Parenting is one of the most challenging responsibilities that a person has to undertake once in life, of course by choice. It is like a story with two major characters- you and your child. The happy ending is possible only when both of them have roles to play and are happy and satisfied with their own lives. It might not involve deadlines or the fear of being fired from your dream job. But even one mistake in the parenting might leave a bitter memory and an unerasable scar in the minds of the child.
Today the right upbringing is the one which involves feminist parent. But it is not easy to be one in a patriarchal society.
To be a feminist parent means going against the social norms and traditions and to face criticisms that come from the protectors of those traditions. What, you are sending your daughter to live in a city and that too alone? Bigad jayegi! Ladki haath se nikal jayegi! What kind of parent you are? These and many other comments a feminist parent comes across for raising a feminist child. More so, in the case of feminist dads who are seen as the head of the families and the most rational people with no chance to commit a ‘mistake’. How could he let things go out of his control? So it is important to cherish every feminist dad. Do you have one? Look out for these signs to know:
1. He supports your decisions
If your father gives a big thumbs up for your dreams and choices in life without judging them according to the norms of the society and coming back at you with “Log kya kahenge“, you have been brought up a feminist father.
2. He sent you to the city for a better education
It is no hidden fact that families even today value a son’s education over daughter’s. They are fine with spending half of their earnings in the education and employment of the son. But for the daughter, they would rather want to save the money for her marriage than investing in her education. But if your father doesn’t conform to these stereotypes, encourages you to have the best education in the world and even sends you out to study if the best isn’t available in the proximity, he is a feminist. He has the courage to tackle the stereotypes that women who live away from parents are “bad”. He believes in you and wants you to succeed despite every hurdle.
3. He taught you to play football
“Girls don’t play sports”- a conception that is defied every year, every month, every day. Women have reached to the top of the world by holding rackets, making goals and brandishing the bats. Some did it despite the restrictions, while others had their mothers and fathers holding their hands till the end. Yes. The fathers who teach their daughters and sons every game, who do not think that girls are too weak to hold a bat and believe that their daughters could be the next team captain, are feminist fathers.
4. He shares the household work with your mother, and guess what? You learnt to make the best Maggi from him
It is still not common for fathers to step inside the kitchen and help the mothers or maybe do every housework on their own. Some fathers still expect their wives to serve their meal on the table; and all they want to do is wash their hands, eat the meal and criticise it. But if your father shares the housework with your mother, has turns to clean and cook and makes the best Maggi, tea or any dish in the world, he is a feminist. He doesn’t force you to help your mother in the kitchen or do the housework when you are busy. He expects both the daughter and son to have an equal practice in cooking and cleaning because these are the basic skills to survive as a human.
5. He lets you be the heir of the property and the family business
Though it is a law now that daughters are the equal inheritors of the family properties, it is still not practised in many families. It is assumed that the son is the practical heir of family properties because the daughter will be married off to her “own house”. But if your father has told you about his business, expects you to learn his work and take over the responsibility after him, he is a feminist father. He doesn’t conform to the idea that a woman is incapable of handling a business or money. He will teach you everything about finances so that you can manage it well when you start earning. He will be the happiest if you want to help him in his work. Moreover, he won’t force you or your brother to kill personal aspirations and take care of his. He will want you to sit on his rolling chair but not at the coat of your own dreams.
6. He doesn’t keep asking and reminding you about your marriageable age
The burden of marriage is real for almost every woman in India. The moment she crosses her 20s, a time clock is fixed on her head that reminds her to wrap up and prepare for marriage even if she has other plans for life. But if your father priorities your dreams over marriage, doesn’t bother if chasing your aims delay your marriage and is perfectly fine if you choose to be single, he is a feminist father. He believes in your happiness, whether it is in your dreams, marriage or in singlehood. Moreover, he won’t force you to marry the man he chooses after considering factors of caste, religion, race and society. He will teach you to choose the right person and make decisions for yourself. And whatever is your choice, he will always have your back.
7. He won’t shame you for being too “girly”
Whether a son or a daughter, a feminist father will never judge his child for his or her clothes, choices and attitudes. He will encourage you to be as you are, without enforcing gender binaries. If you dance rather than playing games, he will be happy to tap his feet along with you. If you like playing with your dolls or pose like a princess, he will braid your hair and be the first one to cheer you up. And remember, this all is despite your gender. At the end of the day, if you embrace an identity that the society hasn’t assigned you, your father will be your biggest support. He won’t criticise you just because the society does. He will love you with all your choices.
8. He won’t shy away from discussing period or sex with you
Kudos to those dads who master in this category too and have had the period and sex talk with their sons and daughters. But not all fathers are confident enough to do the same. Why? Because the fathers have been raised amidst those taboos and so they aren’t aware much about periods. But even then, if he doesn’t shame you or impose restrictions just because you are bleeding, buys pads for you and is not furious if he gets to know about your boyfriends, he is a feminist father.