Director: Cassie Jaye
Producers: Cassie Jaye, Nena Jaye
MPAA Rating: NR
Running time: 90 min.
Sex. There’s a loaded word. Some want it, others have it but everyone wants a say on it. From parents to politicians, everyone has something to say on the subject and a few even have the opportunity to share their thoughts but the discussion that starts with sex isn’t simply about the act of fornication but rather, what comes afterward. It’s the after effects of that romp in the sac that people in high places are worried about. Things like STDs, single parent families, abortion – these are the issues that degrade our social system and show a culture sliding in moral values (or so “they” fear). At the end of the day, it all goes back to sex and education, two things that should go hand in hand but that often don’t.
Cassie Jaye’s documentary Daddy I Do starts as an exploration of abstinence only sex education in the form of purity balls and silver ring/purity movements which discourage sex not through education but through a push of faith. The film continues from here to explore the fallout that comes from the lack of sexual education and though it never makes a case either for or against abstinence only programs, it provides enough data and rope to let the movement hang itself.
Yet with all of the talk of sex education and what works and doesn’t work, Jaye’s film does something else that hasn’t really been done in any other films I’ve seen on the subject: it opens the door for discussion on what this sort of education and mentality does to women.
Though not an overtly feminist film, Daddy I Do looks specifically at the role of women as sexual individuals and more than that, it explores how that relates to power. That’s perhaps the beginning of trouble, this idea that women aren’t as strong as men and that some find power in their sexuality. Is this true? Is this mentality wrong? It could be if you don’t have the knowledge to yield that power responsibly but the idea of something like a purity ball that essentially gives a father “control” over his daughter’s sexuality and then passes on said virginity to another man (her husband) is troublesome.
It’s easy to get lost in the specifics of Cassie Jaye’s film because each tidbit of information is a hot button issue that could use its own film yet Jaye manages to interconnect and swiftly move from one to the next, building an essay of information that is enough to make even the most laid back individual sit up and take notice. And that’s the real power of a good documentary: the ability to spark conversation and Daddy I Do certainly does that (along with drawing out a few sighs and head shakes). It could easily have gotten out of hand as some interviews bring up other issues that are left unanswered but Jaye manages to avoid the urge to delve into these issues, choosing instead to leave them for discussion off-screen.
If the conversation that exploded in my living room is any indication, Daddy I Do is a great catalyst for conversation, a film that provides more than ample information to engage individuals. Yet, with all of the data and interviews provided, what’s stuck with me most, more than the staggering numbers of teen pregnancy and Denny Pattyn talking away any of the good things his Silver Ring Thing program may have to offer, are the intimate accounts which Jay captures of women who have and continue to deal with what started with sex: abortion, children and ugly piece of coal at the centre of it all, the lack of education.
Click “play” to see the trailer: