Before we begin, the father/daughter (or daddy/daughter) dances we are referring to in this post are ones held at elementary or middle schools – not the “father/daughter” dance at a woman’s wedding.
During father/daughter dances, dads take their daughters on a date to a school dance. The event is usually exclusive to only dads and their daughters.
The dad – user pfunnk14 – was responding to a sub-Reddit thread titled “Am I The Asshole?” He explained that the dances are “creepy and sexualize the relationship between a father and a daughter.” He went on to say, “The whole thing just makes my skin crawl. I love my daughter with all my heart, but I don’t want to date her. I also don’t want to reinforce weird gender and patriarchal stereotypes in my daughter’s young mind…I was just expressing my distaste for them to my wife upon seeing this poster. She lost it. She was shaking and crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look at me with such disdain. She thinks I would be denying my daughter a special bonding experience.”
There were over 600 varying responses to his question and below are some of the popular opinions:
Many readers understood the dad’s perspective. (“NTA” means “not the asshole.”)
“NTA I think it’s very reasonable of you to say you think they’re gross but if your daughter (not your wife) really wanted to go to one you’d go for her. I think it’s a little weird that your wife got so worked up about it, and that seems like something you two will need to work out between you.”
“I’d say it’s better to cultivate a healthy family dynamic with shared interests and time spent bonding as a family unit and individuals rather than focusing on a single day…And I say that because the girls I knew that participated pretty much had what I call ‘Kodak moment dads,’ the kind that don’t have an active role in their kids lives.”
And, while some understood his viewpoint, they disagreed with his opinion of the dances.
“I disagree, yeah the roots might be bad, but the idea of it is different now. I loved daddy daughter dances with my dad. They were special times to bond and dance with other kids my age and him. It never had anything to do with my sexuality and we aren’t religious. You’re not the asshole for not wanting to do it, but maybe think about how many people actually think of it that way.”
Others also sympathized with his wife’s response to his outlook.
“I can see why your wife is sensitive on ‘I don’t want to do that with my daughter’ given how her own father was uninvolved. Surely, there are plenty of awesome bonding things you could do with your daughter that don’t have this weird creepy overtone (I agree with you on it, and seen through a non-USA lens it really is a very unsettling cultural thing).
If your kid goes to a school where those dances are a thing, it might be hard to not participate without it becoming something that your daughter’s social circle remarks upon. It’s likely that your wife’s friends at that age remarked upon her not having a father come to that kind of event with her. I think that would be good to acknowledge with your wife. There’s real pain there that she wants to spare your kid, but going along with gross traditions isn’t the only way to do that. You guys are on the same team here.
The joy of starting your own family is that you can invent your own traditions.”
There were also readers who remembered their own childhood experience at these father/daughter dances, which weren’t “sexualized” at all.
“Yeah, I was reading this and no matter how much I think about going to the girl scout ones as a kid, it still doesn’t feel like it was at all sketchy or anything, it wasn’t like we were even dancing WITH our dads most of the time, usually the girls were all dancing and the dad’s were all sitting at the snack table and hanging out.”
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BuzzFeed has reached out to user pfunnk14 for comment.