Dads and Daughters – The Overprotective Father Trope

I’ve not posted in a while, partly because I’m a) tired a lot and b) I’m still concerned that a post on toxic masculinity in the InstaDad and Dad Blogger community isn’t going to go down very well. But this is related so I’ll just go ahead.

Everyone knows the trope of the over-protective father of a daughter. The “I’m just protecting her from boys like I was” and “she may never date”, or “I will generally hint I will intimidate, shoot or otherwise harm the future boys in my daughter’s life”. It’s pretty common, people say it a lot and, just for the sake of form, I’ve occasionally gone along with it. Nothing makes people feel quite so comfortable as fulfilling their behavioural expectations, no matter how ill-considered, wrong-brained or toxic.

Because it is stupid. First of all, parents of boys, the first bit is on you. Don’t spread your toxic, outdated gender tropes to your boys and this meme dies on the vine instantly. Boys will not be boys, they behave as they are taught is acceptable. Behaviour is a social construct. Do something about it.

But since I can’t count on a paradigm shift in social norms sometime in the next decade or two, here’s what I’m going to do for my part:

  • Keep writing posts like this
  • Including that one about toxic masculinity in social media
  • Teach my daughter about consent
  • Do my utmost to make her a confident, self-assured young woman.

Because there’s no point complaining about the state of the world. We must create the change we want to see.