Last week, Jay-Z released his “4:44” album in which he raps, “I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes.” With lyrics like that, many are citing the album as Jay-Z’s arrival in the celebrity feminist circle. While we hope the acclaimed rapper will serve as a powerful example for millions that men can be feminists, we are troubled by his underlying message that he couldn’t see women as equals until he had a daughter.
And Jay-Z’s story isn’t unique. Lots of celebrity dads, including Will Smith, Ben Affleck, and even President Obama, have shared that they became more aware of “how gender stereotypes pervade our society” once they became dads. And research shows that when a man has a daughter, he’s generally more likely to challenge traditional roles; if he’s a legislator, he’s more like to promote female-friendly policies; and if he’s an employer, he’s more likely to invest in pay equality.
But it shouldn’t take fatherhood for men to believe in and fight for women’s equality! We should live in a world where we each recognize the value and common humanity of each other. To do that, we have to change hearts, minds, and ultimately our culture. That’s why we at The Representation Project are working every day to change the status quo.
Sign up to make a $10 monthly contribution right now if you support our work and agree that everyone should recognize women’s value and fight for women’s equality. Together, we can create a more just and equitable future for all.
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Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The Representation Project Team