Can A Dad Overdo The Lessons In Girl-Power?

Illustration for article titled Can A Dad Overdo The Lessons In Girl-Power?

In our Daddy Issues series, a father of a young daughter seeks guidance, hoping to raise a strong woman. He looks to you, dear readers, for insight.

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So we're on the way to school, bopping along to a favorite Hairspray song, when my daughter asks me to turn down the volume.

"Why are girls always in the back?" she asks.

It takes me a moment to figure out just what she's going on about, when I see a motorcycle race past us and veer around a corner. Indeed, it appears a man is driving, while a woman sits behind him and clutches her arms around his belly.

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I start to formulate a response, something about how girls drive motorcycles too and how no one puts Baby in the back saddle. Then it hits me: Give it a rest, dude. It's a freaking motorcycle. You don't even want her to ride one.

I'm immediately reminded of my mom's golden rules for her three boys: We could never be cops, play professional football, or own a motorcycle. While it turned out that none of those things actually took away one of her boys, as a parent now it seems like a good idea. Why take the risk?

But I'm left wondering. Where does this knee-jerk reaction to make anything available and possible for my daughter come from? Even for things I don't really want her to do? It's like I have this ever-present Pamela Purse-like desire to yell "ladies first!"

In the grand scheme of things, I think most dads want to raise confident, happy daughters who feel like anything is possible, every avenue available for exploration. But can you go to far? Can too much daddy-inspired Grrl Power talk make her one day say, "Grrrr,stop!"

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Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!

Image by Lauri Apple.

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DISCUSSION

peasandrice
peasandrice

I think you can still tell your daughter that girls ride motorcycles on their own and then go on to tell some horrible story of someone you know who died in a motorcycle accident. (My parents were never shy about gory details, even if they had to make them up entirely.)