Daddy Lessons: What Misogynistic Men are Teaching Their Daughters

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by KV Thompson

“Don’t let the birth of your black daughter be the first time you respect a black woman” - Always Be Woke on Tumblr

My dad put me on a pedestal. In his eyes, I could do no wrong. I could tell that he cared for me by how present he was in my life. He was at every basketball game, every awards ceremony, every play, anything else that centered around his only daughter.

He respected me as an equal. He believed in my potential so much that many conversations were spent on talking about how much I was going to achieve and how successful I could be. My dad showed me how to be treated by a man, but he was flawed.
How he treated his daughter didn’t always transfer to how he treated women.

My dad was, for a lack of better words, a player. He was charming. Very charming. Growing up I noticed how women gravitated towards him. Women. Plural.

When I was a teenager I witnessed my dad have several women rotating in and out of the house. Sometimes it seemed like he had a new friend for every day of the week.

I don’t want to disclose all of his business (God rest his soul), but I witnessed him exhibit characteristics that he warned me about, the ain’t shit men I should avoid. For me, he was the perfect man. For women he courted (or whatever he was doing), he was exactly the type of man he didn’t want me to end up with.

He taught me to be strong and never fall for the type of man he was to other women. He taught my brothers that women were disposable.

The cognitive dissonance I experienced growing up caused me to rationalize the constant misogynoir I witnessed. Misogynoir from the hands of my father and brothers and close friends and other family members. It seemed all the men I knew were indoctrinated in the same poisoning patriarchal system.

I rationalized, “Maybe those women deserved to be played, but I’m different. I’m my father’s daughter.”

When he died I ended up with the exact type of guy my dad wouldn’t want me to end up with. Worse even. I had to realize I am not above any woman. I am every woman. We all deserve to be treated better.

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We are bombarded with images of Black men holding guns with their daughter and her prom date. Black men are saying, “Respect my daughter, or I will end your life,” but are teaching their sons to be sexually irresponsible. Teaching their sons to be unemotional and detached with women and in their relationships, forgetting that we have to meet up one day.

Who will protect your daughter from someone’s son? A son that was brought up the same way you were. The same way you raised your son to be.

In Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons,” she explores how her dad taught her to be strong with men. In the chorus she repeats:

“With his gun, and his head held high
He told me not to cry

Oh, my daddy said shoot/
Oh, my daddy said shoot”

Her dad told her to “shoot.” Which is reminiscent of images of daughters and their gun totting dad’s in prom photos.

Later she says:

“When trouble comes to town
And men like me come around”

Her father is preparing her to protect herself from men just like him. Like my father did for me. Like many fathers do for their daughters.
But daughters who have a great relationship with their father want a man just like their him. Daddy’s girls are going through the world looking for men that can live up to the expectations they set,  an expectation that can never be realized because not even our fathers lived up to the hype.

Don’t let the birth of your Black daughter be the first time you respect a Black woman because her being your daughter won’t stop her from being affected by your sins.

Photo: Parkwood Entertainment

KV Thompson grew up in St. Louis, MO and graduated with a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Webster University. She currently teaches 4th grade in St. Louis.

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