My first-grade daughter is in her first year of American Heritage Girls, a faith-based character building organization that aims to mold girls ages 5-18 into young leaders. Activities are structured to build self-esteem through service to God, family, community, and country. Having strong families as a foundation for strong character is something I want my daughter to know from an early age. Being a firm believer that children need both parents, I get involved with as many things as I can with my kids.
One of the activities I’m most eager for is the Daddy Daughter Date Night coming up this weekend. The troop is planning a night of bowling and fun for all of our daughters. Having just purchased a tuxedo for another event, I thought it would be fun to go the extra mile, get all gussied up and show my daughter how she ought to be treated on a date. My wife found a very fancy dress for her (on a very steep discount—BONUS!), and we’re going to paint the town red for a couple of hours.
Seems harmless, right? I mean, not only harmless, but a strong model of how my daughter should expect to be treated.
Apparently, I’m now a member of the oppressing patriarchy that pigeonholes stereotypical gender identities that society forces upon us, or something. (Man, society is a really tough force to overcome these days!)
One columnist in the UK said daddy-daughter dates are “everything that is wrong in the world”:
It makes father daughter time into a rarity, it reduces a man to nothing more than a babysitter, it sends the message that by hanging out with his child a man is doing something noteworthy or even strange.
So by all means, spend some quality time with your children. But don’t use the language of an adult sexual relationship to describe it, and let’s stop handing out gold stars to any man who wants to spend some time with his kid.
These aren’t sweet. They aren’t cute. They’re creepy, and they seek to enforce patriarchal notions of femininity.
These little girls, who are taken out on dates by their fathers, are taught that men should do everything for them. Men open the door. Men pull out the chair. Men buy everything. Men even pick out their dresses and purses, in Fladager’s daughter’s case. It’s incumbent on the man to “ask questions” and draw her out. And it’s his job to validate her inner and outer beauty.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that daddy-daughter dates are, apparently, the cause of a patriarchal power structure and the cause of incest. No, I’m not exaggerating, nor am I making that up.
Evidently, basic respect, courtesy, and manners are all insidious ways of keeping women down in our society. I had no idea I had so much power to oppress!
Of course, not everyone believes that these nefarious activities portend the downfall of American society. In fact, many rational adults actually see benefits. Sissy Goff, who has spent a lot of time counseling youth via her ministry, had this to say about daddy-daughter dates:
1. A Heavenly Reminder
When you spend quality time with your daughter, you have an opportunity to focus on her and call out the good you see in her. Remind her regularly of the beauty God has placed inside of her—and outside too—so she sees herself as more than just her looks. We want the majority of emphasis to be on the things that last forever…the beauty of her spirit, as in Proverbs 31.
2. A Boost in Confidence
In every parenting seminar I teach, I remind parents how girls who are delighted in feel more delightful. Enjoy her. Play with her. Learn what she loves and why she loves it. As you enjoy her, she will feel that she is an enjoyable person. This will build your daughter’s confidence and her self-worth.
3. A Loving Word at Every Age
When she was little, she was easy to know and to spend time with. As she becomes a teenager, she gets a little more awkward with you. I honestly believe that somewhere in adolescence it finally occurs to her that you’re a boy. She feels awkward with boys so she starts to get awkward with you. You go to hug her and she gets stiff and steps away.
Whether or not you’re the religious type, it is far from detrimental to remind your daughter on a constant basis that she is special and deserves to be treated with respect. Heck, that goes for sons, too — in fact, everyone in our society could stand to receive more grace and respect from their fellow humans.
Of course, leftist feminism is about blaming society for all sorts of ills, blaming religion for enforcing them, and refusing to believe that building a spirit of strong individuality is superior to government enforcing some sort of social justice.
I prefer to give my daughter every tool she can use to find her strength, her grace, her humbleness, her wisdom, her self. And I want her to be happy and have fun.
So, pardon me, I have a date.