On his Facebook earlier this month, Matt Austin, who is evening anchor for News 6 in Orlando, shared a photo of him with his two daughters as they posed in their dresses for their homecoming dance.
Days later, Austin went to his TikTok account to address the Facebook photo, which he thought was a “pretty innocuous post of his daughters looking beautiful” for a school event. He said he was “shocked” by some of the comments on the image and recited some of the comments he received.
“I wouldn’t let them go anywhere dressed like that,” read the father, showing screenshots of the comments as he read them aloud. “They should have respect for themselves. So sad that parents think it’s OK to send ladies out with everything showing.”
The news anchor then explained how much it angers him, as a “father of girls,” when people say that women are “dressing a way in which they’re asking for it”.
“Let’s get something crystal clear now, it’s not my daughter’s job to make sure your son is focused in school,” Austin continued. “Also not her job to dress hideous enough to where your son doesn’t assault her. It’s your job to not raise a pervert with no self-control.”
Austin also said that his daughters’ dresses are not what he’d pick out for them to wear when “leaving the house” before joking that he’d have them wear “snuggies” all the time if he could.
He then explained why he won’t tell his daughters what to wear, as this would not only hurt his relationship with them, but it would also be teaching them the wrong lesson about men.
“If I start dictating what my daughters wear, I’ll teach them three things,” he said. “A, they’ll start to hate me for arbitrary rules. B, they’ll start to lie to me. Or C, maybe even worse, [they think] that it’s OK for a man to tell them what to wear ‘cause they look too good. And that ain’t happening.”
Austin then called out the people who criticised his initial Facebook photo, explaining that he’d never want his children to be the “kind of adults” who insult young women online.
“But you know what would really disappoint me?” he concluded. “If my girls grew up to be the kind of adult who goes on social media and demeans a teen’s appearance on her father’s Facebook page. Now that’s what I call trashy.”
As of 27 October, the video has more than 5.2m views, with TikTok users in the comments praising Austin and defending his daughters’ dresses.
“These are such normal outfits for homecoming too,” one wrote, while another said: “Your girls are beautiful and it’s homecoming. This is [a] normal homecoming dress, I do not see the issue and I 100 per cent agree with you.”
“Thank you! You are an amazing dad raising amazing strong girls,” a third person wrote. “It’s rough out here for us females.”
Other viewers went on to explain how much they relate to Austin’s mindset, as they are also parents.
“YES! I raised three daughters and feel exactly the same,” one wrote. “They are NOT responsible for a man’s thoughts.”
“Boy mom here,” another added. “It’s my job to teach my son that he needs to respect women.”
The Independent has contacted Austin for comment.