my ass off at the dumb stuff he does but I know that (most) dads aren’t anything like that.

Disney Channel and Nickelodeon are famous for portraying dads as clueless, whipped and as someone who brings home bacon but has no say in anything else.

Kids see this night after night and I truly believe it sends a message that dads are a step below a mom.

 ♦◊♦

What can we do to convince society that dads aren’t bumbling, whipped idiots?

My best advice is to make people aware of communities such as Good Men Project and to encourage others to read the stories from literally hundreds of men who are sharing their tales of being good dads and good men.

Maybe Oscar Mayer executives, Forever 21 managers and K-Mart assistant managers should be required to do an hour of Good Men Project reading every day.

That would definitely show that most dads don’t build tree houses that fall down immediately after building it. It would also show that men aren’t whipped, perverts or second-class parents.

With the exception of my mom and dad when I was a kid I don’t think I’ve ever asked, “Can I” continue to do whatever I was doing.

“Do you mind if I stay out a bit longer or do you need me to come home for something?” is how you ask.

It shows that you have respect for the other person’s feelings and needs while expressing your desire to keep eating fried chicken and waffles with your hockey teammates at 10:30 PM.

If you say, “Can I?” You might as well pay your part of the check because you’re going home.

I know this rant went off on several tangents and it might seem a little disjointed but there is a point to all this.

As men and as dads we need to clean up our reputation and change the stereotype. We need to show people that we can take care of our kids and that we can think for ourselves.

Yeah we need our spouse/partner/significant other to keep us from doing dumb stuff (like Facebook friending the babysitter or quitting your job to start a blog) but to portray us as unable to make decisions without the blessing of mom and to assume that the man is always the noncustodial parent is wrong.

I love this quote from Thomas J. Watson, the CEO of IBM from 1914-1956.

But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.

Don’t let the stereotypes of dads and men keep you down.  Let people know there are plenty of good dads in their city and their neighborhood. Show the doubters and non-believers that good men are everywhere, they just have to open their eyes and look around.

 

Photo courtesy J.R. Reed

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About J.R. Reed

J.R is a full-time single dad attempting to raise a 14-year-old daughter without providing too many stories to relay to her future therapist. He is also the creator of the popular blog, Sex and the SIngle Dad. A former radio talk show host and color commentator, he’s also an off-the-hook cook, a bit of an argyle-loving dork and has a word in Urban Dictionary. J.R. has a serious guacamole addiction and a torta dealer named Danny.

Comments

  1. John Schtoll says:

    I am so glad that what happened to you never happened to me. I would be in jail if it did. There are certain thing that pretty much send me over the edge, and being treated as a second class parent is one of them. I have had experiences similar (though not as bad) as yours and I have very much lost my temper to the point of having to walk out the door with kids in tow.

    I really just hate the mixed messages that society and especially the MSM sends dads, “We want you to step up”, “We want you to man up” and then when dads do, they are literally stomped down for doing it.

    • J.R. Reed says:

      Thanks John. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through similar stuff but I’m glad that I’m not the only one who wanted to tear someone a new one.

    • I really just hate the mixed messages that society and especially the MSM sends dads, “We want you to step up”, “We want you to man up” and then when dads do, they are literally stomped down for doing it.
      That kind of double speak is what keeps Fathers and Families supplied in content to share and action plans to take.

  2. I can understand the frustration you feel when people judge you based on stereotypes. Walking home at night, I get the glances from people who suspect I might try to attack them. It makes me feel terrible, but I can’t blame them at all. An incredibly large proportion of sexual assault criminals, perverts and pedophiles are male. Of course an incredible small percentage of the male population fits into those, but those edge cases fill people’s minds, and too many women and girls are affected by them. I know they’re just trying to protect themselves and their fellow women, and I support that fully, but I hope we all can find ways to do that without alienating good men as well.

    • Soullite says:

      Maybe you can’t, but plenty of us can.

      They aren’t trying to ‘protect’ anyone. They’re abusing their authority. This country is overrun by petty tyrants lording over their tiny little kingdoms. That’s all there is to that.

    • Soullite says:

      Also, a ‘good man’ isn’t the kind of man who takes injustice lying down.

      “Good” is not “obedient”. It isn’t even “Nice”. Those who act meek in the face of this kind of thing aren’t good men, they are weak ones. That’s the biggest difference between good men and bad ones. A bad man is more likely to be weak than truly malicious.

    • J.R. Reed says:

      Fingers crossed, Kevin.

    • Kirsten (in MT) says:

      So, Kevin, what would your response be if one of these people eyeing you suspiciously told you that it was not appropriate for you to be out on the sidewalk at night, told you to get back indoors immediately, and informed you that you were lucky they didn’t call the police on you right then? Would you still not blame them at all?

    • jesus_marley says:

      Kevin – That is patently wrong and you do nobody any favours by perpetuating that stereotype of men being the primary perpetrators. The number in fact are surprisingly equal in terms of perpetrators. It is only the portrayal of men as primary aggressors that has skewed our public perceptions of them.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      ” It makes me feel terrible, but I can’t blame them at all”

      Kevin
      No, you don’t have to accept that. Your acquiescence will only encourage them. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  3. My good friend from HS takes his teen daughter to fashion shows, sample sales and rock concerts in NYC…I have never seen such a dad and I think he is the coolest!

    Kudos to you! (To tell the truth, my mother was not much help with bra buying and designer jeans shopping, but oh well… and forget my rock concert ripped jeans and bandanas and Canal St. army jackets)…just being there is huge for your daughter!

  4. scott gibbons says:

    Well said sir. Not a single dad, but been through very similar experiences.

    The look on the pharmacists face when I appeared with my daughter and explained that we needed help finding the sanitary pads was pure gold.

    The worst though, is the looks I get from women when I am just strolling around the shops hand in hand with my daughter, or with an arm around her shoulders.

    There is nothing my daughter’s can’t and won’t talk to me about that they could talk to their Mum about, which suits me fine. If dad is the only option and she can’t talk to him about something, that can be potentially a threat to her health and well being.

    Cheers

    • J.R. Reed says:

      Cheers to you Scott and I hope you keep getting weird looks because that means you spend time with your daughter.

    • trey1963 says:

      The first person My daughter told about her period was me….Totally comfortably…..She complained the pads her mom stocked were to big and asked if I’d go out to buy fitting ones …. not a problem in the world…..the woman at the cvs counter did raise her eyebrows…..

