*This post first appeared on Psychology Today.
I wrote a list of tips, (below) for how one might disinherit their daughter without feeling guilt. I did this as a way to expose the age-old misogyny that continues to show up, every day, in every area of our lives.
Like racism, ethnocentrism, homophobia, transphobia, and every other insidious form of hatred and fear, misogyny does not only reveal itself in overt acts of discrimination and violence but more often it lingers subtly in our justice system, politics, religions, entertainment, media, workplaces, and day-to-day social exchanges. My intention here is to not only spotlight how we continue to harm women—and anyone considered to be “less than”—but also to deconstruct the various ways we seek to justify the actions we take against them.
As psychological studies have proven, many of our pervasive biases are socially conditioned. But, as this study shows, if our subliminal prejudices are made conscious, we often attempt to correct them. And that is my hope for you as you glance over the list below.
Notice which of the “tips” that you consider to be ludicrous; which of them resemble thoughts you’ve had yourself; and which you recognize in the thoughts of your friends, colleagues, and communities.
Hopefully by exposing our own subliminal forms of hatred and disdain for other people —especially those who lack social power and privilege—we can work to reclaim our daughters, sisters, mothers, sons, and everyone else we disinherit when our biases go
So, how does one go about disinheriting their daughter without guilt, you ask?
- Name her Eve.
- Whenever Eve speaks, get the whole family to roll their eyes at her, especially when she carries on about being left out: There she goes again, All about Eve.
- Name her Megyn Kelly. Name your son Donald Trump. Then follow his lead.
- Adopt her from non-white birth parents and pretend she’s absolutely no different than your white kids. Even when they tease her or when she always happens to be the one to “go to jail” or to “get shot” when they “play.” And when she finally gets angry at your white kids, point your finger at her and say, “You see? That’s why you’re out of the will!”
- Remind her, every day, how hard it is, for you, that she was not born a boy. And if she was born a boy but is no longer a boy, say, “Why’d you have to go and ruin a good thing?” But if she was born a girl and is now a boy, say, “What happened to my sweet little girl?” Then wait for her outside the gender neutral bathrooms at Target, in protest, along with a posse of your new friends–the ones who really care about you–and shout, “Why are you doing this to me?!”
- Blurt out things like, “Emails!,” or “Speeches!” or “How dare you want to be president?!” And then just stare at her. Because she knows what she did.
- Invite her and her wife to a barbecue in Texas or Alabama or Mississippi or North Carolina, and when she declines, due to concerns for their safety, say, “You obviously don’t want to be part of this family.” And if she doesn’t have a wife–or a girlfriend, for that matter–accuse her of being a closet lesbian and of always shutting
- you out.
- Keep track of every cruel thing you ever did to her, and then write her a nasty letter–with bullet points–explaining how she did those things to you. Because someone did those things to you. Right? Someone who looms large in your life, and is hard for you to challenge?
- Encourage her to take ballet and tap and to be a contestant on The Bachelor, and then feign ignorance about the subtle viciousness of girl-on-girl bullying, and look at her with befuddled Scooby Doo-eyebrows when she enlightens you about said bullying, and when she leans on you for comfort, say, “C’mon now, don’t be paranoid,” and be surprised when she (suddenly, out of nowhere) becomes emotionally unstable, “Way too unstable to manage money,” your sons will say, while their obedient wives nod in agreement–thinking only of what’s best for you, of course–and then take the advice of your loving sons, and their good wives, and reason with her: “Honey, if I left anything for you I’d be contributing to your problem.”
- Wait til she’s over the hill before you die. By the time she’s in her thirties she’ll have long forgotten her silly, childhood dreams of being treated fairly.
- Remind yourself that not every daughter deserves to be cut off, just the ones likeher: the independent-minded, loudmouthed, sl&tty, c#nty, b$tch, wh@re(link sends e-mail), f%ggots. (That’s right, you said it, “f%ggots,” because she might not actually be a daughter at all, she may be a gay son–or some other black sheep among your otherwise normal flock–but, either way, you are certain you would have loved her all the same if only she did not insist on drawing attention to herself–and casting shame on your house–in all those classic ways that vain daughters and flamboyant gay sons do: with their revealing outfits; and sibilant S’s; and brazen bids for recognition, the indecency; and their shrill, redundant, migraine-inducing, Roars for equality …I mean, c’mon, she was asking for it all along. Wasn’t she?…)
- Ask yourself: Does she bring me anything but down? (I mean, she can’t tell a joke without referencing the sober truth, killing the family buzz, or being the Debbie Downer.)
- Remind yourself what King Lear said: “Nothing comes from nothing.” (See? You know Shakespeare… You’d think she was the only one who ever read a book the way she goes on about herself. Well, Lah -tee-dah. If she’s so much better than the rest of you, she obviously doesn’t need your help.)
- Badger people to nod in sympathy about your choice to dispossess her. More than half of them will oblige. If not, go to your local pub, college, or bigoted elected official, and try again. Repeat as needed.
- Try disinheriting your son: the straight, white one, who never had an abortion. Super hard to do, right? Now cut off the daughter. By comparison it should be a cakewalk.
- Don’t overthink this. Few will challenge your decision to disinherit your daughter. And if they do, their whiny little voices will remind you of her, and why you had to do it in the first place.