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Much of it comes from Puritanical roots. Perhaps things are different now, but when I was young, Judeo-Christian households carried a certain amount of shame associated with sex, sexual organs, and discussions about them.
More shame and discomfort also comes from society trying to paint every man as some kind of molester. This may even be the biggest factor. This is nothing more than internalized misandry that men must overcome for the sake of their daughters. But internalized misandry it is. There is also external misandry. When shopping pre-K schools for my daughter, I asked if there were any male teachers (as I prefer a balance). I was told by a female teacher that it would be considered a "safety risk" by many parents. I wanted to tell her that sexual abuse convictions of female educators have tripled in the past decade. But I noped right out of there and found a better school. That said, this is what dads face on a daily basis.
As men, it is very easy for us to internalize such blatant misandry. My example is simply one of many that we face each week. Luckily, I did not have the same amount of religious programming as my peers. I just had to face society's anti-male pressures. I can see it being more difficult for my peers who were raised in parochial schools and deeply religious homes.
It takes a mindset to say "Fuck em. This is my daughter and I am her father. We can talk about our bodies. We should talk about our bodies. There is nothing wrong, shameful or dirty about it. "
I was the first to comfortably broach the subject with my daughter. I taught her to wipe and why there is an order of operations. She would happly sing the "Down in the front, up in the back" song that I taught her. Ask her why? "So I don't get Mr. Germ and Mrs. Bacteria in my buh-gina..." Fucking hilarious! And that's exactly what the topic needs, right? A bit of child-like levity.
What has also helped me is to use books from cultures that are not ashamed of the body.
The "where did I come from" question was addressed at 2-3 years old with this one. There are some other Japanese books we used, but I cannot find them online.
When they get older this one is more appropriate.
I have to admit, the more you read and talk with them about the subject, the easier it gets. I also got kids' anatomy books to go over the various systems. Using clinical terms helps remove discomfort as does talking about genitals in terms of our pets ("Sada the dog has testicles because he is a boy dog. Men and boys also have testicles just like Sada".)
Regarding inappropriate touching, I find that fathers are probably better at explaining boundaries as we are usually the ones who are more adept at setting clear and consistent boundaries for our children through fatherly discipline. Once we were comfortable discussing the body, it was easy to discuss inappropriate touches. We checked this book out from the library. Good concept, mediocre execution. This one was much better and enjoyable.
These books (and subsequent discussions) helped us set a baseline and standard in the younger years builds trust that moves on to the adolescent and pre-teen years. One of the men in our Dad's Group has a teenage daughter. He was the one who taught her daughter different ways of dealing with her period (cup vs pad vs tampon). He has a wonderful bond with his daughter that was set quite early. That guy has been a great influence on all and has helped many of us remove the shame and stigma around approaching the female body.
A few random factors.
- I grew up in a multi-generational house that had at least 2 girls and women at any one time.
- I have also had plenty of girlfriends and serious (cohabitating) relationships. One girlfriend had ovarian cysts, one girlfriend had very unusually rough 7-day periods. Of course, we discussed these things together.
- I probably found my parents' copy of "The Joy of Sex" at a bit of an early age, too.
- I was the first class in my state to have sex-ed in school. This is when I was living in America. It was very controversial, as we started as 5th graders. Many parents protested this (again, American Puritan roots).
All of these things demystified female genitals and has helped with my comfort with discussions around the female body.
A bit of a ramble. But it breaks my heart to see fathers allow terrible people to drive a wedge between them and successful parental relationships with their daughters. I am skeptical of university studies, as most seek to paint men is a negative light. Perhaps this study will be no different. But maybe this post might help some dads with their discussions and relationships with daughters.
:-D thanks fer the contest lady :-p