Here in America at least, we are spending the weekend celebrating dads. It’s Fathers’ Day, folks. That means many things to many people. To some, it’s a warm fuzzy time of appreciating a man who has contributed so much to one’s life. To some men, it’s a painful reminder that they don’t have children and they never will. To some children and adults, it’s a tortured, awkward time of focusing on the man who broke their hearts, shredded their dreams and destroyed their childhood. To others, it’s a bittersweet memorial for a man who has passed.
With those who find joy in this time, I celebrate. With those who find anguish, I mourn. With those who find anger, I do my best to empathize (though I cannot fully).
There is a special brand of father I want to especially celebrate today. He bucks the standard that has existed for centuries. He bears the scorn and ridicule of those around him because he knows what he is doing is right. He probably doesn’t want me writing this about him because he realizes that overall, the life he has chosen isn’t about him. He does what he does quietly, without expectation of recognition.
I struggled to find a concise term for this father. I could have called him a Christian Feminist Daddy, but that would seem self-congratulatory. I eventually settled on the descriptive “Dad who isn’t a misogynistic jerk”.
Here’s to the father who treats his partner like a partner. A healthy parenting attitude starts with the relationship between parents. Fathers who aren’t misogynists treat mothers as equals. They submit to mothers mutually. A sexist father furthers patriarchy by assuming uneven and undue authority. Quality parenting starts with the example of the parents who both nurture when needed and lead when needed. My hat is off to fathers who’ve rejected tired old gender roles and the idea that God would place an adult helplessly under the “umbrella” of another. Here’s to the father who knows his place.
Here’s to the father who rejects hyper-masculinity. I respect the man who embraces every part of himself – mind, will, emotions, fears, desires, pride, body and soul. The world needs more men who care. The world needs more men with the emotional intelligence to say what’s on their heart and mind. The world needs fewer cavemen and more self-aware men. The world needs less testosterone-fueled aggression, less rude and base behavior and less feeling of sexual entitlement. The world needs more men who can keep their masculinity under control.
Here’s to the father who respects his daughters – their boundaries, their personhood. Here’s to the father whose daughters know their value, and equal standing before God. Here’s to the father who treats his daughters as human beings rather than possessions, who refuses to take from them the choices that are theirs to make. Here’s to the father who allows his daughters to shape their identity and shows them Christ without violation.
Here’s to the father who protects his daughters in a way that honors their self-agency. There is a push out there to protect daughters in the same way a man protects a car or his wallet – the stereotypical “dad with a shotgun“. I think my readership knows how I feel about that. Here’s to the father who instead gives a daughter what she needs, teaches her what she should know and trusts her to make wise choices. Here’s to the dad who works with mom to prepare daughters for adulthood instead of keeping them in perpetual adolescence.
Here’s to the father who teaches his sons respect for women/girls. This issue has reached our ears again recently with the Stanford rape. The level of revulsion I have experienced watching some dads address this issue is just staggering. Not only did the rapist’s father completely disregard the atrocity committed, but other fathers (such as a certain blogger who is never to be named on this site) had the audacity to focus on the victim’s behavior, completely dismissing rape culture. This is just as much an issue for fathers of sons as it is for fathers of daughters. This danger will not disappear until men are trained to respect women. Restricting women’s actions and behaviors is a band-aid. If you’ve taught your sons to reject rape culture, I respect you.
Here’s to the father who does all this and doesn’t expect recognition for it. Here’s to the father who doesn’t call attention to himself at the expense of women. Here’s to the father who listens instead of speaking. Here’s to the father who learns from others who aren’t like him.
My hat is off to you, Dad Who Isn’t a Misogynistic Jerk. Mad respect. I want to be you someday.
(Once again I recognize that my writing today is hetero-normative. I apologize to anyone offended by this. My goal is to address fathers on Fathers’ day, and because of current culture the subject is wildly hetero-normative. I recognize fathers that do not fit this cookie cutter, and I respect you too. I hope that the rest of the body of my writing makes this clear.)