How Having a Daughter Changes Men

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“Girls Gone Wild” creator Joe Francis with his twin daughters Alexandria and Athena. (Photo: Real Joe Francis/Tumblr)

He’s a proud dad and he wants you to know it. “Girls Gone Wild” creator Joe Francis recently shared an adorable video of his baby twin daughters Alexandria and Athena on Tumblr, showing the infants smiling, sleeping, and laughing, reported Us Weekly on Monday. “If you were wondering what we’ve been doing the last six months watch this video,” Francis wrote on his Tumblr page. “It’s a fun video that Abbey put together [starring] Athena and Alexandria Francis.”

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It’s definitely an awe-worthy gesture, so sweet in fact, that you might forget that Francis is the founder and creator of the entertainment brand “Girls Gone Wild,” a now bankrupt multimillion dollar empire built on filming girls (some of whom were allegedly underage) flashing their privates to camera crews. However, since moving on from his company and associated legal battles in 2013 and welcoming newborn daughters, Francis seems like a changed man.

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“I believe people will finally understand my love, respect, and admiration for women,” Francis told Us Weekly back when he and long-time girlfriend Abbey Wilson announced they were expecting. “I love girls.” Apparently so much that he and Wilson (a former “Girls Gone Wild” participant) underwent in vitro fertilization in order to ensure they’d have daughters, not sons.  

That may sound confusing, given Francis’ murky history with women, but the effects that a daughter can have on a man are profound. Just ask Kanye West, who recently told Complex magazine that little girls are life-changing. “Before, when I drove down the street I would see these brands and think they’re really desirable for a girl who would dream of one day walking in that runway show or something like that,” West told the magazine. “And that’s a, you know, dated view and degrading to women, in a way.”

West added, “Because when I was a single bachelor rapper, and with the access that I had, I realized that I wasn’t respecting women the way I needed to. God has an amazing way of teaching people, and literally for two years I lived with all alpha females and a daughter, you know?” And in 2013, while explaining that he got teary-eyed during a father-daughter dance with his twin daughters, Sean “Diddy” Combs told Jimmy Kimmel that having girls “just makes you face reality.”

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Kanye West holding his daughter North West. (Photo: Getty Images)

Why is having a daughter such a game-changer for men? “Science has shown that parenting can actually rewire the brain due to the strong attachment process and emotional ties that come with having a child,” Bethany Marshall, PhD, a Beverly Hills based psychotherapist, tells Yahoo Parenting. “When a man connects with his daughter, the relationship can be intensified because the differing gender dynamic pushes him outside his comfort zone.”

Sisters can help socialize males in early childhood, but the primal nature of caregiving — supplying a human’s most basic, intimate, and immediate needs — takes bonding to a whole new level. That’s especially true for fathers raised with gender-specific expectations who aren’t accustomed to expressing their emotions.

There’s also a psychological shift that occurs over time when a man fathers a little girl. “As the daughter grows, she influences her dad in new ways,” says Marshall. “He’s exposed to it all — her dating dilemmas, her perspective on life, her struggles. The experience can cause him to form a new sense of empathy for women.” And for some fathers, this relationship presents an ethical dilemma, causing them to reconcile the path they’ve carved out in life with the role model they hope to become for their daughters.

Of course, parenthood doesn’t affect all men in the same way. For example, country singer Garth Brooks recently explained his decision to take a 14-year break from fame to focus on his three daughters, telling People, “But being a dad — there’s nothing that can touch that.” Others maintain a more balanced approach to fatherhood. And some like Francis, insist they’ve had their priorities straight all along.

And while it’s easy to eye-roll the hypocrisy of comments from men like Francis or West, according to Marshall, acknowledging that self-evolution is the key to positive parenting. Even better: These dads may teach their daughters to demand the utmost respect from men. 

Please follow @YahooParenting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have an interesting story to share about your family? E-mail us at YParenting (at) Yahoo.com.

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