A few days ago I saw an “Application to Date my Daughter” picture on my newsfeed. Several of my Facebook friends from Texas shared the post with captions such as “If we have a daughter, lol,” “Cute!” and other comments about the content of the post. The application itself asked the possible and presumed male suitor to answer questions about his family, past relationships, church he attends, and other questions focused on instilling fear within the poor guy. Besides the horrible, sexist questions, the application also included the request to complete a $50 deposit. The post is just one of the many times I’ve seen people I know personally insinuate that their daughters are their property until they find someone they deem “good enough” to marry their daughter. Why are women still being treated like possessions in 2016?
Despite what these posts say and the political atmosphere of my conservative Texas hometown, I am not my father’s property. He does not own me. Yes, he pays for my school, food, and my other needs but does that mean he owns me in anyway whatsoever. He is providing for me, not staking his claim over with whom I can spend my time or what I can do until he finds someone “worthy of me.” I’m glad my dad respects my autonomy and does not require whomever I date to fill out an application because they would probably not pass the one provided on Facebook.
I am lucky, my dad has never tried to scare the boys I’ve brought home, there isn’t even a shotgun in the house. Whenever a boy has come over to meet my dad, he has always shook their hand and introduced himself. Even when I brought home boys he didn’t like, and he was waiting for the relationship to end, the boy still received the same respect. I have no memories of my dad saying anything scary to any boy that has come to pick me up except the time he expects me to be home. Although he does expect whomever wants to propose to me to ask for his permission before asking me, he understands that I am my own person and not his possession to hand off to someone else.
Unfortunately, some girls I know aren’t as lucky. Their dads blatantly tell their daughters they can’t date someone because of their gender, race, or class. Their dads shine their shotguns in the living room as the boy walks into their home. Their dads wear shirts with similar messages to the application. Their dads make them take purity vows or attend Purity Balls when they’re children and do not understand the promise they’re making. Their dads beat up the boys they date if they don’t get home on time or the boy has “stolen their daughter’s virginity”. Their dads don’t respect their daughter’s personal autonomy or see the person interested in their daughter as a human being or someone else’s child. I can guarantee they wouldn’t appreciate another father doing the same thing to their sons.
The applications, t-shirts, gun shining, and other scare tactics need to stop. The general feeling that every guy who knocks on the door is a predator needs to stop. Women deserve much more in a father. Your daughter is worth so much more than the time spent “scaring boys away.”