I was raised by a single mother, she has a white-collar job, and always preached about the importance of being “self-sufficient“. The most important lesson that my mother taught me is that, as a woman, you need to be able to have job where you can support yourself and your children without the help of a man. My mother worked her ass of to give my sister and myself a privileged life. Getting good grades and going to a great college was my way of paying her back for the years of sacrifice. But what about my dad. . . well, he is a misogynist at heart.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my father, but he does not understand the consequences of his actions on a small girl. When I was younger I can remember playing outside on a Sunday afternoon when I heard a whistle from around the yard, as an obedient child I ran to my father who was whistling at me for my attention. When I got to him he said “Sweetheart go inside and make Daddy a sandwich”, so like any young girl I ran inside got the peanut butter, jelly and made him a sandwich. When I was finished I ran to him working in the yard and gave him his sandwich and before I could turn to leave he said “You didn’t bring me any water? Go back and bring me water.”, so like any obedient child I ran back to get him water; I was six years old.
This was a very common occurrence, if it was Sunday and it was around lunch time, I would go find him working outside and ask him what he wanted for lunch. I never saw this as strange until I was much older.
I have two younger brothers. On these Sunday’s I would watch, feed, and care for anything they needed. I was told by my father that staying inside and watching my brothers was something that “I would need to get use to, if I ever wanted to be a mother.” So, I did as I was told. I would change them, make sure they napped, fed them, got them ready to go to the park if we went (packed waters, snacks, toys and all). I was a “Sunday mother” to two small boys when I was only 13 years old. I was treated as if they were my children. I cared for them, because thats what was expected of me. I was a young girl, it was my job to be a parent. I do not regret a single second of care I gave my brothers. What I do regret is biting my tongue for so long, but when I did speak up it was well worth the wait.
Lets fast forward through my life a bit, to where I tell my father that I want to be a lawyer when I grow up, I am now a freshmen at JMU. He says to me that “You cannot be a lawyer if you ever want to have a husband and children”. I remember sitting in silence in the car for a little, tears forming in my eyes- a lump in my throat so big I couldn’t swallow- when I quietly asked “Why?”. He said that “A woman needs to pick a job that she is able to do. A job that will allow her to take care of her husband and her children. You do want children don’t you? You want a family? You’ll never be able to find a husband that way.” I said nothing. What could I have said? I was old enough to know that you cannot argue with someone who has no reason.
Fathers are suppose to support and encourage their daughters, thats their job. Making sure that their little girls are set up to reach the stars if they want, or at least thats what I’ve been told. Why is it that at such an impressionable age, fathers have the choice to stifle their daughters from reaching their full potential? The “Fathers Empowering Daughters” campaign created and sponsored by G(irls) 20 has created an open dialog which allows for you to share stories of where your father has empowered you, or where he has fallen short. “Engaging men and boys is important and that is what this campaign does“. This is important. The campaign sheds light on the importance of the fatherhood by targeting boys and men alike.
Although your father is someone who is suppose to teach you that the sky is the limit, sometimes he doesn’t. Him not doing his job as a parent should NEVER ruin or inhibit your potential, like it almost did to me. NO ONE should EVER be the reason why you cannot do something! Never give them the chance. . . I didn’t.