One dad just offered a pretty great lesson in how to parent as a feminist. Writer J. Warren Welch, who is raising five daughters in a blended family with his wife, Natasha, shared a set of rules for dating his daughters — with a feminist twist. And we have to say, these are “rules” we can get behind.
In a viral post shared on Facebook and Instagram, Welch outlined how future suitors will be expected to treat his daughters.
“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. Good luck pumpkin.”
In his caption, he added, “I ain’t raisin’ no princesses.”
On Facebook, the post has been shared nearly 20,000 times, and it’s been liked more than 1,300 times on Instagram — proof that it’s resonating with people everywhere.
In an interview with Today, Welch explained why he drafted the “rules.”
“I understand the urge to protect your daughters. I get that. But the kind of posturing by fathers of daughters I was specifically responding to had nothing to do with that ‘protective instinct’ and everything to do with asserting their dominance over women and reinforcing a belief that women need men to take care of them.”
Sounds like someone’s been reading Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminist parenting manifesto!
But seriously, Welch is right: Research has found that men become less sexistafter becoming fathers to daughters, but that doesn’t mean patriarchal notions about who “owns” the daughter change — it just means they’re more likely to hire women at their businesses, or see them as professional equals.
“Daddy’s little girl,” though, still needs protection. That’s evidenced by statements like, “As the father of a daughter, I was horrified by [insert tragedy here]” (you’ve all heard that one before). It shows that these fathers don’t see women and girls as individuals who deserve safety and bodily autonomy simply because they’re human beings who exist, but because they’re theirgirls who must be kept safe from predators, real or imagined.
That’s why we love Welch’s rules: They acknowledge that women and girls make the rules for their own lives and bodies, and make clear that Papa Welch is aware of the prevailing idea that fatherhood = protecting your “property,” aka your daughters — and he’s not having it.
“I was a feminist long before I had daughters,” Welch told Today. “But it wasn’t until I was blessed with the task of raising young women that I realized why: These girls are amazing humans, and I can take no credit for that other than the fact that I at least knew that the best thing I could do for them is not try to ‘mold’ them.”[“Source-hellogiggles”]