      Just last week she told me she’d outgrown her bras….. financially Scary as that meant the specialty fitting store as she was now out of standard range……Woman at that store did a double take that dad was the one to bring her…..but I’d explained that all the women on my side were “big” and I understood her need better than my petite wife…….buy the time we left I’d gotten the “good dad” treatment from the sales staff.

  5. My husband is the coolest and best Dad around, hands down. Our 7-yr-old daughter and him are peas in a pod. When she was about 3 or 4 she was having a temper tantrum in Wal-Mart. My husband picked her up and left me to finish checking out and pay. In the parking lot a woman approached them and asked my daughter “Do you know this man?” while holding her hand out to my daughter. At that point my daughter immediately forgot about whatever tchotchke she had been denied, screamed DADDY and hugged his neck for fear of this woman snatching her away. Needless to say, my husband was livid. He asked her if he had been a woman if she would have done the same thing? She at least was honest when she answered “no.” While I applaud Good Samaritans, sometimes people jump to conclusions too hastily. Thankfully we live in a small town, and everybody knows if they see my daughter, Daddy is usually close behind.

    • J.R. Reed says:

      Karen,

      I’ve had similar circumstances and your husband should have been livid. People like that woman need to get a clue.

  6. I keep looking at that image – just one line from a form.

    Disturbing – Really Disturbing – Profoundly Disturbing! It’s so shocking – even my Thesaurus fails me! 8^0.

    Mind you – I deal with the opposite. If you are a male with a male child, clothe shopping, you get treated with suspicion. I’m security cleared to work with abused children of any gender and when I get treated as some form of pervert or at best an extreme oddity,I ask the idiots if they understand the British system of “”safeguarding””.

    The answer is invariably “NO!” – so I hand over a business card, advise them to call the relevant phone numbers on it – demand that that call the police, social services and The Safeguarding Authority – and then I lodge a formal complaint – I make it very formal – demand that the relevant manager (~ all to often totally irrelevant~) be made available immediately – by phone if necessary (I don’t care if that are on the golf course – on holiday in The Caribbean – or if it’s their Goldfishes’s Bar Mitzvah) and they are made to deal with the situation on the spot – and then they are also obliged to ensure that all staff/employees are correctly trained – I do make sure I follow up the very formal complaint with a full risk analysis and quote for training provision, balanced against litigation risk. Of course, I do have an operatically trained voice which helps ….. and it has been noted that as decibels go, up takings and the bottom line go down!

    It is fascinating how some are very wary of calling the police, as customers exit the store……..

    It’s hard work – but someone has to do it!

    J.R. Reed – I salute you! “Illegitimi non carborundum” – Or as I prefer – “irrumabo eos cum bracis in!” – Archimedes style. P^)

  7. Yeah, I know what you mean. I took my 3 girls everywhere. Nothing like standing outside a dressing room, especially when they start getting fashion concious and have to try on 100 items to find the ‘right look’. Tell you the truth, I never paid much attention to the looks, and if someone stepped up to say something, well, my daughters will tell you that I can come across as quite intimidating. ( I’ve made assistant managers hide in the stock room). The Sanitary napkin story reminds me of the time my Daughter, with a house full of women mind you, asked ME to take her to the store and help her select her first purchase. Look J.R., you stay strong, be there for your daughter, and tell the idiots to go POUND SALT UP THEIR COLLECTIVE ASSES!

  8. Not buying it says:

    Thank you J.R,

    I have a boy & when he was younger, I experienced crap like that although be was a boy, the fricken moronic store keepers & the everyday judgmental Jane Doe specifically were the one’s I usaully had to tell to go & suck a lemon.

  9. Too often men, fathers, etc are treated like pedophiles before humans. How dare a male adult spend time with a child, especially in a clothes store…it must mean they are sick! perverted! It couldn’t possibly be that they are trying to buy clothes for their children.

    I feel sad for society when it includes people who jump straight to the worst case negative straight away.

  10. JR you’re doing the “stepping up” that people bitch about men needing to do but magically no one ever sees. But to the devil with them. You love your kids, your kids love you. You take care of them, they take are of you (where applicable).

    Rock on brother!!!

  11. I had a similar experience 15 years ago at a hair solon when I took my then 13 year old daughter to have her first haircut. She had really thick long hair and she gets hot when it’s warm. I made the appointment at a local high end shop. When we arrived I told the counter girl she was here for a cut. The women looked at me and my daughter and asked if it was a cut or a trim? I responded by telling her that my daughter wanted it cut to her shoulders. The women then asked me if my daughters mom knew we were there? I said no and asked why it mattered one way or another? She escorted us to a beautician who also questioned me and even offered to let me call my wife to get direction as to how she wanted the cut. I almost walked out. I asked why I needed “consent” from my wife to take my daughter for a cut? I guess my body language and reddening face along with murmuring under my breath was enough because she turned to my daughter and asked how short she wanted it?

    • J.R. Reed says:

      Tom,

      You showed way more restraint than I would have. I would have asked the first one how that was any of her business in a voice loud enough to make her very uncomfortable with the added attention she/I just attracted.

  12. I have had to go along as the token female for a few of my male friends with female daughters just so they don’t have these issues with shopping. I always feel bad for them. I also feel bad for the daughters as well because now they have a bunch of people staring at them with pity in their eyes. I have to say more than once the daughters have stood up and confronted the lookie loos themselves (much to the embarrassment of their fathers) but the point was taken.

    I think it sucks that fathers have to go through all these hoops just to buy some clothes or heaven forbid a prom dress or something. I’m happy to go along as the token female. I’m even happy to take the bull by the horns and do the bra shopping with no dad to spare them the even worse judgement. But it’s unfortunate that I have to.

    • J.R. Reed says:

      My Drama Queen will be fifteen in a few weeks and I’m to the point where “How is that any of your business?” Or, “Is there something I can help you with?” are my only responses. Either one is good for thinning the herd.

  13. I grew up with a similar problem..My mother died when I was about 9 and my younger sisters were 3 and 1. My Dad was a Lt. Col. in the AF and he went with us to shop, or whatever else needed to be done. Since the AF kept him pretty busy with assignments, temporary duty, etc. I took over this task very young but my Dad was my hero and best friend. He wasn’t embarrassed and neither was I to be together doing “girl things”, He did, however, have a little trouble going into restrooms with the younger onesso that became my duty! Bless all the men out there that truly take care of the kids. My ex-husband never even changed a diaper but my oldest son is a firefighter and he spends more time with those little ones than Mom does. Cleans the house, cooks dinner, takes them camping (just the kids and him) and I’m proud of him, When he complains about not enought time for himself I tell him he will be so rewarded when his children get older…………….

