Let’s Talk About This Ridiculous Application that’s Circulating Social Media Right Now

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning I saw quite a few people I know had shared this “Application to Date My Daughter”. Yes, I know it’s a joke. I also know it isn’t new. The original person that posted this shared it over a year ago, yet here it is today, gaining a whole new slew of comments, likes and shares. The application gets under my skin because it’s the epitome of the running joke I’ve heard my entire life about the dad who’s cleaning his gun when any guy comes to pick his daughter up for a date. It’s so prominent in our culture that there’s even a song about it (“Cleaning this Gun”, if you haven’t heard it yet, good luck. It’s an ear worm!). Here in the ultra conservative Midwest, where everyone seems to have a perpetual hard on for guns and Jesus, I’m not surprised at all to see the popularity this application has gained:

When I was in high school and started going on real dates with boys, I was fortunate enough that my dad, an avid hunter who would have happily shown anyone his gun collection, had little to no influence on my social life. My parents divorced when I was very young and by the time I reached dating age I was only visiting my dad about once every other month. My dad really did care about me, so in the short amount of time that I did see him he also liked to pretend he would love to scare the boys away and even my step dad joked that he would tell my date he had no problem going back to prison (spoiler: He was never in prison. Funny, right? I know you can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes over here).

It wasn’t uncommon to hear adults saying things to young girls such as, “Your dad is going to have to lock you up to keep the boys away,” or “You’re so pretty, it’s a good thing your daddy has a gun.” I also had friends with overprotective dads. Even though their dads were only kidding when they said they would show any boy that wanted to date their daughter their guns, the double standard was still alive and well.

That Double Standard for Boys and Girls.

I hear constantly about dads wanting to protect their little girls from the boys who are only after one thing… What about the boys? You don’t see guys bragging about scaring off their sons’ girlfriends by brandishing a shotgun when she comes in the door. It’s typically the opposite. I saw it with my own brother and my friends' brothers as well. Boys are usually encouraged to date. Guess what? Guys aren’t the only ones that are horny and girls aren’t the only ones that get their hearts broken.

So Let’s Really Look at this Application.

Let’s pretend that someone actually has the audacity to print this application out and hand it over to the boy that wants to date his daughter. Assuming the boy hasn’t already decided dating the daughter isn’t worth dealing with this level of crazy, and the daughter hasn’t died of embarrassment, let’s sit down with the poor kid that’s filling out the app and really look at these questions.

Religion: Alright, religion is peppered throughout the app, so let’s just tackle it all right now. As it turns out, you don’t have to be religious to be a good person! Some of the biggest assholes I know are respected members of their churches. Some of the kindest people I know are agnostic or atheist. There’s a whole mix of people in between. And, surprise, surprise, religious teenagers have sex, too. Not all of them, just as not all of the non-theist teenagers are having sex, either. Try to think of people as individuals outside of their religious affiliation.

Family Information: Really? This application asks about the marriages of the boy’s parents? What if the parents were never married? What if they were divorced? So what? How does that reflect on the boy’s character at all? Don’t judge a child for something you shouldn’t even be judging his parents for. It’s really none of your business.

A few more absurd questions in the application:

Where would you least like to be shot? Doesn’t matter. It’s not like the dad would ever actually shoot a boy for bringing his daughter home late. If the dad is that unstable that he’s going to shoot a kid over that, then I’m shocked he’s not already sitting in jail for some other violent offense.

What do you want to be IF you grow up? What answer do you want to hear? Pastor? Your daughter might not even know the answer to this one. Hell, I’m almost 30 and I don’t know the answer.

Please List Three Reference. I can’t be the only one that gets a kick out of obvious spelling errors in bullshit pieces like this, can I? Spelling error aside, the boy’s dating history is personal. If your daughter wants to know it, then that’s something for her to discuss with him.

Here’s What it Boils Down To:

Your daughter is a person. Of course, as a parent you want to protect her and look out for her safety. That’s okay! Please remember this: Girls aren’t just empty headed, fragile, clueless beings that eternally have a preschooler understanding of sex until the magic moment when they say “I do.” Guys aren’t all predatory horn dogs just waiting to get your daughter out of your sight so they can trick and manipulate her into having sex.

Sure, no one is actually handing out these applications to their daughter’s potential dates. And yeah, I know parents that enjoyed this application aren’t really going to take their shotguns out on the porch to meet their daughter’s suitor (well, I hope not anyway), but… the joke has gotten old. Yes, it’s a joke, but the attitude and ideas behind it are alive and well. Good intentions or not, it reinforces sexist stereotypes and gives young women unnecessary restrictions for the boys she thinks she should be dating (Seriously, the parent’s shouldn’t be divorced!?).

Let’s stop telling girls that they’re property incapable of making decisions for themselves. Let’s stop demeaning boys by depicting them as predators. Let’s drop the double standard. And please, put the shotgun down. Believe it or not, your daughter can handle a date without it.
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