With all the focus lately on girl power and femvertising (especially the #LikeAGirl campaign), we wondered what the dads of daughters thought about all this. Do they support it or think it’s silly? We asked real dads to weigh in.
We need to raise kick-ass kids of both genders
Some fathers dig the movement because they want all their kids (of both genders) to be kick-ass kids, to increase diversity in some often male-oriented professions and they want boys to learn how to deal with both genders appropriately.
Father and author Dr. Robert Zeitlin of Haverford, Pennsylvania, says, “As a father of a teenage girl, I couldn’t be happier with the #LikeAGirl campaign and efforts to increase female inclusion in STEM professions. I think the future is bright for girls who are raised with the balance of optimism and an understanding of the obstacles that still exist for women and girls. And not just girls. Boys who are raised to understand what the obstacles and potential are for their female counterparts are going to be better prepared to collaborate, communicate and lead as well.”
He continues by saying, “My personal and professional opinion is that no one can really predict what the future will hold, so it is our responsibility as parents to raise our kids to find and exercise their character strengths and learn about themselves. That way, they will be prepared to make a real contribution. In my book [Laugh More, Yell Less: A Guide to Raising Kick-Ass Kids], I help parents find ways to raise the kick-ass kids that will make a difference in the future.”
But be careful how far you take it
But some dads do worry we risk sending our girls (and boys) the wrong message if we aren’t careful. Ryan “The Geek” Davidson of Gecko Clothing is all about the girl power movement, especially since his son is getting older and beginning to believe the gender stereotyping society upholds: that only boys like dinosaurs and girls just want to be a princess. He just has one problem with some of the more extreme stuff.
As he explained in an email interview: “At the moment, a lot of feminism is biased toward females (sounds pretty obvious right?) but in many cases this is tipping the seesaw too far the other way in the minds of many (i.e., that females are better than males). There needs to be a rethink of the feminist campaign and instead of this never-ending girls vs. boys battle that seems to be going on, instead we should think about real equality. Instead of feminism, how about universality. Instead of girl power how about people power?”
Brenden Dilley, father of three and author of Still Breathin’: The Wisdom and Teachings of a Perfectly Flawed Man, agrees. “I’m all for empowerment of any kind. I encourage all of my kids (not just my daughters) to pursue passions and interests regardless of gender. I do my best to promote being better people rather than specifying any particular gender.”
It’s better for society
Steve Pavlov, father of five now-adult women, thinks any movement that promotes equality is a good thing. He points out that, “Societies that subjugate certain members only suffer for it. How many brilliant women or minorities have been prevented from making tremendous contributions that would have advanced the cause of their nations? Too many.”
Father of his own powerful daughter, Ray Teurfs thinks it’s a much-needed sign of the times. It may just seem trendy, but he says it’s a symptom of something larger: “Women have been undervalued for so long in most all cultures. It is time!”
Zebulon Pike also supports the movement: “Not only is the world closer to giving my daughter the opportunities that my son will receive, but it has made me more aware of how far we still have to go before they are considered equally.”
It makes you a better father
Perhaps Steve S. summed it up best: “I think any effort that encourages my daughter to uncover and appreciate her power is excellent and still very necessary. While I always considered myself supportive of equality, the #LikeAGirl campaign has showed me that I, too, have blind spots. Thanks to them, I’ll be an even better father to my daughter.”