  14. My Father had to take me shopping once when Mum broke her leg. I don’t remember the shopping trip that well, but I do know he was accused of being a pervert. We were buying school clothes, and he’d apparently been trying to help me zip up a jacket. Squatting down in front of your daughter to help her do up a zip was apparently all it took for my Dad to be labelled. I do know that we didn’t buy any clothing that day, and Dad was angry, but the following weekend my Aunt took me shopping for my school clothes. So although I’m neither a man, nor a Father, I do know where you’re coming from. It sucks. Good on you though, it sounds like you’re a great Dad =D

  15. When your daughter is a teenager will you be concerned about stores that allow men to wander into women’s dressing rooms? Just asking.

    • Sarah,

      My daughter will be 15 in a couple of weeks and I think you misread something. At what point did I “wander” into a dressing room or when did I indicate that I wanted to?

      There is a huge difference between someone wandering into a dressing room and a dad/boyfriend/husband/sibling standing outside the dressing rooms while someone changes.

      If it was a mom waiting outside for her son would anyone even think twice about that? Doubtful.

      • Well do you want staff at least to ascertain why a man is standing around outside the dressing room? I mentioned teenager because I was thinking when shes old enough to shop on her own. Do you want to feel like store staff will keep an eye out for men in the women’s dressing area, even if it means questioning men who are dads like you? Do you think it is appropriate to try to make sure men are not intruding on the privacy of women and girls who might be undressed?

        • jesus_marley says:

          Sarah,

          It is important that staff ascertain why ANYONE would be standing around the dressing rooms. A simple, “are you waiting for your son/daughter?” is usually enough and is unobtrusive enough to both establish intentions and question a person without being accusatory. I don’t understand what you preoccupation is though solely with the women’s changing area. Unless of course you are approaching this from a completely one sided and sexist viewpoint that only men are perverts and women are helpless victims. I have some news for you sister. Your bias is showing.

          • i am only responding to the article which is about a man being questioned in a girls’ dressing area. He thinks it’s inappropriate and insulting to ask a man why he’s there, but if his daughter was there alone, wouldn’t he want staff to do just what they did?

            • J.R. Reed says:

              Sarah,

              The article is NOT about a man being questioned in a girls dressing area. Please go back and read it again. In K-Mart I walked up to the dressing rooms with my daughter and waited outside. The same with Forever 21.

              As I read through all your comments I get the feeling that you view all men as potential “threats.” If so that is very sad and I hope you can get past that. I hope I’m wrong though I doubt I am.

              Can you please explain to me why its inappropriate for a dad to take their kids shopping? I’m really having a hard time understanding your logic.

            • I don’t think it’s inappropriate at all for you to take your daughter shopping, but I also just think that it is not inappropriate for store employees to question a man who is in a women’s dressing area. (I.e., the dressing area in the women’s section of the store, or in a store catering to women.) It sounds like you don’t think they have a right to find out why you are there. But maybe they have had experiences with guys who are there for improper reasons. Our local library has had to kick men out of the library because they are taking surreptious pictures of women and children, or lurking around staring at children, for example (I work with the library and it’s an ongoing problem). The staff should not be rude to you but If I had children, I’d be grateful that the staff is keeping an eye out. That’s all.

            • J.R. Reed says:

              Sarah,

              If I don’t take my daughter shopping then who will? As I understand your logic you’re saying that I (who a judge felt was the best person to raise my daughter) can take care of her and raise her butI can’t take her shopping. That is absolutely insane.

              The fact that you compare a dad who takes his daughter clothes shopping to someone sneaking pictures of people in a library says a lot about you. I’m now extremely certain that you had some sort of traumatic experience in your life andI strongly suggest that you speak to a therapist, minister or someone who can help you.

              Can you tell me where a dad is suposed to wait when he takes his daughter clothes shopping? Out in the mal somewhere? No, that won’t work because any man who sits on a bench in a mall must be a perv of some kind.

              I’m especially confused what to do in stores like Forever 21, K-Mart and Target where they have unisex dressing rooms. Maybe they should build a separate area for men to wait in. It can be a locked room with bars on it so everyone can see what horrible people we are for taking our kids shopping.

              You’re not going to like this Sarah, but you are a straight up bigot. You stereotype men as being pedophiles and sleazy people and that may come back to bite you in the butt. I guarantee that if you ever ended up in the same store as my daughter and I and you questioned me about being there that I would bypass store management and mall security and call the police to come and intervene.

            • Jeez, where did I say you can’t take her shopping? You can take her shopping, and employees should not be rude, but you are the one seriously freaking out because store employees DARE question a strange man who is hanging out ina girl’s dressing area — like that is just totally crazy. But I think many parents would say the store is completely irresponsible not to ask. Because like it or not there ARE pervy guys who would like to go to Forever 21 to ogle underage girls. Would you want the staff do protect your daughter from those guys? If you don’t believe that guys like that exist, you are naive. I’m sorry you’ve had staff be rude to you but it seems like you live Ina dream world where no one could possibly be a threat. Maybe those store employees have actually had bad experiences with men who are lurking around and bothering the young customers, have you thought of that?

              My relationships with men are fine, by the way, but thank you for asking.

            • trey1963 says:

              Sarah…simply put your wrong. Those same ideas are the defensive ideas of bigots all over the world. I’ve always taken my girls clothes shopping…..I wait outside and when dressed they model their choices to me, yet at a target a woman that thought like you screamed at me in public…I was a perv..etc…because OUTSIDE the UNISEX Dressing room ….on the sales floor, waiting for my kids to model their choices and look for dad’s approval. 1 I have a Bad heart condition that and this treatment set off fairly massive chest pain……but in your eyes that’s fine as she was defending….what? Female privilege?or that I was acting outside of Her idea of the male gender box? Wrong is wrong…..

            • Sarah … you just aren’t getting it. “Listen” to what’s being said. It’s simple, men should not be looked at as potential perps simply because they’re men. It’s that simple.

              Large stores have cameras that someone is sitting in a room watching peoples behaviors. Smaller stores that don’t have cameras, employees can simply observe suspicious behaviors. What exactly is “lurking?” And if anyone is “lurking,” man or women (note I also said women), employees would have the right to question and not assume.

              You have now read many situations where men have been have been viewed as suspect simply because they are men. The next time you’re at a shop, take some time and observe the many women who are in these dressing rooms. Take a moment and question their being there and see where it gets you.

              Believe me, the last thing I want to do as a man is stand around waiting for my kid to try on clothes but it’s something that men have to do. And here’s an idea, how about letting the parents do their job and watch over their own kids? When my kids were growing up, they were always in my site. A mom that allows her daughter to walk around unattended much less be in a dressing room alone, I would be concerned.

