This week started with a horrific tragedy that left many across the world feeling devastation and heartbreak for the families involved. Five daughters (three teens and two daughters turned mothers) were killed in the helicopter crash that claimed the life of NBA great, Kobe Bryant and two other men on board.
While their families, friends, fans and the world are still in mourning, one memory from an ESPN host sparked a social movement that has fathers, daughters and pretty much everyone celebrating #GirlDad. The hashtag sparked from Kobe’s excitement about being a “girl dad” in his conversation with the host (a mom-to-be at the time) after she asked for advice about raising a girl.
My timelines have been filled with proud posts celebrating the joy of being a #GirlDad or #DaddysGirl and even some saluting a #GirlDad in their life. As a daughter, I know my dad is a proud #GirlDad of both my sister and I. If only for a second, seeing these posts give us a little something to celebrate in the midst of such sadness.
As a mother though, this movement hits different for me, in a positive way. Seeing my husband and other dads celebrate fatherhood makes my heart smile. Fatherhood, especially Black fatherhood isn’t always shed in a positive light, and #GirlDad changes that narrative, if only for a moment. It also makes me proud to see so many men who are just as proud of having daughters, as men have historically been known to be about having sons. Once upon a time, a man’s son was thought to be the heir of the throne, and the one to carry on a legacy. Now, daughters are just as widely celebrated and being encouraged to achieve things that once were only seen as suitable for a man to accomplish.
This world is far from perfect, and I don’t think a single hashtag will make it better for girls and women, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this moment. Like with anything, there are people who don’t understand it, think it’s silly or downright hate seeing #GirlDad posted everywhere. There are even some think pieces on why some can’t seem to rally behind it, but that doesn’t take the joy away from those of us who can.
So for me, as a daughter, a #GirlMom, an aunt of many nieces and an overall champion for girl empowerment, I appreciate all of the #GirlDad posts and encourage all fathers to continue being their daughter’s first example of how a man should be, teaching them how to navigate this thing called life and, most importantly, being present in their lives consistently. To the women/girls who have lost fathers, I pray that you find peace in your memories, and for those who never had a chance to experience a #GirlDad, I truly hope it made you channeled that absence into positive energy.
Salute to all the #GirlDads.