Around Valentine’s Day, it’s not uncommon to see pictures of little girls dressed up, smiling, and excited to go with their dads to a father-daughter dance. Such has long been the case at New York PS 65, a public elementary school on Staten Island.
But as CBS News reports, the annual father-daughter dance is being rescheduled and revamped in the name of political correctness. Instead of being an exclusive event for fathers or father-figures to take their little ladies, the dance will now be open to anyone. Not surprisingly, the news came as quite a disappointment to many:
“‘It’s kind of a let down,’ 5th grader Angelina Lubo said. ‘At least I could still spend time with my dad.’
‘It’s supposed to be father and daughter,’ grandparent Traci Javois said. ‘Father and daughter need to have a relationship, you know, feel good.’”
This change is based on a new ruling by the New York Department of Education, which decrees that school culture should be supportive to all genders, including girls, boys, transgender, gender nonconforming, and so on. As the New York Post explains, any “'gender-based'” activity – like the father-daughter dance – is taboo, unless of course, the activity “serve[s] a ‘clear’ educational purpose.”
What the educational powers that be have failed to realize, however, is that the father-daughter dance actually can be classified as an educational event. Consider, for a moment, the ideas behind these dances. For starters, they teach young girls that they are valuable. They then teach them how a good man responds to that value, namely, by being a loving, caring gentleman who treats women with respect. Finally, they teach girls how to respond appropriately to such respect in their words and actions.
Those are important lessons, particularly in an age in which it seems that neither men nor women know how to appropriately interact with one another. Furthermore, they also promise to be important in helping young girls find their footing and become a success in a competitive world.
Oxford scholar and author Dorothy Sayers hinted at this fact in her famous 1935 novel, Gaudy Night. As heroine Harriet Vane ponders to herself:
“Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him – or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.”
After posing the question to another one of Sayers’ characters, Harriet is reminded:
“‘You have forgotten physical achievements…. I believe many female singers, dancers, Channel swimmers and tennis stars owe everything to their devoted fathers.’”
Such musings are not the sole ramblings of a fictitious novel. Modern research shows that they are the truth of everyday life. As Wake Forest University adolescent psychology professor Linda Nielsen notes, women who grow up with a committed, active father in their lives enjoy many benefits. These include:
- A greater likelihood of graduating from college
- A greater tendency to work in traditionally male-dominated careers
- A greater chance to have a fulfilling romantic relationship and long-lasting marriage
- A greater ability to deal well with stress
- A greater satisfaction with body image
- A decreased tendency toward depression
- A decreased tendency toward teen pregnancy and sexual activity
One of the main mantras of today’s politically correct culture is the idea that women need to get ahead in life. Ironically, it seems that in the case of New York public schools, the separate, politically correct quest to be gender inclusive may actually be lampooning one of the most effective ways that young women can get ahead, namely, the cultivation of healthy father-daughter relationships.
[Image Credit: Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Necoechea, Public Domain]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.