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Woke Daddy: The feminist dad challenging toxic masculinity and facing right-wing abuse

Men are increasingly showing their more sensitive sides, but many people are not OK with this break with traditional gender roles

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 20 June 2017 10:07

A dad who says having daughters changed how he views gender is trying to challenge toxic masculinity with his blog.

The parenting journal Woke Daddy has become an online hit, with posts such as “coming out as a male feminist and why to do it” being widely shared.

In it, he said: “I buried it deep, deep down because my environment made it unsafe for me to be sensitive.

“They (men) are never presented the option in their lives. This leads men to associate vulnerability with weakness and by association, weakness with the feminine gender.”

33-year-old Ludo Gabriele, who is originally from France and now lives in New York City, decided to start Woke Daddy after becoming a father.

“How can a father of a daughter not be a feminist? It simply does not make sense to me,” he told Broadly.

“I just want to live in a world where my daughter can look for a job and be hired for her skills, and not for the way she looks. A world where she is not short changed on her pay and where she is not sexualised on a daily basis.”

He now has a team of writers, but as the profile of Woke Daddy has grown, so has the backlash from traditional right-wing conservative websites such as Daily Wire and Heatstreet, who claim he is “chastising” men who are “playing into the traditional ‘male’ role.”

And unsurprisingly, Gabriele receives plenty of negativity online.

In response to his post about why men should be feminists, he was called a “cuck for life.”

Another added: “Men are GENETICALLY meant to be masculine. MEN are meant to be tough and protective.”

Much of the backlash perfectly displays the toxic masculinity he is fighting:

“Women don’t need to be worshipped for being able to birth children, the ones that do are narcissistic, childbirth isn’t amazing, all animals can do it. But even if you do, thinking childbirth is beautiful doesn’t make you a feminist,” one person commented on a post by controversial alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos about Gabriele.

“Also, quitting your job isn’t a feminine thing, it’s a loser thing, if you have a family you should probably jump back into your man box and stop thinking about your daughter's sexuality for a minute.”

And Gabriele has also been criticised for only caring about feminism when it affected him directly, since having daughters.

Gabriele is not the only dad blogger to publicly embrace the role of a father with feelings - Father of Daughters has 669,000 followers on Instagram, and musician Tom Fletcher regularly posts about being a dad.

Last month, Everyday Girl Dad wrote a post on Facebook reminding men that feeling good for “helping” with parenting jobs isn’t right, and equally splitting work between parents is crucial.

There’s also the twitter account, Man Who Has It All, which highlights many aspects of how women are still treated badly in society by flipping advice on its head and directing it at men.

And despite the abuse they receive, these men also get a lot of praise for their challenging of gender roles.

Mothers and fathers splitting parenting duties evenly and men not feeling like they have to adhere to outdated gender stereotypes is undeniably progress.

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