More

3 reasons we need to stop mocking dads who are protective of their daughters.

Threats and violence are never OK, but I reserve my right to be skeptical and, well, even kind of a jerk.

3 reasons we need to stop mocking dads who are protective of their daughters.

There's this one little boy in my daughter's day care class. I like to joke that I don't trust him.

He's every dad's worst nightmare. Tall (you know, for an infant), dark, and handsome. He's the oldest boy in class, and he can walk already. That makes him hot shit, and he knows it.

One day an email popped up in my inbox — all the parents get photos of their kids throughout the day: a blurry crawling pic here, a funny naptime shot there — but this one showed my daughter and this little Lothario holding hands. Holding hands!


The jokes were almost too easy. "Time for me and him to have a little talk," and "He better keep those hands to himself!"

As a progressive dad, I'm on board with the whole "Newsflash, it's 2016! Women are making their own decisions about their own bodies. And polishing your shotgun on the front porch when her prom date pulls up is, um, problematic" thing.

That's why it's so easy to make those kinds of jokes. In fact, the "overprotective dad" has been subject to a lot of ridicule lately.

But there I was looking at that photo, and for the first time, I felt "it" — a little twinge of terror. That desire to shelter and protect my daughter and not let anyone with remotely suspect intentions near her ever, ever, ever.

Which left me wondering: Does being a progressive dad mean I'm not allowed to be protective of my daughter anymore?

That I have to somehow pretend she won't face unique dangers and challenges that boys her age probably never will? That I have to treat her exactly the same way I would if she were my son, instead?

I don't think it does.

First, let me just say: When it comes to rape culture, our main goal should be, you know, fixing it. Not sheltering women.

We need to teach men to understand and respect consent. We need to stop objectifying and reducing women to their sexuality. And as men, we need to set a better example for the next generation.

I'm going to do my damnedest to work toward those goals.

But I'm also reserving the right to play the role of protective dad. Here's why:

1. It's not always about ownership.

I get where this concern comes from, I really do. In a world of purity balls and "virginity certificates," the dad-daughter relationship has definitely crossed the line from protective to creepy way too many times in our culture.

But personally, I can't relate to that notion at all right now. I'm still wiping poop off of my daughter's butt multiple times a day. Ownership over her sexuality isn't exactly at the top of my mind.

Wanting to protect doesn't have to be about control. It doesn't have to be about sex. For me, it's just about trying to make sure my daughter is safe, healthy, and happy.

And it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons for us to be as protective as we are.

2. Because the world is more dangerous for women than it is for men. That's a fact.

This is just the sad, awful truth.

About 1 in 5 women, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, and 1 in 20 will face other kinds of sexual violence.

According to RAINN, almost half of those women will be under 18 when it happens.

And finally, 4 out of 5 assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.

When I see stats like these, I realize there's a pretty good chance that someone in my daughter's life will try to hurt her one day, probably while she's still living in our home. I'll probably have met this person. I'll probably have shook their hand.

That thought absolutely terrifies me.

Artist Mike Dawson has a simple approach when it comes to this stuff: "I don't make the rules. You don't make the rules. She makes the rules. Her body, her rules."

I love the sound of that. But a lot of men and boys out there aren't playing by the rules. And they're getting away with it.

That makes me mad. It makes me afraid. I feel like I have to do something about it.

The biggest part of that is raising her to be strong, to make good decisions, to be a good judge of character, and most importantly, to know that it's not her fault if someone crosses the line.

But it might also mean giving a firm handshake and a sideways glance to her dates. It might mean carrying a gruff standoffishness or a thick veil of skepticism.

OK, so I'm not going to be "polishing my shotgun" when her prom date shows up. But being kind of a jerk until that person earns my trust? Totally possible.

3. It's coming from a place of love.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is that us dads — all parents, really — are just out here doing our best.

Raising kids is hard. Good lord, is it ever hard. My wife and I are not sleeping well. We're usually covered in spit up, poop, pee, or all three. And we haven't even entered the wonderful world of bullies, behavior issues, puberty, and whatever else lies ahead.

Right now, it's really hard to think about the long term. Right now, we just want to do what we can to keep her safe.

Sometimes we'll probably do too much. Other times we might not do enough. But we've got to try.

I know there's a right and wrong way to be protective.

Not trusting or allowing our daughter to make her own decisions would be wrong. But not letting her walk home by herself at night, while it might feel unfair, might just be the kind of exception that makes a difference.

Threatening another person, even a smarmy teenage boy, with bodily harm, is never OK. But showing them that I'm involved in my daughter's life, actively concerned about her well-being, and making it clear that I'm not going to put up with her being mistreated? Absolutely.

I'm not saying I know exactly where that line is, but I'm going to try to figure it out.

In the meantime, I guess I can handle occasionally being hated by my daughter when she thinks I'm being an overbearing pain in the ass. But if anything ever happened to her because I trusted the world around her too much?

I'd never forgive myself.

Oh, and as for that boy in day care?

We're going to have to have a few words. You know, as soon as he learns to talk.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less