              Curious Sarah, how would you feel about unisex wash rooms?

        • Sarah,

          It sounds like you are endorsing sexist bigotry when it is directed at men. It is always easy to endorse bigotry “for the sake of the children” when you are NOT the person constantly on the receiving end of such bigotry.

        • Do you think it is appropriate to try to make sure men are not intruding on the privacy of women and girls who might be undressed?

          Sarah – When did this become about “intruding on the privacy of women and girls”? There seem to be some heavy handed projection going on here, as well as the application of invented exclusion zones to provide personal comfort!

          I wonder about me taking male children shopping and waiting outside of the changing area, and getting the same treatment. There is no issue of “intruding on the privacy of women and girls”, so how does the negative behaviour of invariably female employees get explained there?

          I took one kid to get his hair cut in the barber shop. The female barber believed it was her duty and right top question this kid as he sat next to me. She was a little surprised when I told her to stop, take off the bib and we were leaving. I was there to provide the male child with a positive experience as a male child growing up. It was interesting that the other barbers intervened and told her to take a break and they then apologised – to the KID! They knew I deal with abused kids, and were so unhappy that a Kid with me (that may well have been abused) was being potentially re-abused.

          Some will scream about equality and sexism, but they really do need to be given fixed boundaries – and unfortunately some really should not be let out alone.

          I do fear that you, along with many others, have extrapolated single incidents into a universal concept. If a man did that about women he would be called sexist. It’s bizzare when all men are simply tarred with a brush for having a certain set of genitals and chromosomes. That indicates Role Discrimination and bias – which does make it hard to deal with all those mixed up messages – “men should do more”, “men should be better parents”, … and all the time you are judged by the presence of a penis and it aint even being wagged about in public!

          It seems that wagging tongues and biases about inappropriately and in public is socially acceptable, even when such wagging is found to be more damaging.

          The Law presumes innocence until guilt is proven – but for some there is their own law which is Guilty As Presumed.

          Is it acceptable for readers here to take “Guilty As Presumed” and just apply the labels sexists, bigot and way out of line to you when they read what you have written and how you react? I’d hate to be accused of projection, so I’d love you to clarify when it’s socially acceptable to you for labels and inferences to be applied.

          I’d hate to intrude upon any comfort zones you have and be seen as in anyway as presumptuous due to projection and illogical extrapolation.

      • Quadruple A says:

        There are some commenters on this site who I ignore all together because they almost seem to have a knack for obtusely misinterpreting the subject matter. I don’t know if they are conscious trolls (though I highly suspect that they are) or if they do it as a ideological knee-jerk but I think the safest way to deal with them is to ignore them.

    • Sarah,

      I forgot this last time…It wouldn’t matter how old my daughter is, I would be concerned about any store that let men “wander” back into the women’s dressing rooms.

  16. JR, I totally get the anger that situation could cause. And I think it’s really cool that you do take your daugther shopping and are taking full care of her. But I think you might have missed a golden oppurtunity. By getting angery and belligerent with that guy (who was acting like a douche), you taught him that you were infact the problem.

    I think no matter who you are, people are going to think and say crap about you. I remember being in a store where I heard this 15 year old girl whisper something negative about me to her little brother. I overheard it and turned and looked her in the eyes and simply asked her why she said that. She stumbled and fumbled for a response and wouldn’t look me in the eyes even as she snickered with her little brother over something concerning me. I engaged her in a conversatoin. By the end of it she was apologizing for what she had said and said she felt bad for saying it. I told her that words matter. That what you say about people whether you think they can here or not here, matters. It’s a choice you make about how you treat others. I told her that you never know who someone is just by looking and you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. By the end of it, she looked me in the eye and was clearly sorry. I am not saying that’s always going to happen but at least I taught her something instead of getting angry and nasty with her.

    Yes, there are a lot of ignorant people out there. But the ignorance isn’t just reserved for father’s that take their daugther’s shopping. And you missed a moment to teach them something different about the kind of father you are.

    • jesus_marley says:

      I completely disagree Erin. Yes it can be hurtful when people say things about you behind your back but it is another thing entirely to go through life being seen as a sexual deviant for nothing more than taking your daughter shopping. When my daughter was 8 months old I took her into a public washroom so I could change her diaper. When I stepped out of the stall where the change table was located, I was met by a team of 5 mall security. Someone in that mall called security on me because I had the audacity to see to my own child’s hygiene. I wasn’t seen as a caring and dutiful father. I was seen a ravening sex beast hell bent on raping an infant. Even now, my daughter is 2 1/2 and I can’t go to a public park without being seen as a child molester. It gets really old really fast. And it gets harder and harder every day to deal with such a blatant injustice. I’ve done the “calm rebuke” method that you suggest and the reaction i get? MORE ignorance and excuses and blame as if it’s MY fault that they think I’m a monster. Well I for one, am fucking sick of it. I do not need to justify my presence in a store, in a park, or anywhere. I am a fucking human being and owning a penis does not make me damaged, or inferior, or a pervert. I am a loving father and I do my damnedest to make sure that my daughter will have everything that I can provide for her. I deserve more than fear, hate, stares, and sexist assumptions. I deserve respect as a person and as a parent and anyone who is unwilling to provide that can go fuck themselves sideways and I will be the first in line to tell them so.

    • Erin: “By getting angery and belligerent with that guy (who was acting like a douche), you taught him that you were infact the problem. ”

      How else could he have done it? Settle it with a nice hot cup of java? He was standing up to ignorant prejeduice, period.

      Erin: “Yes, there are a lot of ignorant people out there. But the ignorance isn’t just reserved for father’s that take their daugther’s shopping. And you missed a moment to teach them something different about the kind of father you are.”

      You fail to understand, Erin, we live in a time where men and fathers are automatically judged as having sick intentions even when they’re doing something as harmless as taking their kids out to a public place for shopping or entertainment.

      Have you forgotten about that Egyptian Grandfather who was shopping for books for his grandchildren? He was kicked out. Why? For acting lewd and odd around the kids section of the store? No, he couldn’t find what he was looking for, sat on the floor since there was no adequate seating available, and spoke on his cell phone. That’s it. The store employee judged it as “Suspcious behaviour” and had him leave.

      Don’t forget also that airline policy where no men were to be seated near an unsuprvised minor. One man had to take them to court over this. That’s when they removed the policy. (I think it was an australian airline)

      You get the point? It seems to be fathers (and grandfathers even) nowadays getting stepped on for being parents outside their homes.

