Obasi: I hope I never have a daughter

An argument for approaching sexual assault from a different angle.

As any of my friends will tell you, I absolutely love babies. I’m that girl who willingly goes into kids’ clothing stores to painstakingly put together outfits for the perfect little boys that I don’t plan on having for at least another decade.

Yes, you read that right: boys. No girls. Absolutely not.

Whenever I reveal that fact, people look at me with complete shock, unable to comprehend why I, a woman, would not be thrilled at the thought of giving birth to a girl and having the great privilege of raising her into a beautiful, brilliant woman.

 For years I used to dance around the real reason why I don’t want girls, often joking that if they were anything like their mother, they would be way too much to handle.

However, after Elliot Rodger’s bloody rampage in Isla Vista, California on May 23, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I don’t want to have a girl.

“I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it,” Rodger stated in his shocking 107,000 word manifesto entitled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger.” Shortly after sending out the manifesto, Rodger acted on it by killing 6 and injuring 13.

Women reacted strongly to the Isla Vista massacre, creating a massive online movement through the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen.

One Twitter user, @fariharoisin, participated with, “I am excited to see a generation of women who will raise their boys to be good rather than their girls to be scared. #YesAllWomen”

I don’t want to have a girl because I don’t want her to come home and tell me stories similar to mine.

Growing up, my body developed faster than other girls my age. At 13, I already had big breasts, thick thighs and a lot of boys and men looking my way. They would stare at me as if I wasn’t a person, but a prime piece of meat they were ready to devour. My discomfort with my own body grew with each set of eyes that burned holes into me.

It became even more painful when the harassment came from some of my closest friends.

One night in high school, I was in the car with three of my male friends at the time. As we were driving, an Enrique Iglesias song came on and I started dancing to the upbeat rhythm.

Suddenly, all three of them began openly making comments about the movement of my breasts, joking about how big they were and how I should consider getting a new bra to help support the immense weight. Shrugging it off, I was then handed a pencil and asked to see if I could pass “the pencil test.” In anger, I rolled down the window and tossed the pencil out of the car. Still, they did not stop. They continued to tease me with rather pathetic and offensive attempts to help me imagine how I must look to them.

I was mortified. I had never felt so violated – and no one had even touched me. When I stopped talking to them, none of them tried to apologize. Instead, they wrote it off as me simply “not taking a joke” and “being dramatic.”

#YesAllWomen allowed women around the world to share stories like mine. They shed light on the ongoing war against them, and while this war is not always as overt as Rodger’s attack, it is still there, quiet and more pervasive.

I don’t hesitate to admit now that I don’t want daughters, because I don’t want any child of mine to be on the receiving end of a culture that fundamentally still does not respect women. I can’t bear the thought of falling hopelessly in love with my daughter and watching her grow, only to have this society make her feel uncomfortable in her own skin or unsafe doing something as simple as walking down the street. I don’t want to show her how to turn her keys into weapons or properly use pepper spray. It ruins me to even think that I could potentially lose her to rape or misogynistic psychos like Rodger.

Nope, I’d much rather have boys. I hope I have the opportunity to raise them into men who will respect women and know that it’s not okay to rape or objectify women. Because honestly, we need more men like that in this world.

Ndidi Obasi can be reached at ndidi.obasi@temple.edu.

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