These shirts for dads offer a different perspective on raising daughters and what it means to be a man
Unfortunately, even in 2016, sexist crap on clothing abounds. But when dad and writer Mike Reynolds saw shirts for dads with daughters with sayings like, “Shoot the first one and the word will spread,” or “It’s just locker room talk,” rather than merely roll his eyes in frustration, he decided to do something about it. Reynolds created his own line of feminist and stereotype busting shirts for men called Everyday Girl Dad. Say so long to your savings because you’re going to want to buy them for every male you know.
Reynolds tells Scary Mommy his own relationship with his daughters, 6-year-old Leah and 4-year-old Charlotte, is anything but stereotypical. They’re part of the inspiration behind his shirts. “I don’t find the dad vs dates stereotype at all representative of how our relationship is being built,” he says. “I know my daughters are strong as hell and that they’re already people to look up to. I hope the messages share the idea that men can look up to women too. ”
Reynolds notes his shirts don’t stand for the idea that dads who wear them don’t want to protect their daughters. “The messages here don’t mean I don’t worry about my daughters or care about what happens to them in the future,” he says. “They just mean I plan to build my relationships with them differently than someone who threatens others with guns or the size of their muscles.” There’s a difference between respecting your daughter’s body autonomy and treating her as your property. Reynolds’ shirts do a brilliant job of illustrating which side of that parenting line you fall towards.
Beyond sending a message of support to girls and women, Reynolds hopes his shirts help men and boys question any traditional gender roles they may feel completely comfortable in. “As much as I’m aware of the challenges faced by girls as they grow up, I’m also very familiar with the rigid box we place our boys in. Masculinity doesn’t have to be one thing, it can be whatever someone who identifies as a man wants it to be. That includes crying, wearing a dress, and painting your nails as much as it includes playing sports.”
Besides being unique fashion statements, Reynolds has hopes that one day his shirts can help him give back to organizations that support the underlying messages on clothing he makes. “I do hope that once I have cleared my operating costs, to donate the profit to organizations that promote a healthier masculinity or that support victims of sexual assault,” he says. “I’m no fundraising professional or clothing designer but hopefully I can help some groups out a little bit. I know many organizations like this can use support.”
Reynolds says one shirt is sure to always get a response from people when he wears it in public. “The Dad Who Cries When Bing Bong Dies” shirt has had a pretty positive reaction. Because that movie Inside Out is devastating.”
Reynolds hopes his shirts will help inspire other dads to embrace their masculinity and to parent their daughters in a variety of ways and not just as dad in the stereotypical role of protector. “Share the stories of you doing science projects, reading Harry Potter, jumping in leaves, talking all night long. Know that it’s doing these things, not rejecting them, that make you a man.”