‘Super Dad’ Doyin Richards Explains How Having Daughters Changed His View On Women Forever

doyin-richards

This is what the world needs more of – dads who are hands on with their families and understand gender roles do not dictate anything in our lives. You may not necessarily be familiar with the name Doyin Richards, but if you spend time on the internet at all (hey if you’re reading this you’re an internet user!) you may have come across his story because not too long ago, he posted an image on his parenting blog that went viral.

To catch you up quickly, Doyin is a husband, father of two daughters, a blogger, author, speaker and regularly makes appearances in the media to comment on parenting issues. We’re all familiar with the mommy blogger phenomenon but there just aren’t enough daddy bloggers encouraging dads, and stay-at-home-fathers to embrace their role as the primary caretaker of the home and the children.

So when Doyin posted the image below of him brushing his daughter’s hair while body-carrying his baby girl, the internet went bezerk!

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Not sure about you guys, but when we saw this image, we thought it was super cool, and also very normal. We bet there are SO many dads in the world who take care of their daughters and do their hair on a daily basis. Yet the images we see in the media are the complete opposite, which is why people like Doyin are super important to the public discourse about gender equality, especially when it comes to parenting.

His blog is called Daddy Doin’ Work, and we highly recommend you subscribe and get familiar with his life. The guy who earned the nickname “Super Dad” after his photo took the interwebs by storm wrote an op-ed for Upworthy explaining some of the things he has learned about the female species since becoming a dad of two girls, and how it shaped his views of women.

He first talks about how when his wife first got pregnant in 2009, he was hoping for a boy, because he wanted to teach him sports, rather than have a girl and do “girly” stuff. Sadly, the first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage which devastated both him and his wife. When the couple found out they were expecting again in 2010, this time Doyin says he was simply hoping for a healthy baby, rather than any form of gender preference, and realized what a futile desire it was to hope he only had a boy.

“Since January 2011, my oldest daughter has introduced me to a brand of love that I never knew existed. I truly believe that having two little girls has transformed me into a better, stronger, smarter man than I would’ve been without them,” he said.

He then goes on to list 5 “revelations” he had about gender and parenting since having two girls, instead of boys. The first, and probably the most crucial one, is that everything he thought he would do with a boy, he can still do with his girls.

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“I can play basketball, teach them how to throw a punch, and play in the dirt. Yes, I know that’s a big fat “duh” for many of you, but I’m a recovering knucklehead with minimal relapses, so please humor me. And yes, I’m going to teach them much more than those three things…” he said.

The second was the knowledge that his girls will be using him as a benchmark for how men should behave. Wow! This is such a powerful statement to make, especially in a world where we are still battling sexism, sexual assault, rape culture and inequality that unfortunately in many cases stems from the ideologies men and women are brought up to believe is OK.

“The best dads I know…are dads and husbands first and foremost. When I worked a full-time job in corporate America, I remember that after a day of [work], the only thing I wanted to do was rest when I get home. Then I thought about my daughters. I’ll be damned if they looked at me and thought, ‘Daddy doesn’t cook, give us baths, read bedtime stories, or change our diapers. He just sits around while Mommy does everything. Maybe that’s how all men should act and that’s what I should expect from a future husband’,” he explained.

“I want my baby girls to expect their daddy to be actively involved – always,” he adds.

His third revelation is that being “girly” is a myth. Definitions of masculinity and femininity are so one-dimensional and narrow in the media, that we don’t blame anyone for thinking that the idea of being a woman or a man means you have to tick a certain number of boxes. Thankfully Doyin is using his platform as a way to inform his readers of the misconceptions surrounding this issue, as it it important parents teach this to their kids early on.

“What does girly even mean, anyway? Would my kid be less girly if she dressed up as Spider-Man for Halloween instead of a princess? Would she be less girly if she wanted to tackle little boys on the football field instead of taking ballet classes? Not to me,” he said.

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“I’ve learned that being a girl can be whatever the hell a girl wants it to be, and I will never limit my daughters when it comes to that. Additionally, I want to introduce my daughters to other women who are crushing it in male-dominated fields (executive leadership, sports journalism/broadcasting, coding, law enforcement, etc.) so they’ll understand that it’s possible to do anything their little hearts desire,” he added.

Ok I know he was nicknamed “Super Dad”, but we are strongly suggesting he be named “Father Of The Year” with that statement alone! Thank you times a million Doyin for joining many feminists in sharing the message that stereotypes and gender roles only hurt our future potential and stop us from shooting for the stars in terms of knowing what we are capable of as humans.

His fourth point is a perfect example of why the Ban Bossy campaign, spearheaded by Sheryl Sandberg and the Girls Scouts of America, was created. Because girls get the message from an early age that being loud, being assertive and speaking out loud what you want is a negative thing. Doyin is ALL for being loud and encourages his daughters to do so!

“In a world where women are still fighting for equality, I want my girls to speak up in the living room, classroom, and board room in order to be heard. Forget the foolishness about being viewed as “pushy,” “bossy,” or “bitchy” for having an opinion or for taking a stance. Closed mouths don’t get fed,” he said.

But he doesn’t end there. Doyin is a dad who recognizes that there are pressures put on girls that men do not have to deal with. The way society subtly teaches girls that their value comes from their external appearance is a dangerous message that everyone has to find ways to work against.

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“Girls have to deal with a lot of challenging things today. Pressure to be liked by others, pressure to have sex, body image, mean girls, teen pregnancy, rape … I can’t protect them from all of the ills of society, but I can ensure they’ll have the confidence and smarts (both book smarts and street smarts) to thrive in this crazy world we live in,” he said.

Much of what he is saying echoes the idea behind Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In philosophies where she is now engaging dads and men to be part of the conversation to encourage women to grab hold of their potential. He is also a living, breathing example of what the He For She movement is doing – urging men to become to become allies in the fight for gender equality.

“Just like I’m fighting for dads to get a seat at the table when it comes to parenting issues, I want women to have a seat at the table when it comes to issues that affect them — and not just for my daughters, but for your daughters, too,” he concluded.

These are the kind of messages we need to hear more of from dads. Thank you Doyin for being an influential dad and being unafraid to share your vulnerabilities in the hope it will inspire other men to reevaluate what their masculinity means, and how they are teaching their daughters to be better representatives of what it means to be a good dad.

If you want to hear more of what Doyin had to say about his viral photo and his positions on parenting, check out the interview with Good Morning America below:


 

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