Recently, I had a discussion with a good friend of mine about some of the recent blog posts written by fathers to their daughters about today’s ridiculous standards of beauty and about the importance of being a strong partner in a relationship, a woman who holds her partner to a high standard of respect and love. My two favorites are by Dr. Kelly Flanagan:
If you have a chance, I strongly recommend reading these posts. I don’t care if you’re male or female, young or old, have daughters or not. They’re exceptional. They speak volumes not only about the pain and worries and insecurities so many of us women have felt at one time or another in our lives but also about the character of the man who wrote the posts. My heart swells when I think about him and other men who can so deeply grasp and sympathize with these issues and who go to such directed efforts to help their daughters see beyond these influences, to reinforce to girls that they are intrinsically and unambiguously worthy of love.
|My dad teaching me the importance of a classy chapeau.|
I’m not going to go into the details of these and other posts. You can read them for yourselves. The question my friend and I pondered – my friend is the father of two daughters – is whether this and other male authors of such posts live and internalize the “male side” of these articulated beliefs. I’m curious if they are representative of the men they would want their daughters to love and value.
It’s not for me to judge, even if they aren’t. But it’s just something I wonder about.
For instance, in the first post above, Dr. Flanagan encourages his daughter not to focus on her external beauty but rather to seek her value in her internal beauty and sense of self. He tells his daughter, “The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on.” I love what he and other dad-authors say about being strong and choosing your dream and not being worried about the exterior over the interior.
But I did wonder, in the back of my mind, if the authors themselves are influenced by and attracted to a woman’s exterior, by flawless skin and youthful appearance, as much as any other men. I wonder if, beneath the higher thinking they demonstrate, they also see a stunningly attractive female “as a pretty face and a body to enjoy.” Do they actively seek out images of “hot” women, naked or otherwise? Do they find some small disappointment in how the faces and bodies of the women in their lives compare to the world’s standards of perfection?
The second post delivers an equally powerful message about what Dr. Flanagan will and will not consider important in the man his daughter chooses to be with. I love, love, love, adore, value, worship (add your own verbs here) this message: “