Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Dad sets unusual dating rules for his daughters – and the internet has responded

dad rules daughter viral facebook post.jpg

The idea of a father setting out dating rules for his daughter’s suitors to adhere to is both a tired sitcom cliché and a depressing symptom of a patriarchal society that assumes a woman has no independent thought and needs a man to decide what’s best for her.

But one dad’s rules are being applauded on social media precisely because they stand for the very opposite of those ridiculous notions.

The usual ‘hilarious’ rules, found on T-shirts, in sub-par TV scripts and floating around the internet, often include creepy, shotgun-laden references to “my baby girl” and “my princess”, mentions she’s a “lady” who needs a “gentleman”, a massive dose of ownership and some mother-in-law digs for good measure. Because their daughters are always heterosexual, innocent and pure, presumably inhabiting some hallowed place entirely separate to those fallen sexually liberated women who exist solely for men’s pleasure.

So many things wrong, so little time. Let’s just say a big fat no to the whole thing.

But Jeff Warren Welch’s post has been doing the rounds on social media because it sums up exactly what’s wrong with the dad-daughter trope.

He writes: “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. Good luck pumpkin.”

Read more: Woman rewrites her daughter’s sexist homework in a fantastically perfect way

Welch often posts inspirational extracts and quotes from his writing work, but this one took off with more than 21,000 shares on Facebook, as well as thousands of likes on Instagram.

He and his wife have five daughters between them, aged from seven to 16.

Speaking to today.com, Welch said he understood the protective instinct of a parent, but that “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.”

Welch, who describes himself as a feminist, has been overwhelmed by messages since the post but is careful to point out that he doesn’t expect praise for how he’s raising his daughters.

“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.”

OK, it sticks slightly that his caption reads “ain’t raisin’ no princesses” and it’s always a shame that stories like this – essentially the acknowledgment that women are also people – are worthy of comment because they’re the exception, but obviously we’d much rather see things like this getting traction and attention than boring old misogyny dressed up as fatherly love.

Main image: Caleb Jones


tulip siddiq (2).jpg

Report reveals "human rights abuses" against women MPs online


#WomanUp: Twitter responds to Piers Morgan’s misogynist bulls**t

disneyland paris.jpg

Disneyland Paris refuses to let little boy be a “Princess for the Day”


29 autumn tattoos that capture the magic of the golden season

Think woodland illustrations and sunset hues

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

The greatest life lessons from The Princess Bride

It's been 30 years since it first hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
26 Sep 2017

These are the four skills you should highlight on your CV

According to the world's top CEOs

by Helen Brown
26 Sep 2017

This woman’s post encourages others to call out sexual harassment

“He tilted his phone up... enough for me to see the picture of my ass”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Trump rates Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway in newly released tapes

“I don’t think she’s got good skin. I don’t think she’s got a great face.”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Depressingly, this TV moment attracted the most complaints of 2017

Don’t we all have bigger things to worry about than this?

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Sep 2017

This TV show has been voted reigning champion of the last 20 years

And no, it's not Friends

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Pretty Woman: The Musical

We already can’t wait for this

by Moya Crockett
26 Sep 2017

Why you'll never fancy that person who REALLY likes you

According to experts

by Nicola Colyer
26 Sep 2017

Krispy Kreme launches seriously spooky doughnuts for Halloween

Trick AND treat, all in one

by Susan Devaney
26 Sep 2017