Conduct a simple Google search for “rules for dating my daughter,” and you’ll likely run into a bunch of memes or posts featuring fathers mercilessly threatening their daughters’ future boyfriends. You know the ones. They usually include lines such as:
Hurt her and I hurt you.
Know that I don’t like you and I never will.
I’m not afraid of prison.
And so on. *barf*
As a daughter whose father never acted this way toward any boyfriends I happened to bring home, let alone suggested he might when I was a child, I have always found this sort of attitude dumb, not to mention creepy. Which is why, when I saw Instagram user Jeff Welch’s post about “Rules for Dating My Daughters,” I about flipped over my chair with glee.
I ain’t raisin’ princess. . . . . . . . . #jwarrenwelch #wordsmith #poet #poem #poetry #writer #wordporn #wordgasm #writersofinstagram #poetsofinstagram #poetryporn #creativewriting #poetrycommunity #prose #spilledink #instapoet #writerscommunity #writingcommunity #wordart #sapiosexual #poetryisnotdead #drunkpoetsociety #writersofig #poetsofig #wordswithkings #wordswithqueens
Captioned with “I ain’t raisin’ princess[es],” Welch’s post shatters the tired AF daddy/daughter trope we’ve all come to know.
Instead of insinuating that his daughters are weak-minded and weak-bodied commodities incapable of making their own decisions and standing up for themselves, Welch says, “You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place.”
*and the angels sang*
Here is a man who is raising strong girls who will embrace and invoke their own independence, their own intelligence, and their own expectations as women. And while I think it’s critical for fathers — and mothers, for that matter — to be advocates for and protectors of their children, regardless of gender, I also think it’s necessary that they raise their children to be of strong mind and will and to teach the importance of self-advocacy and bodily autonomy.
I’m so grateful my own father never treated me as incapable simply because I was female in the same way I’m glad he never assumed the young men I was interested in were inherently ill-intentioned.
I can only imagine Welch’s daughters will feel the same, if they don’t already. And as a mother of all boys, I thank him for not preemptively assuming the worst about the sons of the world or his own daughters’ abilities to handle their business.