7 Fathers on How Their Relationship to Fatherhood Has Changed in the #MeToo Era


There’s no one answer to how to be a good dad: It’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving pursuit. It’s also fair to say that this particular moment is particularly thought-provoking. The president has been accused of sexual assault by dozens of women, the head of Hollywood’s most prominent film studio was arrested on charges of rape, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, and committing a criminal sex act, and by all estimations, the #MeToo movement is just getting started. What new considerations does #MeToo pose for fathers? How does it change and inform the job of raising daughters—or sons? A handful of thoughtful dads weigh in.

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“My sons are 18 and 21, so parenting them now is a critical time, especially in this era. I’ve always worked to make sure my sons know how to respect and value women, men, and people with different gender identities. It’s a constant conversation. I’ve talked to them about how to listen when someone says no, or even if someone says maybe—that that might be their way of saying no if they don’t have confidence in the moment. We were just talking about this today. I always say if they are in doubt, move the conversation away from a group. Because in a group, people have a herd mentality that can cause them to do things they don’t necessarily want to do. By asking someone to talk alone, that gives people more power. It’s a tool to support doing the right thing.

As a gay man who is engaged to another man, there’s not a lot of female energy in the house. So we always want to be sure we’re talking about it to my boys. And so far, I’ve been so proud of what I’ve seen in how they interact with their girlfriends. They’re open, they listen, they communicate a lot, and are honest about their feelings.

We are constantly talking about equality and what true equality means. As African Americans, we’ve been marginalized. We’ve talked about how there are other groups who are also being marginalized, and as a young black man, how could behavior like that be okay? I’m really proud of my older son. I’ve heard his friends say something derogatory about a woman. And he’ll always say, ‘How would you feel if someone said that about your mom?’ I love that he knows how to stand up.” —Karamo Brown (@karamobrown), culture expert on Queer Eye

Karamo with his sons, Chris and Jason

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“I have two boys, Henry, 7, and Jake, 5. They’re still really young, and are just figuring out the world, so it’s a good time to teach them about basically everything. You already see kids their ages who think it’s okay to hurt someone if they want something. My wife Jane and I haven’t specifically explained #MeToo to them, but we have talked to them about respecting other people, not touching someone if they don’t want to be touched, and leaving someone alone if they want to be left alone.

They definitely pick things up from their parents. Henry made Jane a Mother’s Day card once where he said, ‘My mother is fast, my mother is strong, my mother builds things.’ (She’s an architect.) Jake just turned 5. He’s learned that it’s okay to play with dolls and fairies and other things some classmates gender. He wears pink to school, even after some kids have made fun of him for it, and has recently asked us to paint his room pink.

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All to say, from an early age, they’ve been aware of what it means to be a good person, that thinking doesn’t need to be binary, and that you can reject basic gender roles. Hopefully, if we keep teaching them by example, too, they can grow up to be decent people.” —Brandon Stosuy (@brandonstosuy), co-founder of The Creative Independent

Brandon with Henry and Jake

Ebru Yildiz

“I have a three-year-old and one-year-old daughter. I never want my kids to feel less powerful or worthy than anyone. I never want fear to keep them silent. The #MeToo movement has given me incredible hope. It backs up the values I’m teaching my girls and proves the value of their voice.”La Guardia Cross (@laguardiacross), host of the “New Father Chronicles” webseries

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La Guardia with his daughters, Amalah and Nayely

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“My late wife, and mother of my children, was raped a couple of weeks before I met her. That meant I got a crash course when I was 19. I joined a women’s interest network. I participated in Take Back the Night. I worked on a rape crisis hotline. So I guess I was a little more sensitive about women’s issues. What has surprised me about #MeToo is that I wasn’t nearly as enlightened as I thought I was. I’m almost embarrassed at how shallow my understanding of the totality of it was.

This Weinstein stuff opened my eyes to certain assumptions I had made about how the industry operated. I had a cavalier attitude to the casting couch: Men in power demand sex and women give it away for career advancement. I assumed that was just how it was. We didn’t have to like it, but it was a fact. But that’s unacceptable in a high school, in a studio, anywhere. And if this is going on routinely over the course of several generations, it must be affecting the messages that we’re receiving watching the shows or the movies, too.

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All that is to say I’ve always raised my daughter to be super attentive to that little voice in her head that tells her something isn’t right, something isn’t safe. Trust that voice above all else.” Matt Zoller Seitz (), editor-in-chief RogerEbert.com

fatherhood during the metoo era

Mariel Tyler

“My daughter Clara is 15. And I love having a daughter. I do not think the #MeToo movement has really changed my approach to being her father per se—of course I have always been sensitive to these issues and I was raised myself by strong women who taught me care and respect.

I have always felt that my job as a parent was to do my best to raise a confident and independent child who knew they were unconditionally loved and cared for. I have always been open and honest and available emotionally for her and I think we have a strong and open relationship for communication. I would never want her to experience any of these horrible things—but I hope I’m giving her the tools to manage and avoid these potential situations or at least put up a good fight.” —Matthew Hranek (@wmbrownproject), editor at Condé Nast Traveler

“I have a two-year-old son, Henry. The first conversation we ever had was, ‘Hello, I love you, welcome to the world, your mother is the most amazing person.’ I always aspired to be a feminist dad. But now there is now a constant flow of new stories and headlines, that, to be really reductive, constantly remind us that men can be terrible people. It’s a constant remind of my gender and of his. So I’m always asking. ‘How do I do better? How do I make sure I’m not one of those people?’ How to be a good man is an interesting question anyway. But now I ask it on a more regular basis.

I want to raise a man who is respectful of other men and women. I want to teach him to be super compassionate, empathetic, and aware of others. Even at two, he has an innate ability to make people around him happy. He’s programmed for good. I almost take his lead in that way, and hope not to fuck him up. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to answer his questions when he become aware of the culture. And until then, I will keep teaching him to be a champion of people who need a champion.” Howie Kahn (@howiekahn), writer and contributing editor to Wall Street Journal Magazine

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“The #MeToo movement is a reminder that no matter how much we emphasize treating others with respect, we and our kids will encounter situations where that’s not happening. It’s those times it’s important to stand up.” —Paul Malewitz (@Dadpression), writer

Paul and his son

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