      When that 15 year old whispered nasty things to the little sibling in front of you, did it lead to you getting ejected from the store or a talk with the manager?

      I rest my case.

      • “How else could he have done it? Settle it with a nice hot cup of java? He was standing up to ignorant prejeduice, period.”

        I didn’t say he wasn’t dealing with someone ignorant. If you want to fight ignorance, you don’t fight it with belligerence. This only re-enforces their ignorance. I think above I explained how he could have better dealt with the situation and java wasn’t involved.

        “You fail to understand, Erin, we live in a time where men and fathers are automatically judged as having sick intentions even when they’re doing something as harmless as taking their kids out to a public place for shopping or entertainment.”

        I don’t fail to understand anything and I don’t appreciate being told what I “fail” to understand with the assumption that you understand “better” or “more” than me. I never denied that men and fathers get judged more harshly for the sexual transgressions of other men. I only talked about there being other forms of ignorance in relation to my own experience to show how I dealt with it. Ignorance is ignorance is ignorance and I am not interested in getting into a contest with you about who has it “worse”. I simply suggested another way of handling the situation.

        “When that 15 year old whispered nasty things to the little sibling in front of you, did it lead to you getting ejected from the store or a talk with the manager?”

        I am sure if I started a screaming match with her, it could have. But I didn’t.
        I only shared my experience to show how I dealt with an ignorant situation and taught someone to be a little less ignorant. I am not interested in looking to see whoes situation is “worse” either. Dealing with ignorant people isn’t easy but yelling at them for their ignorance isn’t going to solve the issue.

        I stand by all my comments. Especially the part where the only way he had the potential to teach them about what kind of father he is, and perhaps give them the much needed perspective they needed instead of the beliefs and fears they held, was by dealing with the situation in a calm manner and showing him what kind of man he is. A man that clearly loves his daughter and takes good care of her.

        • Erin: “I am sure if I started a screaming match with her, it could have. But I didn’t.
          I only shared my experience to show how I dealt with an ignorant situation and taught someone to be a little less ignorant. I am not interested in looking to see whoes situation is “worse” either. Dealing with ignorant people isn’t easy but yelling at them for their ignorance isn’t going to solve the issue.”

          And what if the person got the police or security involved based on the rumor? Would you have the time to teach them to be less ignorant in a polite manner while the authorities are breathing down your neck thanks to an ignorant rumor or accusation?

        • Education can work – SOMETIMES. As a father of a multiracial child and one half of an interracial marriage, I’ve educated way too many people over the years. I am also the publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner. I get educating and sharing and I’ve done more than my fair share of it with angry bigots and racists.

          However, when someone is trying to get in between a parent and a child, the issue is far different. A child’s well-being is potentially at risk. In the case of the OP, there were other adults preventing him from attending to his daughter and refusing to offer assistance. Can you possibly see why a loving parent would be more interested in PROTECTING their child rather than IGNORING her needs in favor of educating other adults who have ZERO right to attempt to assert their will and bigotries on the parent-child relationship?

          A child was alone in a strange place, in a state of undress and in need of her father and was calling for him. Other adults got in between them and were then getting progressively hostile and abusive in the process. Priority one is protecting the CHILD not educating the moronic ADULTS attempting to assert their wills on others. I’ve been put in that very scary and real situation myself. My child’s well being and safety will always trump educating a willfully ignorant adult in the 21st century.

        • I didn’t say he wasn’t dealing with someone ignorant. If you want to fight ignorance, you don’t fight it with belligerence. This only re-enforces their ignorance. I think above I explained how he could have better dealt with the situation and java wasn’t involved.

          Erin – I can see both sides on this one, and when time and opportunity allows, it is best practice to educate people out of ignorance if they are amenable to such eduction …. which unfortunately, a great many are not. It’s not at all surprising how some believe they have authority and can express it by any means, and when they start you are dealing with an ignorant person who can only be re-educated with a high voltage cattle prod via the personnel dept!

          I’ve heard the argument often when I have intervened – and when it comes from a Business I ask when they want me to start training the staff and the employers expense – and not on my own time and free of charge! I’m also a great believer in bypassing all people and going straight to the top – that tends to bypass the middle management power mongers who believe they are there to be defensive and not to address real issues.

          I’m not really one for second guessing others experiences, especially when I was not a witness to events. I am one for endorsing correct action in the moment, especially when a person’s safety and personal integrity is at stake – be they a child or adult, what ever their racial status is or ethnic orogin, disability status, sexuality etc. It’s act first, fall out second – and yet some have the view that they are there to create fallout first so they can deny their own deliberate use of inaction as a pattern of Bullying and Abuse.

          There is a time and a place for educating people – and when they are employees, that is at induction and before they are allowed to cause an issue. It’s the employers responsibility to have employees trained and reacting correctly, and not the person being targeted. If an employer has allowed an employee to assume false authority or responsibility, it’s up to the employer to deal with the fall out when people affected are obliged to stand such people down and attend to others.

          I have to deal with negative attitudes towards me all the time, primarily due to disability – and even because I am with children who are not my own. Some have this very weird idea that Visibly Disabled men are all sexually dysfunctional and love to sexually abuse children. I always make sure that the children are shielded from other’s ignorance – and have been known to return later to raise the issues and have it out ….. alla Pretty Woman “Hugh Mistake, Hugh – I have to go shopping!”. I’m very good at having it out in public and making sure people hear what has been going on!

          I’m all for Carpe Dium, and seizing not just the day but the moment, but there is a big difference between some child saying nasty things and a Corporate Employee exercising supposed faux authority – because their employer has negligently empowered an abuser to get a pay cheque.

          As an example – I have been in the unenviable position of an abusive apparatchik operating under the guise of employee, very deliberately calling security and saying “We have a pedo!”, and referring very deliberately to me. It was interesting to see the reaction of other members of the public, who due to known group psychology will defer to the person with supposed authority – and at the moment I deferred to my cell phone and called the police, making report of Disability Hate Crime. The police were there “Tout de suite”, and the employee did find it hard to explain matters away to the police.

          The CEO was interested in my letter, asking why his business has a masked security call for a fire alert “Can I Speak to Mr Brown?”, and yet had no such system in place for other security alerts? He found it fascinating when he had the case investigated, especially the claims from the employee that I had been acting in ways that did not show on the CCTV footage – and also their change in demeanour when the police arrived – along with the change in demeanour of the security guard who had arrived and was being somewhat abusive. I got called in to do a lot of training. It was expensive but well worth it!

