My father once said, "Be the kind of girl who doesn't need anyone's shoulder to rely on." He always wanted me and my sister to be different and seek a life that isn't just ordinary. He would ask us to be daring, bold and lead the herd, not follow. And I could not be more his daughter, as a person refusing to live the life to its basic nitty-gritty.
My father isn't one of those over protective fathers; stereotypical ones, you know with that image of a big man in his late fourties with an angry face carrying a pistol, ready to shoot anyone who hurts his daughter. No. Rather, he is one of those fathers who talks about love and relationships, one of those fathers who would bring up his own past experiences to teach his daughters about reality and illusions of life, and most of all one of those fathers who trusts his daughters with enough confidence. He knows that his daughters will get it right and doesn't need an army to protect herself, she can do it on her own.
From an early age, he would ask us to do things we thought we couldn't. From riding bicycles for the first time to taking a job interview we thought we couldn't make through. He told us to not give up easy. And we never did. Sometimes he would strand us in the middle of nowhere, asking to figure things on our own. We would get furious at him for being a bad father, but it was until later we realized, me and my sister, that he was raising a soldier, no princess.
I wouldn't call my father a feminist father though. There's a reason why. He always wanted his daughters to be fearless and extra ordinary doubtlessly, but somewhere down the line, he would get caught up in the patriarchal society values where women are mostly recognised of her great homemaking skills and domestication is all that matters at the end of the day. He would ask us to be more "feminine" and adhere to values and ethics that makes up any "complete woman". It would drive me mad, as to why he could not keep up to his ideals and go along with the crowd instead. How could he teach us to rebel then expect us to get society's approval? And sometimes when he'd wish he had had an elder son, it would hurt my ego. What cant I do that a son could do?
So what really is a feminist father? Is he someone who loves his daughter endlessly and could do anything for her happiness?
A feminist father is not someone who speaks about feminist issues, goes to women March and moreover calls himself a feminist. A feminist father is one who tells his daughter from a very young age that she can do everything and her gender is possibly not a hindrance on her way towards success. A feminist father is someone who empowers his daughter in every step someone who teaches his daughter to speak up for herself. A feminist father loves his daughters just as much as a non-feminist father does, but he knows the prominence of raising a daughter who takes no shit from people. A feminist father may not be there for his daughter all the time in her rescue but he has made sure his daughter can be her own superhero when needed! A feminist father does not put his sons ahead of his daughters for a feminist father has no gender biasness. Simply, he believes in equality and practises that.
Feminist fathers are super fathers. The greatest gift any daughter possibly could have in her life. Not all girls sadly, are fortunate enough to being raised by that super father in her life. The young girls parented by feminist fathers are one of a kind. They dare to stick out of the crowd, they dare to dream, they dare to lead. These girls later become the women who are confident, strong and inspiring. I have seen plenty of examples in my own life and therefore believe in the power of how a man treats his daughter in her childhood and youth years has an impact throughout her life and how she navigates it.
The world needs more feminist father icons! All the fathers around the globe should dream of becoming one. Fathers should not limit their daughters. They should encourage them to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. Fathers around the world should remind their daughters that their gender in no way could be a restriction to anything.Fathers should teach their young daughters to dream to be different, not just princesses, something out of the box like warriors, adventurers, travellers, intellectuals and heroes of some kind. Yes heroes, heroes who fight for what is right, heroes who save the world. Tell her you believe in her and that she has super powers, she could be anything. And then the world will see more magic. At the end of the day, its your daughter and she will definitely make you proud!