When I was applying to grad school in 2004 for a master of public health in sexuality and health wanting to help change the discourse of how we talk about sex, never did I think that in just under 10 years an essay like Dear Daughter: I Hope you Have Awesome Sex would A. be written, and B. get so much attention.
This post, accurately characterized as provocative and refreshing by Feminist Philosophers, has been reposted on the Good Men Project and Huffington Post to name a few, taking writer Ferrett Steinmetz totally by surprise (check out his Random Thoughts on Going Viral).
Ferrett’s inspiration for writing this open letter was Daddy’s Rules for Dating– an outlandish yet sadly realistic list of limiting one’s daughter’s decision-making power and instilling incredible fear in a potential (assumed to be male) suitor. This list was surely meant to be funny but instead does a great job of outlining atrocious fear-based fathering.
What I absolutely love about Ferrett’s letter is that he acknowledges that his daughter is a sexual being, with the ability to make her own, informed decisions about engaging in sexual behaviors. He uses the words CONSENSUAL and GENDERQUEER. He eschews an open and honest attitude about sexuality that many parents struggle to adopt. He also admits that his daughter is her own person, whom he cannot control: “You’re not me. Nor are you an extension of my will….I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower.” How wonderfully empowering is that?! Instead, he’s the father that can be a support system, someone to turn to even when life involves sex.
I know that many people have criticized this piece, probably calling Ferrett worse things than I can imagine, but I wholeheartedly believe he’s on the right track. I’m happy to see people freakin out about this one- let’s get the word out there that sex can be awesome and sexuality isn’t something to be afraid of.