Tom Brady is being dad-shamed after jumping off a cliff with his 6-year-old daughter. He posted the vacation video of holding his daughter’s hand and together jumping off a cliff into a water fall pool. Both emerged safely. Apparently a number of folks, I suspect mostly women, berated Brady on social media for his risking his daughter’s well being and for, as they saw it, pulling her off the cliff. Frankly watching the video I had the opposite opinion. To me he was reflecting the best of fatherhood. His daughter showed no signs of fear or distress before jumping. She was holding her father’s hand and he was reassuring and appeared to be telling her that they would jump together after counting to three. At three he jumped slightly ahead of her so it gave the appearance that he yanked her off the cliff – which wasn’t the case. Once in the water she swam into his arms with a broad smile on her face.
What fathers bring to parenting is showing their children that they can take reasonable risks. This is especially important in fathering girls who are more likely by cultural norms and biology to be risk aversive. Dads tend to engage in more horse play with their children than Moms. This fatherly roughhousing reinforces physical confidence and the ability to take prudent risks. Moms bring their no less important and unique energy to parenting that also is essential for a child’s healthy development. What a revolutionary concept – children thrive when they have a father and mother contributing to the parenting journey.
On another note. The Berkley City Council adopted an ordinance to replace gendered language in the city’s municipal code with neutral terms. A perfect example of confusing gender equality with gender neutrality. Does anyone really believe that calling a manhole a “maintenance hole” will further the cause for gender equality? The rest of the list of gender neutral preferences is almost as silly. Any title that has the word man in it is due for change. Another example from the Council ordinance. Does the word manpower really mean just men? According to the dictionary man power is defined as ” power available from or supplied by the physical effort of human beings 2. usually manpower : the total supply of persons available and fitted for service.”
If we are truly striving for gender equality let’s not waste time on semantics. All it does is provide material for stand up comics and diverts attention from what is needed to achieve gender equality and mutual respect for our gender differences.