A funny meme and a terrible philosophy

Can we please try to have a sense of humor and not overreact to every little thing with outrage? Can we please recognize when a harmless joke is a harmless joke and not a reason to become offended? Can we not turn a humorous Twitter photo into a debate about the “patriarchy” and gun control?

The photo posted by Jay Feely is a joke as old as parenthood itself: Fathers wanting to protect their daughters, often to the point of being overprotective. It has inspired memes such as “rules for dating my daughter” that were passed around via copy machine well before they became part of cyberspace. Chill out.

And no, this does not mean that Feely’s daughter is “his property.” That is absurd. Fathers have always protected their daughters – and their sons. As they get older, more competent and more independent, less protection is needed. Protecting the virtue and ensuring the safety of your daughter (or son) does not make them your property. It makes you a good parent. Not everything has to be a feminist crusade.

That said, the “rules for dating my daughter” is a funny meme but a poor life philosophy. Yes, fathers should protect their daughters, but the goal should be for them to find a godly man to date and eventually marry. The father’s goal should be for her to find a man he would be delighted to have as a son-in-law. Fathers of sons should seek to raise a man who another man would be delighted to have as a son-in-law. We should focus on the ideal, not just on preventing the negative.

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