There’s something troubling about the incessant “Rules for Dating My Daughter” memes. The fact that some of them are meant to be jokes doesn’t make them any more palatable to me—and even those intended to be jokes don’t strike me as funny. Likewise, the closely related, earnest and well-intentioned posts, usually by fathers, fretting about when their infant daughters start to date seem problematic. Both cases seem grounded in fear and based on a fundamental double standard. And threats and coercion don’t seem, at least not to me, to be the most productive and mature ways to parent.
Let’s imagine for a moment a different set of rules, a set that a child gives to a father before introducing a Boy- or Girlfriend to him:
I find it hard to see the references to shotguns and violence perpetrated on minors as funny. Just as I find it hard to see denying a daughter (or son) important, formative life experiences. ↩