You may have heard the jokes or seen the T-shirts featuring rules for boys when it comes to dating a man’s daughter. They often take an aggressive approach to dealing with “bad boyfriends,” whether with a shotgun, time in jail, or other macho threats. But they don’t often look like the rules of J. Warren Welch, a dad whose own rules were different enough to go viral on Facebook.
J. Warren Welch and his wife, Natasha, have five daughters and wanted to share “rules” that empower their girls, instead of issuing a set of threats.
“You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy, possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place,” he wrote.
Social media users around the world responded to the post, applauding the father’s feminist perspective.
“I don’t think Scarlett will need me to fight her battles for her for some reason,” wrote one user.
“I love this! More men need to think this way when it comes to their daughters,” added another.
Welch told Today Parents that his post wasn’t about protecting his daughters — he was addressing the patriarchal need to assert dominance over women.
“I understand the urge to protect your daughters … I get that. But the kind of posturing by fathers of daughters I was specifically responding to had nothing to do with that ‘protective instinct’ and everything to do with asserting their dominance over women and reinforcing a belief that women need men to take care of them,” he said.
Welch is raising two 16-year-olds, a 13-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 7-year-old in Jonesborough, Tenn. He says that while being a dad of five isn’t always easy, he’s learned a lot from his daughters.
“I know that my daughters don’t need my help making important decisions about their relationships … I was a feminist long before I had daughters, but it wasn’t until I was blessed with the task of raising young women that I realized why,” he said. “These girls are amazing humans, and I can take no credit for that other than the fact that I at least knew that the best thing I could do for them is not try to ‘mold’ them.”
“I can make bold statements about my daughters because I listen to them, and I know they are bold young women,” added Welch.
“I really do actively try to encourage that boldness, but I’ve never felt the need to cultivate it.”
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