Fellow Dads: It's Our Responsibility To Fix This, And Here's How

by Pete Cataldo
Westend61 / Getty

Men around the country are feeling the full force of courageous women right now. The #MeToo movement has been inspiring to watch unfold as dudes everywhere are called out for their disgusting behavior.

And I’m here for every single part of this. You should be, too. But to be honest, fellow fathers, it’s not enough to be pro-women right now.

We need to do so much more to stop this culture from continuing.

Look, we may not be able to change the behaviors of the current flock of men committing countless heinous acts and contributing to this seemingly never ending culture. The least we can do is instill the right guidance and principles for the next generation.

My daughter is only two years old. I’m already terrified of the objectification and utter bullshit that she may face as she gets older and goes through college and the real world of work and societal pressures.

I’m sure many fathers feel this anxiety, too.

So, in order to “protect” our children, dads traditionally veer to the path of over-correction by being rigid assholes that enact some faux ownership over our little princesses. Enough.

Let’s put an end to the subculture of intimidation.

If a boy wants to woo our perfect angels, be happy that our kids may be finding love instead of threatening violence with our gun collections and ass whoopin’s.

No more joking about grounding our daughters in perpitude to prevent men from seeing them.

Stop with the infantilizing of daughters as if they are incapable of making decisions without a man’s opinion.

Want to date my daughter? Cool. Want to marry daughter? Fantastic. I want nothing but the best for her.

But this idea that, as her father, someone should first seek my permission to ask her hand in marriage contributes to this ongoing cycle of sexism.

I don’t own my daughter. And if a man or woman marries my daughter, they won’t own her either.

Yep, she’s going to make some potentially excruciating choices in her love life.

But the whole point of succeeding in life is learning the ropes, dusting ourselves off and getting back up again stronger and smarter than we were before. This ideal doesn’t just apply to sports or business, it envelopes all aspects of life — including love.

If we continue to infantilize our daughters to where they can no longer experience these things, what have we done other than to handcuff them?

Dads with daughters, it starts with you. Join me in this commitment to end this cycle of perceived ownership. We don’t need her fiance to ask us for permission to marry her.

Dads with sons, it starts with you, too.

Let’s make a commitment to stop this male power play bullshit. End this narrative that it’s a conquest to sleep with women and they’re scoring a date or a phone number. This isn’t a football game and women are not to be objects of domination.

Talk to your sons. Talk to your daughters. I promise, it won’t hurt.

Talk to them about dating, about sex, about love. Parents are teachers and teaching our kids is more than just ABC’s and potty training and help with math homework.

Teaching is about life and respect.

If you’ve been a douchebag in the past, then own up to that shit, read more of the stories from the countless numbers of brave women (and men) coming forward. Learn. Then get right back into the game and teach your children to be better.

This doesn’t start with puberty. It starts right out of the womb. It doesn’t end with the high school diploma; it’s a lifelong lesson.

The truth is that not all men are sexual creeps. But all men need to be involved to rectify this culture.

It’s not enough to be a cheerleader. We need to take action. We need to commit to raising our sons to have a healthy respect of women. We need to commit to raising our daughters without this air of masculinity reigning over them.

It’s not nearly enough to be pro-women right now. We need to be anti-sexist, anti-misogynist, anti-rape culture. That means parenting. That means being the father that you committed to be when you jumped into this journey.

The mentality starts at home. It’s up to us to do our part to put an end to it. We need to be better.