          It was even more fascinating when the CEO agreed that there should be full coded security alerts across the business so as to protect all parties – that was public, employee and the business, and even security employees and police. His middle managers objected, and found out who paid them very promptly. It was fascinating that the head of security believed very much in public abuse for control in store, and thought it was totally appropriate for employees to abuse not only the target but bystanders as a way of getting customers to leave through public embarrassment.

          I’m all for re-eduction in the moment, but unfortunately some lack the genius for immediate enlightenment and need long term re-education at their employers expense and liability, and even by seeking employment else where. I do believe in people and companies meeting their liabilities. … and if a father is being abused because he is lawfully with his child, going about his lawful business and some pay cheque Aparatchik chooses to seize the moment to try a little power play through some social manipulation …

          well, I say “Vive la Padre” and bringing on a short, sharp, shock is most appropriate with the aide of Madam La Guillotine. It is of interest that so many have been deterred by seeing it’s public usage – and when some here of it’s private usage it can also have the desired effect!

        • J.R. Reed says:

          Erin,

          Am I reading your comment correctly? Should I have apologized for bringing my daughter clothes shopping and leave the store? I guarantee that will never happen. I have a legal right to take my daughter shopping for clothes or anything else and if someone wants to play the tough guy and chalenge me on it I’m not going to bend over and take it. All that does is show my daughter that when someone doesn’t like what you’re doing that you should bow down to their opinion and let them run your life for you.

          I’ve never done anything except stand around and wait for her. I have no clue how that is wrong and no one will ever convince me that it is. If women got questioned as to why they were outside dressing rooms I guarantee it would be a national news story but if it happens to dads its no big deal because society views us as second class citizens.

    • This is a problem that I am not sure women truly understand. I guess you could call it female privilege…As a woman you generally do not have to deal with false accusations destroying your reputation. A simple rumor about a father being near the girls changing room could spiral up and severely threaten a man’s career, especially if he is in the childcare or teaching industries. It causes MAJOR stress for many men, it restricts their behaviour, I know of fathers who are nervous to take their OWN kids to the playground because of mostly women and their judging eyes. Society on the whole seems to trust men far far less around kids even though the fact is the father is as or more likely to intervene, fight n protect his kids to the death, and far more likely to do that than to abuse a kid. In my own family I know of a few uncles, cousins, etc who went to the school ready to hit a teacher who hit their kid, men who would die for their kids but why is that not the first automatic thought people have? Why are men thought so often as pedophiles instead of fathers, protectors? A father at the dressing room entrance (not actually inside the set of rooms) is more likely to knock out a perv than be one himself.

      It’s this kind of shit that makes me, a single man with no kids, absolutely fucking petrified to be around kids especially those I don’t know. I will move myself, avoid interacting with kids. If I am in a store and there is a kid there with the parent an isle or 2 away I will move away.

      Sure it sucks to hear a 15 year old girl talk shit about you, but can it really compare with accusations of the most despised label in the world? A pedophile? Were you in danger of having the staff, people there making a scene, calling the police? Police who have interrogated fathers in front of their kids before for these accusations. That kind of attention can seriously damage someones career. Imagine a family photographer who has a rumor of being a perv at the kids changing rooms? Goodbye career. Women are trusted far far more even though they are responsible for the majority of child abuse and a good portion of child sexual abuse yet it’s men who are truly in danger of false accusations, rumors, character assassination, hell it’s a successful tactic used to screw up their chance of custody in divorce proceedings.

      Quite frankly, I think people should sue those who cast false accusations and depending on severity of the accusation, jail-time. If a person loses their career because of rumors, jail the accuser. People need to bite their fucking tongue over the whole “OMG a man is near kids, pedophile, pedophile!” thoughts that go on in their head n actually wait till their is some actual evidence of wrong doing. Instead of saying PERV! to a guy near the entrance, how about asking if he has kids there? Instead of calling the manager over, calling the police based on his mere presence, BE a damn decent human being and find out what’s what before potentially destroying careers. It’s these accusations that are thrown around so willy nilly but accusations which carry such severe consequences if the wrong person hears them.

      • Colette Wedding says:

        “Women are trusted far far more even though they are responsible for the majority of child abuse and a good portion of child sexual abuse yet it’s men who are truly in danger of false accusations, rumors, character assassination, hell it’s a successful tactic used to screw up their chance of custody in divorce proceedings.”

        That is misleading. Children are more likely to be in the care of women, and a good portion of that abuse is neglect charges which leaves low-income single women in a bind. Also, do you think things like drinking and having another partner around aren’t used against women in custody proceedings?

        I agree men shouldn’t have to explain they’re simply taking their daughters shopping (although it’s a far cry from criminal charges and even an accusation). It flows forth from the idea that men’s sexuality is out of their control and that they’re not natural care-takers of children, both B-S. But such beliefs are the same that let men off the hook for sexual behavior and pinning child-care responsibilities onto women. Also, more often than false pedophilia accusations, minimal child-care duties performed by men are praised and rewarded; a father is wonderful if he buys diapers whereas a mother sucks if she works or stays home (especially low-income and women of color).

        Anyway, my sister and I had a single father most of our childhood. We never experienced anything of the above nature. In fact my mom received more flak when we were alone under her care than my dad. What I did take from it is that unisex bathrooms should be required as dragging me into the men’s room when puked wasn’t ideal.

        • “That is misleading. Children are more likely to be in the care of women, and a good portion of that abuse is neglect charges which leaves low-income single women in a bind. Also, do you think things like drinking and having another partner around aren’t used against women in custody proceedings?”
          Abuse is still abuse, trying to minimize it by saying it’s misleading….is misleading. The fact is both men and women are risky around children but the majority of people do not abuse. What is stupid is that we have proof women can be dangerous to kids, that mothers themselves are the largest threat to kids yet fathers and men cop the most suspicion. It’s not a cakewalk for women but men get an unfair amount of suspicion that is extremely damaging.

          What happens in custody battles is often sad all around. Mothers get what you say, fathers get the false accusations, it’s pathetic either way and I support shared custody as long as both are fit parents.

          “Also, more often than false pedophilia accusations, minimal child-care duties performed by men are praised and rewarded; a father is wonderful if he buys diapers whereas a mother sucks if she works or stays home (especially low-income and women of color).”
          And more often than that men and fathers are derided for being bad fathers, inattentive, don’t help out enough with housework (even though new stats show both men n women work equal hours in and out of the home), so what is your point? Men SHOULD be praised, women are praised far more than men that I see. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen “golden uterus syndrome”, mothers who know it all, recently I saw a mother discussing she didn’t want her kid to go on a trip with her father to the grandparents and other women were pretty much saying she’s the mother, she gets to decide. More often than that we get men accused of being deadbeat dads, men don’t even have the option of opting out of parenthood, they’re legally FORCED to pay child support at the very least if contraceptives fail yet women can opt out via abortion.

