I am an Internet addict. This is not simply because of my obsession with mind-alteringly cute photos of otters, or purely because of my desire to romp around on the Twitter playground. I rely on the magic of the web for research, for communicating with my international family, and for news.
As a result, I see a lot of phenomena emerge: some ingenious and some, not so much. My favorite meme currently is one which seems to have been building over some months: the new Daddy-Daughter bond.
Growing up, I was what one might call a ‘Daddy’s Girl’. It’s not that I didn’t adore my mother, but if you had asked me who hung the moon, and turned on all the stars, I would have pointed straight at my father. Of course, he wasn’t the type to call me ‘Princess’, I was always ‘Rabbit’ or more embarrassingly, ‘Peanut’. I wasn’t dressed in frills and bows—as much as my mother tried, I unfailingly tore every single ribbon out of my hair—instead I was put into tiny Chicago Bears t-shirts.
Sure, I loved My Little Pony and I absolutely forced my dad to watch Rainbow Brite and the Monstromurk six billion times, but I wasn’t limited to these things. My dad also took me running with him, coached me in softball, enrolled me in golf lessons and had play-boxing matches with me in the kitchen. When I go home now, one of the things we do consistently is visit the batting cages. Like my mother, my father never saw any reason that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do; as far as he was concerned, my being his little girl was not mutually exclusive to my being a little rough ‘n tumble.
Thrillingly, daddies like this seem to be taking the Internet by storm! Men who see no need to treat their daughters like Faberge eggs are taking their places in our social media hearts in inspiring and inventive ways. Rather than discussing their daughters as one-dimensional, sugarcoated princesses, these brave new Internet dads are concerned with the complexity and humanity of their girls.
Last year, an awesome dad tweeted a response to a rape apologist which made the whole of the virtual feminist world cheer in unison. During his Presidential campaign, Barack Obama (Hail to the Chief!) shouted to an arena of whooping supporters that he was fighting for his daughters to have the same opportunities as America’s sons. It’s hard to top Big Daddy Barack for amazingness and pro-girl parenting, but recently Mike Hoye did the coolest thing evar by reversing all of the pronouns in The Legend of Zelda video game his daughter plays so that she wouldn’t grow up ‘thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers’. *Hands over Dad-of-the-Year Award*
And speaking of ‘Father of the Year’, Dave Engledow has been improving the world with his hilarious and irreverent Daddy-Daughter photos. Regardless of stereotypical gender norms, Engledow photographs—and PhotoShops—his precocious little girl in ways which absolutely demolish all pretenses of delicate parenting. By mocking the status of the ‘Good Father’, Engledow successfully highlights Alice Bee’s fearless personality. Although the photos rely on Engledow’s own comedic talents, what you really notice in the end is the knock-out little kid.
Years ago, at my little cousin’s wedding—hooray for being the only unmarried child in the family—I asked my dad what he wanted for me, or rather who he wanted for me. Thanks to a defunct personal blog, I can still recall (i.e., copy and paste) what he said:
‘Well its you, and you know that I'm not going to be 100% happy because no one will ever treat you as perfectly as I think they should, but I want someone who is going to love you beyond measure. Someone who will take care of you, who will be there for you, and who will support you in all things. It also needs to be someone who knows how intelligent and capable you are and who's willing to let you succeed. It takes a real man to do that, to recognize how intensely intelligent women are and how much respect they deserve’.
I know my daddy is all aces but what I’m excited about is the increasing visibility of lots of daddies like this. All across the Internet dads are acting like real men, insisting that their daughters deserve respect and that they deserve to be whatever they want to be. In terms of memes, this is one I want to see lots more of… second only to, you know, Ryan Gosling tumblrs.
Photo By Catalin Bogdan (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons