Dads, Daughters, and Dating

I saw this hat while grocery shopping last week:

Am I the only one who finds this profoundly disturbing?

When Sean’s youngest sister was a preteen, his dad used to joke with her about how she would be allowed to date the day she turned 30. She didn’t find it funny, and neither did I. Sean has a younger brother too, but I never heard his dad so much as say boo about him dating.

My parents were pulled into the courtship movement in the late 1990s. As a result, my siblings and I were not allowed to date. We were expected to court. A young man was to choose a young woman to court and then approach her father for permission. Without his permission, it was a no-go. With his permission and the young woman’s agreement, a courtship process, highly controlled and monitored by the young woman’s father, would begin. The father could break it off and end the courtship at any time. Ultimately, the young man would ask the young woman’s father’s permission to marry her. With his permission and the assent of the young woman, a wedding would be planned.

Honestly, this courtship process sounds like the “Dad’s against Daughters Dating” crew’s wet-dream. And maybe that’s why seeing that hat bothered me like it did—because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to have a father who thinks it’s his right to have complete control over his daughter’s romantic relationships, even after she reaches adulthood. And I know how that belief and the lack of trust it expresses can shred father-daughter relationships.

Unfortunately, googling “Dads against Daughters Dating”  in preparation for this post took me down a very disturbing rabbit trail.

Seriously? In what world is this even remotely okay? This speaks not only to the need to control female sexuality but also to the prevalence of gun violence in our society.

You may have seen a TV show where the first thing a man says when he finds out he’s having a daughter is “I better get a gun.” I know I have. I’ve heard that “joke” made in person too, this “joke” that any father with a daughter of dating age needs to have a good shotgun. You probably have too.

Several months ago a picture of this shirt went around facebook:

Much to my relief, someone finally made a counter-meme:

I’m sick and tired of living in a culture that not only displays a profound distrust of young women and a strong need to control young women’s sexuality but is also incredibly flippant about the use of gun violence against other males. Is it that hard to empower young women to make their own choices and give them the tools they need to back those choices up?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X