Critics have long speculated about long term effects of same-sex parenting on children. Well, that generation has come of age and is starting families of their own. A woman raised by two moms is openly lamenting her upbringing because she insists she missed out on having a father in her life.
Even though Heather Barwick was an advocate of same-sex relationships in her twenties, the 31 year-old mom-of-four from South Carolina has had second thoughts now that she is navigating her own traditional marriage without a compass.
When Barwick was around two or three years old, her mom left her father for another woman, and her dad eventually dropped out of her life.
Though Barwick admits that she enjoyed a tight-knit and liberal childhood, and shared a special bond with her mother's partner, it was no substitute for her father's presence.
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"Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn't matter. That it's all the same. But it's not," wrote Barwick in a conservative paper, The Federalist. "A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father's absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom's partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost."
While I have no doubt that Barwick missed her dad, his absence is hardly cause to slam same-sex parenting.
Plenty of children grow up without fathers, due to separation, death, or desertion. (And yes, I speak from experience.) There is a definite void that casts a shadow throughout childhood which can linger into adulthood, palpable even when we start our own families. But that void can affect any dynamic, any household, be it heterosexual or homosexual.
By Barwick's own admission, her father wasn't a "great guy," so it seems to me that her wounds are personal, not political.
She is among six other adult children speaking out against same-sex parenting, in defense of Dolce & Gabbana's controversial statements.
A disgruntled mom took to YouTube recently to spell out an important message to a 'Person Who Likes My Daughter.' While Dr. Lindsey Doe wasn't surprised that an unnamed boy took a shining to her 14 year-old daughter, she was thoroughly unimpressed by the way he went about showing it.
So Doe took it upon herself to explain the rules of consent after said boy repeatedly asked her daughter out and wouldn't take no for an answer. Doe doesn't blame the boy for his confusion.
After all, society feeds us messages that if at first we don't succeed, try, try, try again. And there's a whole trope dedicated to so-called "romances" in which the heroine isn't interested in the hero at first. But still he keeps at it. He doesn't give up on getting his girl—and ultimately, in the final reel, he wins. She capitulates, confessing that she feels the same way about him. Cue a dramatic kiss.
That, says Doe, is problematic. If a girl turns you down and you keep on asking and asking anyway, what you are doing—despite what the movies tell you—is not cool, not attractive or respectful.
Relentless attention is not flattering. It's called pestering at best, harassment at worst.
It seems crazy to have to spell this out in 2015, but No isn't the same as Maybe. No isn't the same as I'm not sure or even Ask me later. If the girl changes her mind, then that's her right. But an explicit No should be taken for what it is, and the girl should be left well alone.
No is simply a closed door, not an invitation to knock harder or longer.
It's been a long time coming, but Facebook has finally caved under pressure and revised its community guidelines on nudity. In short, that means those breastfeeding photos, a.k.a."brelfies," are now permitted on the social media site.
On countless occasions, Facebook has pulled down images and blocked user access following photos of breastfeeding moms. Were the pics vulgar or somehow pornographic? Uh, no. Were they shameful or somehow degrading to anyone? Uh, no.
Under the new rules, Facebook will continue to ban images "displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks ... We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring." Also permitted under the new guidelines are art pieces depicting nude figures.
Facebook plans to take a harder line on cyberbullying and hate crimes that target users based on "race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases." Any content deemed to have "malicious intent" will be disclosed to authorities.
"We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest," reads the standards spiel, "but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them."
The changes are a step in the right direction, and one can only hope that Facebook officials apply the new standards in a more consistent and scrupulous fashion.
For sure, the internet is a hard place to police. But if Facebook is going to be a tool for good, a digital space that connects instead of alienates people, then it needs to work harder behind the scenes to identify content that is truly pornographic and offensive. In other words: not a flash of nipple on a nursing mom...