Of Shotguns and Fathers

Majority of fathers from all cultures and races have one thing in common, that is their very protective disposition regarding the daughters when they’re growing up.

Having a shotgun loaded- I guess that’s how they put it.

Of course this notion sprouts from love and care, but does it really work? Or is this really protecting their daughters in long run?

It might be only my personal opinion, but I think it hardly works!

I don’t understand how threatening boys around a teenager makes her safer or less prone to the verbal, emotional, social or God forbade physical abuse. Because no matter how caring or present you are in your daughter’s life, you cannot be with her everywhere like a personal body guard. Or those who believe whispering “I’m going to do the same to you what you’re going to do to my daughter” crisply would send a right message, I’m not sure how far that’s gonna work either.

Here goes my basis of disagreement (or confusion). You just cannot scare off all the potential abusers away, they just don’t come as your daughter’s potential dates or something like that, they come in every shapes, sizes and forms. From the gorgeous boy in the class whom your daughter might have a soft spot for and ready to help him whenever he wants, to the creepy guy few blocks away. Hell, even there is no short of female abusers who may be tormenting your precious little girl you care for so much. There is no convincing reason to believe that daddy with a shotgun is going to resolve all these (or any of these).

First of all, you may not know how she’s being abused, so you’re probably ending up as a storm trooper of “daddy threat”, i.e. your warnings aren’t hitting the right target. So you’re yielding a shotgun and keeping all boys away from her for dating, good job! But what about that boy your daughter never talks about who’s always throwing mean remarks at her (and her “girlfriends” probably saying that it’s a boyish way to show affection), and she never mentions him. So you’re having a good night’s sleep knowing your daughter is safe thanks to your  boyfriend repellent firearm (or the concept of it), but your daughter is suffering insomnia from all those verbal abuse.

How about the female bullies in school? You don’t even have a shotgun threat for them. Yes, they might bully other girls out of own insecurity and issues like that. But your precious little daughter is getting hurt from their problems. How can that be right? Clearly your shotgun is useless there.

And how about the cyber-abuse? Or do you have a cyber shot gun to protect your daughter? These days it’s really easy and convenient to take someone’s face and paste it on something disgusting and leaving it to the rest of the world for making fun of. Does your shotgun make your daughter feel safe from those such abuses?

I know still you will come up with other pro-shotgun reasons. Because you’re the dad, I’m not, there are other things that can be seen from your PoV but not mine.

But would you please for a change hear it from a daughter’s perspective?

Here’s a thing, how about handing your daughter her own shotgun (figuratively)?

Raise your daughter in such way that you wouldn’t need a shotgun. Because boys will know better than even thinking of abusing her. I know such portrayal often gives you pictures of less than feminine females who are jeered by peers (honestly, nothing is wrong with being less than feminine by popular standards), but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. Being strong has no clash with masculinity or femininity. Like the hammer of justice, standing up for thyself is unisex!

When your daughter comes out strong and self assured, it’s hard to damage her emotionally and verbally. And the last thing to deal with is physical mistreatment. For that I’d want to propose another idea.

Stop treating your daughters as princesses. It’s not just impractical, it also in a subtle way erodes her self esteem. Raise them as warriors. Toughen them up, make them more physical and athletic, so they will be confident about their strength and physic. Involve them with your businesses, so they will start seeing you as a confidante not her personal protector. Believe me, this works way better, this way you’ll get more intel about the ones who try to abuse her and will be able to provide your insight that this has nothing to do with channeling affection in a boy way (as her girlfriends may put it). This way, by the time they will reach the age you don’t have to worry about them getting hurt. They will make sure nobody hurts them, and if however somebody does, your daughters will teach them the well deserved lesson.

If you’re still unsure about the idea and how would it might segregate your daughter from the mainstream of teenage life (again, not a bad thing at all), I want to assure you it has no conflict with being ladylike and accepted. Nowadays we have gorgeous public figures who are toughened up both inside and outside and don’t let the rest of the world break their spirit like Ronda Rousey, Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano, Gal Gadot and obviously Ronda Rousey’s mom AnnMaria De Mars, an accomplished athlete with a great teaching career later.

I think we can finally discard the belief of being the hero to your daughter, so she’d seek for similar traits in the man she wants to be with later. And it’s time to replace that with making her the hero of her life, so she’d want someone who reflects her qualities. Personally speaking, I believe nobody can be a better person to bring the best (and heroic) persona out of a girl than her father. How about being that guy? How about ceasing to be the Hegbert Sullivan (I don’t mean to offend or jeer, he is written as a very caring and affectionate father figure, specially considering his daughter’s condition) and considering to be more like Mr. Miyagi (well technically he wasn’t Julie’s father, yet, a great father figure indeed) for a change? Because when a father and a daughter works as a team rather than a protector and principal, they are unbeatable.

P.S: I haven’t mentioned mothers, sons, brothers or sisters, though they definitely have huge impact in life as well and also this piece of writing may not fit the girls without fathers. But this writing solely focuses on the father-daughter relationship. So if you’re disappointed please accept my apology.

 

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