Gov. Cuomo — Like All Men — Shouldn’t Need Daughters To Feel Bad About Abusing Women

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo giving resignation speech

“Your dad made mistakes,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a resignation speech partially addressed to his three daughters.

It was arguably the most sincere, apologetic moment of his speech. He let go of mentions of “political motivations at play” and the cost of investigations into his sexual misconduct and, instead, praised the “talents” and “gifts” of his daughters.

In any other context, it could have been a heartwarming speech from a feminist father of three daughters who he wants to have “no stereotypes” and “no limitations.”

But, against the backdrop of a scathing investigation that revealed his extensive sexual misconduct, the praise of three women in his life is a weak coverup of the abuse of others.

Soon-to-be-former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo addressed his daughters during his resignation speech.

"In many ways, I see the world through the eyes of my daughters. Cara, Mariah and Michaela,” Cuomo said, but if that were really the case, the alleged sexual misconduct and his subsequent denial of it would likely not have occurred.

Cuomo’s comments point to a painful reality that many women already know — far too many men only care about women they love.

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Cuomo’s daughters, like all women, probably know exactly what it’s like to stand before a man more powerful than them and feel unable to speak up against their sexism and abuse.

To really see through a woman’s eyes would mean knowing that you don’t need a female perspective to know not to hurt others.

Women care for men all the time without imagining them as their fathers, brothers, husbands or sons.

Meanwhile, the same men who catcall women in the street or sexually harass them in the workplace probably return home to wives, sisters, mothers and daughters who they would hate to see targeted by men like them.

Too many men lack of empathy for women.

This empathy gap has pushed women’s rights movements to reorganize themselves in ways that engage men.

Women bend over backwards to encourage men to think about how gender discrimination impacts them in order for the word “feminism” to appeal to the masses.

When we talk about survivors of rape or sexual assault we frame them as “someone’s daughter” or tell men to “imagine it was your sister” to make them care.

We are constantly catering to that dangerous part of men that only cares about things that directly impact them.

Isn’t being a human enough of a reason to not want to be assaulted? Does a woman have to be a man’s daughter, sister, mother or partner in order for us to care?

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Having a daughter doesn’t make you a good man.

Cuomo hiding behind the girl-dad defence has echoes of the words of a fellow politician, former House Representative Ted Yoho who used a similar tactic in 2020.

While apologizing to Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez for verbally harassing her on the steps of the House, he said:

“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language.”

This idea that being a father or husband somehow gives someone permission to treat other women how they please is as prolific as it is nonsensical. It’s the “not all men” excuse disguised as something empathetic.

The women in your life who approve your actions do not speak for all women nor can they grant you immunity from treating others with respect.

Oscasio-Cortez’s poignant reply to Yoho rings also rings true in response to Cuomo and to all men who think having women in their lives means they treat women correctly:

“I believe that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.”

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.