Why, ‘One fair daughter, and no more, the which he lovéd passing well.’

There was an article about the effect of daughters on fathers.  It indicated that there was some evidence that having daughters turned fathers into better men. Or at least, more compassionate ones.
It’s funny, though, I read this article round about the same time that I heard this Freakonomics podcast which seemed to indicate that fathers who had daughters were many times more likely to divorce their wives than fathers with sons.
It would seem that these two bits of media might be in contradiction with one another. And looking at them side by side, I do feel my eyes cross a little. But in a way, they make sense together, the cultural preference for boys leads to both divorce and more enlightened fathers of daughters. If, of course, any of that is true.
Certainly the fathers in Shakespeare are mostly the fathers of daughters (Lord Montague, Gloucester, Henry IV, Macduff, Hamlet, Egeus of Syracuse, Belario excepted) and while some of them are improved by their daughters (Pericles, Cymbeline, Duke Senior, arguably Lear) a lot of them are right bastards about their girls (Egeus of Athens, Lord Capulet, Prospero, Leontes, Brabantio, Baptista) And the mothers that there are (Gertrude, Volumnia and the Abbess) are the mothers of boys. Ist possible that being single fathers magnifies the girl effect?


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