My dad is one of the greatest feminists I know
I just knew that he didn’t believe his daughters should get any less from the world he has tirelessly tried to prepare us for
We’re predominantly a household of girls (bar our male dog, who’s kind of the son my parents never had). The upbringing my sister and I experienced consisted of intricately painted fairies on our bedroom walls, red patent footwear and a smattering of pink. We’ve taken our parents through all the trials and tribulations of raising teenage girls, the bouts of passive aggression, the ups and downs of life at school, failing to answer our phones, the expensive beauty appointments, the expensive beauty appointments gone wrong, etc.
I appreciate that I have my generous and compassionate mother to turn to, as sometimes, you just need your mom, especially when going through the classically awkward stages of adolescence. However, with Father’s Day approaching, it’s vital to acknowledge the role my father has played. From reading Harry Potter to us until we fell asleep as children, to taking me for dim sum after my exams, to being the smiling face greeting me at London Heathrow’s arrivals gate after I finished my first semester at NYU, he’s been there.
I don’t think I can solidly recall my dad ever self-identifying as a feminist, but I never needed to hear it from him. I just knew that he didn’t believe his daughters should get any less from the world he has tirelessly tried to prepare us for. That he didn’t expect any less from us because we’re girls. That he never differentiated between the interests of a boy and those of a girl, instead choosing to share his interests with us in the hope that we might find something in common, something to strengthen our bond even more.
I want to thank him for passing on his love of Bruce Springsteen, Batman, James Bond, and so much more. For getting me through math at school, and for understanding when I’ve fallen short, and for always cheering me on, even for the smallest of accomplishments. And, most importantly, for always wanting to know what’s going on with us, and for never deeming our problems insignificant. And for knowing when to step back.
I also learned to see strength in him when he wasn’t being stoic. When inexplicably terrible things happened, it was important to see how he dealt with them with the same confused anger and confusion that I tried to grapple with. Even though he’s acted as our resident fountain of knowledge and occasional fixer of problems, from the internet to plumbing, he’s always showed us how human he is, and that what I admire most.
There was never any question of him or my mother having lower expectations of us as girls. There was no boundary we couldn’t break, and that’s something spurring me on as I approach (slightly terrifying) thoughts of life after university. I want to have the opportunity to mirror his successes, and to be able to repay him and my mother for all that they’ve given me.
Yes, there will always be things that I’d rather seek a woman’s advice for. But my parents are a team, different sides of a hard-working machine that find a way to provide for us, and to attend to our every need.
Happy Father’s Day, Pops. Thank you for everything you do.