Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dayna Evans' Poison Pen To Her Father

I was somewhat surprised to read the disgust that various parties took in Dayna Evans' "You Don't Have Daddy Issues But Your Piece Of Shit Father Might" at Jezebel (Cathy Young, for instance, or this, or this). Sure, attacking men is kind of a Thing over there; aside from bagging on imbecile advice in knuckle-dragging men's clickbait factories, Evans pauses briefly to show us where she is in her life with men. She enters onto a quest to Scotland to reconcile with her estranged father, which goes drunkenly sour.
I was 27 on this trip. This was a telling age: the age when a lot of female acquaintances of mine were warming up to men, forming long-term relationships, getting married, finding love and happiness in significant others. I, on the other hand, was not only not doing that, I was finding commitment difficult. I was not ready for long-term relationships. I could not find a boyfriend that I liked. I did not want to be with anyone for very long. I did not find men tolerable, interesting, or worthwhile. It took me a long time to trust any man, let alone imagine myself committing to them for a lifetime, and the thought of having a child (a CHILD!) with one of them felt scarier than jumping off a bridge. I had, some might say, the opposite of daddy issues. I thought that perhaps in seeking some closure or stability in my relationship with my dad, I’d be able to solve my problems in relationships. I believed I’d cure my daddy issues by making up with my daddy.
Which is to say, the author has an entirely different set of "daddy issues", nearly the polar opposite of the ones we typically associate with daughters of absent fathers, i.e. earlier menarche and greater sexual risk-taking, and more broadly, dropping out of school at a rate three times greater than the general population, and twice as likely to develop addiction problems. Instead, her absentee father made her recoil from men, and who can blame her?

She concludes that "Daddy issues [are] the issue of men finding it easy to throw away the responsibility of fatherhood, the issue of all of us excusing them." Is this not, more or less, one of the cornerstones of conservative social criticism, that of the absent father causing much strife in society? She clanks elsewhere when she describes herself as "actually quite together. I had a [sic] friendships, goals, a career. I had a full heart, I was eager to give, I was trusting." The "trusting" part is in direct opposition to her utter revulsion at the male sex, but I find it strange that anyone who believes in personal responsibility (and the catastrophe of its absence) could much complain about the wreckage of this woman's life.

Update 6/22/2015: Related, from The Art Of Manliness, a listicle on the virtues of fatherhood.

No comments:

Post a Comment