        • That is misleading. Children are more likely to be in the care of women, and a good portion of that abuse is neglect charges which leaves low-income single women in a bind. Also, do you think things like drinking and having another partner around aren’t used against women in custody proceedings?
          It’s still abuse. No matter how hard one tries to explain it away it’s abuse. Such reasoning wouldn’t be allowed to stand if we were talking abusive men.

          Also, more often than false pedophilia accusations, minimal child-care duties performed by men are praised and rewarded; a father is wonderful if he buys diapers whereas a mother sucks if she works or stays home (especially low-income and women of color).
          And even more than those praises for minimal efforts there are presumptions of inadequacy in parenting.

    • JahBless101 says:

      Erin, do you have a similar policy for cat-callers, for example? My guess is that a cat-caller or street harasser would affect you differently than the snarky girl. Everyone (literally, EVERYONE) is guilty of viewing the world through the lens of their own experience. We can try to empathize, but no one can truly empathize 100%.

      I understand your argument and I believe it has merit, however it sounds preachy and condescending coming from someone who has never lived the experience. It is for this reason that I do not judge people–much less suggest that they are the problem–who react to things like street harassment when I would just brush it off.

    • I agree Erin. While I have to admit that in JR’s shoes I probably would have wanted to hip-check the idiot manager into a wall, what would that change? Instead of men being “bumbling, whipped idiots” we’re now hotheaded aggressive idiots? Not much better. Again I have to admit that in the heat of the moment I probably would have lost my temper too but since I have the gift of hindsight I’ll make my suggestion: As you said JR, the manager was just a kid to you so talk to him like he is one. Calmly. For those people basically saying “that will never work” I disagree with that attitude. Maybe it will. Maybe not immediately. Maybe never. But I guarantee beyond the shadow of a doubt that losing your temper is not going to change things.

  17. wellokaythen says:

    Reading a bit into things here, maybe, but the word “alleged” gives the connotation that being a father is itself wrong somehow. We usually reserve the word “alleged” for crimes. The language implies a deadbeat dad or one who refuses to believe a child is his.

    Come to think of it, it’s also a bit of an insult to the mother. It suggests maybe she doesn’t know who the father is, or we can’t really take her word for it.

  18. I remember an incident when I was traveling back from Spain with my son. As my wife’s ticket was paid for by an organization who sponsored her for the trip, we flew separately from her. We had a wonderful time and loved being able to hang out together during the day while she was at the conference and visited Salamanca, Avila and Madrid with free tours and dinners at some really nice local restaurants as part of the conference package provided to my wife.

    On the way back from Madrid we had a connection in Chicago and then back to DC. We were unexpectedly upgraded from coach to first class by Iberia (still don’t know why, but very appreciative) which made the return flight a real treat for both of us. In Chicago, we switched airlines from Iberia to American Airlines for the trip back to DC. To change planes, we had to change terminals, which required us to catch a shuttle bus.

    This is when things got weird. My son and I were attempting to exit the terminal and board the bus when a woman with a badge and a gun started getting loud and aggressive towards me. I do not remember what type of law enforcement agency she was with at the time. I was ordered to stop, asked if my son was my own and then humiliated while she scared my son with her aggressive, ridiculous loud mouth and abusive demeanor. Of course, her hand was on her gun the entire time. It was still holstered, but the intent was clear – “I’m looking for a reason.” Meanwhile, I saw several women depart the terminal with children and no husbands present. Not a single one of them was stopped. After she calmed down when she saw my boy was scared of her (and rightfully so), I asked her why we were stopped. No reasonable cause. No reports. She just “wanted to be careful.”

    So, it is perfectly acceptable for people with guns to demand that fathers (not mothers, never mothers) submit to detention and interrogation without reasonable cause. Great.

    Of course, I am also the parent of a multiracial child and I’ve often been treated like garbage by people – more often women than men – who feel they have some special right to try and separate me from my child or who take issue with the fact that my wife is black. While this behavior is normally exhibited by white women, I have had black women get in my business as well when they have their own racialist reasons for not wanting me to be a father to a multiracial child. This ridiculous “public servant” is hardly the only instance of a person trying to get in between me and my child. She was just one of the more menacing as she was touching a firearm while exercising her bigotry and racism – and getting paid for it.

    Of course, some people may have absolutely no problems with this type of racist, sexist and threatening behaviour. After all, punishing millions of fathers is the price they MUST pay in order to make up for the crimes of a very tiny few. Then, the added factor of an interracial family means that we basically have no expectation of civility or freedom of movement when alone with our children.

    I’m so tired of people who excuse this sort of harassment, bigotry and racism in the name of “the children.” It is the children being hurt the most when they repeatedly see other adults harass, demean and otherwise attempt to take control of their relationships with their own parents.

    • That is exactly why in May when I took my son to visit my parents, I had a note in my bag, signed by my ex-wife, stating that yes she was fully aware that we were taking the trip. If only by virtue of previous jobs I’ve had, at this point I have a phd in CYA.

  19. JR's Muse says:

    I may be partially biased here, given that I’m his girlfriend and have known JR and his daughter well now for almost two years…
    I feel that the way he has been treated over the years gives him cause to react the way he does. His daughter is a beautiful well adjusted girl which is a testament to JR’s excellent parenthood. In his writing, he is telling us about the prejudices he faces as a single father. It’s very true society is prejudice against single fathers. I’m a single mom of 2 and I have never been approached while waiting around for my son to change his clothing.
    Think about how society portrays fathers! Professional sports players all talk about how their dads weren’t inthe picture and they aren’t who the are if it weren’t for mom. How many times a week do you hear that on ESPN? Or all these Jerry Springer shows… Deadbeat dads showing up on some talk show to hear the words “you ARE the father”.
    My point is, in his article, JR expressed prejudice he faces because of stereotypes that society labels on men, father’s specifically. Because of the different situations he has been in, I feel he has every right I this world to stick up for himself and he has a responsibility as a parent to show his child that when someone treats you with such utter disrespect, you demand the respect and show the person the error of their ways.
    Not all single fathers are deadbeats, not all are ‘weekend dads’. There are quite a few who have taken over the job of full time dad and mom. Drama Queen is lucky to be raised by her father (trust me, I know the alternative) and he is doing his part to show his child that stereotypes and prejudice should never be tolerated for any such reason. It will make her a stronger adult with a better view of the world
    For that, JR, you should be commended.
    XO *fist bump* and stuff.

