A photo – deemed “hilarious” by most newsfeeds – of a father with his arms wrapped around his daughter’s homecoming date that went viral has one mother in a tizzy, and I’m with her.
Sharee Schock, a professional photographer and mother of four from Bangor, took to her camera to snap shots of her 15-year-old daughter Ricarra and her homecoming date Oct. 10 – prior to the dance.
Sharee’s husband, Benjamin, photo bombed the young couple’s pictures by telling the date: “Whatever you do to my daughter, I’ll do to you,” before wrapping his arms around the boy’s waist in time for Sharee to snap a photo, Today reports.
Sharee later posted the photo side-by-side to a similar pic of the boy with his arms around Ricarra to her personal Facebook page.
“Within a week, it was viral,” Sharee tells Today.com. “We thought it was hilarious, we just didn’t think everyone else would too!”
Well, not everyone else does.
Freelancer and mother Kasey Ferris wrote a response article days later for the Huffington Post Parents blog.
While the full story is that both families were in on the photo shoot at the Schock residence, and Benjamin’s pose was intended as a well-meaning joke, Ferris raises the question of the double standard in dating and the tired tirade of the overprotective father.
“‘But I’ve been/known a teenage boy,’ you say,” Ferris wrote. “‘I know how they think.’ Which is total baloney.”
When the overprotective father rears his head and suggests his daughter’s date will perform sexual deeds on his little girl unless he recites a quick porch-step threat, dad underestimates his daughter’s ability to soundly judge threatening situations and chose trustworthy gents, and he undermines the boy’s upbringing by making such snap suggestions, Ferris writes.
Chances are if more dads genuinely didn’t trust their daughters’ judgment, they wouldn’t regularly date. If more fathers reached for a baseball bat every time they thought a date had stepped out of line, more young men would wheel around, nursing broken kneecaps. So, what’s the point? To reaffirm that archaic, sexist dynamic that sons be appraised for their “go-get-’em” attitudes and daughters are be protected as investments.
Threatening a young girl to keep her hands off her male date seems much more ridiculous, Ferris writes, which only points to the gender disparities in dating.
Many critics point out that one in five women “will be raped at some point in their lives.”
But the point is to raise sons that don’t feel slighted every time a woman doesn’t return their advances, a son who doesn’t feel entitled to affection, a son who doesn’t rape. Don’t wait to instill that moral compass. Don’t leave it up to your son’s date’s father to talk about his daughter like she’s not there – like a lawnmower in pristine condition the boy had better return in tip-top shape. And “stop teaching girls that they need to be saved,” Ferris writes. Instead, teach her how to deliver swift kicks to a handsy date’s nether regions.
Instead, make it a parenting policy to know what crowd your kid is hanging with before dating begins.
“Why don’t we, as parents, mutually do our best to raise responsible and capable children, instead?” Ferris writes. “Why don’t we guide our children to better choices, and help them learn how to recover when (not if) they screw up? Why don’t we remember that this is all part of the process and focus on the examples we’re setting for them and the messages they’re receiving at home? Then maybe we could all take a collective deep breath and be more confident in the kids we’ve raised.”