Photo © pixelfusion3d

NEPAL: Fathers Should Teach Their Daughters to Be Heroes

Sambridhi advocates for raising girls the way she was raised—to be strong and independent. 

He was raising soldiers, not princesses.

My father once said, "Be the kind of girl who doesn't need anyone's shoulder to rely on." He always wanted my sister and me to seek a life beyond the ordinary. He would ask us to be daring and bold, to lead the herd and not follow. And I could not be more his daughter.

From an early age, my father would ask my sister and me to do things we thought we couldn't— from riding a bicycle for the first time to accepting a difficult job interview. He told us to not give up easily. We never did.

At times when most fathers would come to the rescue of their daughters, our father would let us get through a tough situation on our own. If we had to return late from an evening event, he would sometimes strand us there, asking us to figure things out. At the time, my sister and I would get furious with him. It wasn’t until later that we realized he was raising soldiers, not princesses.   

I wonder, what does it mean to be a feminist father? Could my father be considered a feminist? It’s true that he is not the over-protective, stereotypical father. He doesn’t fit that image of a man ready to shoot anyone who hurts his daughter. He is a father who talks about love and relationships. He brings up his own past experiences to teach his daughters about life. Most importantly, he is a father who trusts his daughters. He knows we will get it right. He knows we don’t need an army to protect us; we can do it on our own.

My father is not a perfect feminist. He can get caught up in patriarchal values that mainly recognize women for their homemaking and domestic skills. He used to ask my sister and me to be more "feminine" and adhere to society’s idea of a "complete woman." It drove me mad. Why did he go along with the crowd instead of his own ideals? How could he teach us to rebel and then expect us to get society's approval? Sometimes, when he'd wish aloud he had had an elder son, it would hurt my ego. What could a son could do that I can’t do?

I don’t think a feminist father needs to speak about feminist issues, go to women’s marches, or even call himself a feminist. A feminist father is any father who tells his daughter from a very young age that she can do everything. A feminist father is someone who empowers his daughter at every step and teaches his daughter to speak up for herself. A feminist father loves his daughters and knows the importance of raising a daughter who takes no shit from people. A feminist father may not be there to rescue his daughter every time, but he has made sure his daughter knows how to be her own superhero. He does not put his sons ahead of his daughters. He simply believes in and practices equality.

Feminist fathers are super fathers—the greatest gift any daughter possibly could have in her life. Girls with feminist fathers dare to stick out of the crowd; they dare to dream; they dare to lead. These girls later become women who are confident, strong, and inspiring. I have seen enough examples in my own life to know that how a man treats his daughter during her childhood and youth impacts her whole life.

The world needs more feminist father icons. We need more fathers who don’t limit their daughters, who encourage their daughters to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Fathers around the world should remind their daughters that their gender shouldn’t hold them back. Fathers should teach their young daughters to dream to be different: not just princesses, but warriors, adventurers, travelers, intellectuals, and heroes. Daughters can be heroes who fight for what is right, heroes who save the world.

If you are a father of a daughter, tell her you believe in her and that she has super powers, that she can be anything. When you do, the world will see more magic. My own father can attest: If you treat your daughter like a hero, she will definitely make you proud.


STORY AWARDS

This story was published as part of the World Pulse Story Awards program. We believe everyone has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Topic Men and Boys
Story Awards: Feminist Fathers 20Send Me Love

Comments

Vraiment une grande courage a votre père parce que a cause de sa confiance et amour qui prouve de quoi vous étaient.

je peut dire a tout le père d'etre comme le votre

This is amazing.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

This was so uplifting, I'm amazed and so glad to know men like your father exist and you have shared your experiences so proudly. Women are heroes, warriors and anything they want to be!

Yes, why should women be stereotyped after all? I think they can be anything they want to be. I feel blessed to be able to share my story. :) Thank you for reading and I am glad it could make you feel good. <3

Thank you for sharing your story. May our male peers follow the examples of our fathers. We can't change the living conditions of girls and women without the support of the other half of humanity (men). 

Peace & Joy / Paix & Joie

Your WP Sister Jessica

Founder/Fondatrice, Women & Africa International

Official Website: http://www.womenandafrica.org/

 

Dear Jessica,

I hope they do. And I absolutely love the way you have put the fact that real change occurs when men embrace it too. Lets hope someday it will happen. :)

Yes my dear sister, 

We need more feminist fathers as many as we can get. It is fathers who can boost the self esteem of their daughters and show them with so much love so they don't have to look for love elsewhere.

Thank you for your lovely article. 

Stay blessed

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi Head of Legal and Advocacy Centre for Batwa Minorities a.kiddu@gmail.com cfmlegal@gmail.com Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

So true, I completely agree with you, only then we would have more confident and bold women in the world.

Thank you so much! Best wishes sister. <3 

Dear Sam, there's much to be done as far as giving female children equal opportunities as male children is concerned. It's a good thing you're doing and I say courage to you. Girls can do what boys can do.

Sinyuy

Dear Sinyuy,

The world isn't there yet, but hopefully we will get there someday. Every effort matters, lets do our best while we can, future will be better.

Love and wishes! <3

Hello Sambridhi,

nice reading your story and your headlined caught my eyes my father used to say me the same Be a heroes who can take care of yourself and today I am  trainer and self independent women is running my own company. keep up the good works dear.

Mandira Raut

President, Utsah Nepal,

Kathmandu, Nepal.

Email - mandiraworks@gmail.com

 

Hello Mandi ji, 

Thank you. I'm so glad you think that way, I think every woman should be proud of herself for being able to stand on her feet rather than feeling weak or vulnerable. All the best to you. I hope you find success in your endeavors in future. 

Spread your attitude. :)