    • JR’s Muse – It’s great to get unbiased, insightful feedback and comment! Though, I’m sure that others will see it otherwise! P^)

      You just keep it real, like JR’s doing.

      Thanks for confirming that women in the same situation don’t get treated the same way. It’s good to have balance in both experience and gender input.

    • Fist bump back atcha. Thanks for the support. It’s sad that people look at men like they’re criminals when they take their daughters out.l

  20. JR's Muse says:

    Sarah,

    In what kind of backwoods place do you live?And… have you been living a completely sheltered life? You are speaking as if all men are evil creatures out to harm women and children.
    I know JR personally and I am very close with both him and his daughter. He is an excellent father who does everything he possible can for her given that she does not have a mother around to take care of things most mothers handle. He has sacrificed a lot for his daughter and I personally find your comparisons to be highly offensive. You seriously owe him a sincere apology.
    Lastly, I don’t mean to pry, but it seems as though you have a horrible relationships with men. Either your father was a horrible person or possibly you were harmed by a man sometime throughout your life. That is how you are behaving. If this is the case, please seek professional help. Please don’t assume all men are evil creatures or your life will be severely lacking.

  21. wellokaythen says:

    What a horrible experience all around. It sounds like retailers are pulling a kind of reverse Taliban situation – men are not allowed out shopping with children without a female escort of some kind. I suspect that the employees and managers are playing the liability gamble. How much trouble would they be in for needlessly insulting someone innocent, compared to the trouble they’d be in for failing to stop a child molester? Combine people’s eagerness to sue big companies with society’s current paranoia about pedophiles, and you get a nasty brew that puts dads in the crossfire.

    A big part of this problem is the way that men treat each other. This goes beyond the way that women assume males are predatory. It’s a really deeply ingrained way of seeing men, and it’s something that men have been raised to think about other men. Of course it’s obvious, intellectually, that a man is innocent until proven guilty, and it’s just common sense not to assume that every man is a predator until proven otherwise. Yet, emotionally, when people are feeling protective they tend to assume the worst-case scenario.

    Of course you know your daughter and you know yourself, so these strangers’ reactions were over the line. But, imagine the day when you meet your daughter’s first boyfriend or her first male roommate. Are you going to remind yourself not to assume that men are pervy dogs, or are you thinking about reaching for a shotgun? When you see an older man looking at your daughter, will you be giving him the benefit of the doubt about what’s going through his mind, or will you get angry at his behavior? It may be hard to remember the clothes-shopping lesson when you see it from outside-in instead of inside-out.

    Telling some customers that her mother should be taking her shopping is just a stupid thing to say on many levels. Aside from the whole paternal custody issue, maybe the girl’s mom is dead or in prison or missing or whatever, and now you, the customer service provider, has just reminded the girl of that unpleasant fact. Just a little bit of tact could go a long way.

  22. JR's Muse says:

    Trey- I could not agree with you more with your response to Sarah. You are right about how she continuously types stereotypical responses and then tries to justify what she says. I feel really terrible about what happened to you at the Target. It’s ridiculous for people to behave that way. I am a woman and very much not ‘naive’ as Sarah suggested, so I am going to be completely honest and say that I am always cautious… But I am cautious of anyone just standing around whether they are man or woman. Being cautious, tho, is completely different than being a bigot. I never assume anything about anyone.

    You know what they say about assumptions, Sarah? They make an ass out of u. It’s one thing to misinterpret a message that someone has written, but it’s another to continuously fight against a group of educated adults when they express to you that you are not receiving the actual message. Your tone is disrespectful. You made an assumption of the message JR was addressing and instead of bowing out gracefully, you continue to argue your point(which is not at all what JR was stating) and tryin to validate that stereotyped point by using fallacious remarks in the vein of scare tactics. Dear girl, maybe you should become a politician when you grow up! And when I say grow up, I’m not talking about chronological age, you could be 56 years old for all I know, but you are behaving like a child/young adult who has lived sheltered and without experience.
    Please, for your own sake, go back and read JR’s original post and see the real message he is trying to express. If you still don’t get it, I’m sure Your local community college has some nice remedial English courses you can take to strengthen your comprehension skills.

  23. Thanks for writing this! People have forgotten that men (disregarded as the majority and the oppressor) also have a right to equality – emotionally and legally. And people also don’t realize that when commercials and television shows are made that make dads look stupid, it really does effect family courts. If you hear all day long that dads are inferior parents, it effects those judges that go to court and hear cases about parents fighting over custody.

    As for the Oscar Mayer thing – I got your back. I’d put this article out when the commercials started airing: http://www.8bitdad.com/2012/05/15/bad-dadvertising-oscar-mayer-14312/

  24. Peter Houlihan says:

    It wasn’t as big an issue, but as a kid I remember my mother telling me to go elsewhere whenever we got to the women’s part of the store, on the basis that people would assume I was a pervert if I accompanied them into the women’s section. The reverse never seemed to apply for some reason…

    • Of course.

      It goes back to the intersection of gender and sex.

      Males are supposed to be driven by our libido, thus if we are around women who might be undressing we will just have to look.

      Females are supposed to have no libido, thus even they are around men who might be undressing they are not supposed to have an interest in looking.

      But the funny thing is let’s say a boy is in the women’s section and is seen looking at a woman that is partially dressed. Whether or not he went out of his way to look, saw her by accident, or if she exposed herself with the intent of him looking, he is going to be seen as the nasty pervert. Switch that up with a girl being seen looking at a man partially dressed and regardless of how she got that peek it will be declared that he is a nasty pervert that was exposing himself to her.

  25. For years now I’ve been preaching the message that gender equality and womens emancipation while good is destroying, whether knowingly or not, societies perception of manliness, fatherhood and male leadership.

    This article is so touching to me as a young father of two girls. I am constantly battling insuations from people around me that I am somehow going to fail them, abandon them, abdicate my responsibility. It’s only a matter of time.

    But worse than that is the insuation that somehow my role as a father to those girls will never be as important or relevant as their mother. That offends me more than anything. Even without all the credible statistics to prove it, we can clearly see the effects of missing fathers in the lives of so many. As Chris Rock likes to joke, every woman is dealing with daddy issues. So to say I am irrelevant is beyond insulting.

    I love the Good Men Project for bringing about a greater awareness and open discussion about these issues. I try to do the same in my own small way. Would love to contribute here more.

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