Mommie Dearest: So-Called Overprotective Dads Are Doing Their Daughters No Favors

A tale as old as time. A so-called overprotective father writes an extreme list of demands for dating his (currently only 2-year-old) daughter, and it goes viral. Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell took to his public Facebook page to rant about all the things he’ll do to any potential suitor that may take a liking to his little girl. Among the challenges Luttrell would pose to any future Romeo:

  • Make him contact all the toughest dads that he knows — MMA fighters, boxers, police officers, firefighters and police guards – to get their blessing to date his daughter.
  • Make him meet Luttrell’s teammates to get their blessing, while being introduced to their armory (aka scare the shit out of some kid with a bunch of guns).
  • Make him do some household chores including painting, mending fences, and mowing the lawn.
  • Any potential boyfriend would then need to harness the powers of Captain Planet and rope a tornado, bottle a hurricane, and extinguish a forest fire with a squirt gun.
  • Finally, after he does all of that, he’ll be blessed with Luttrell’s cell phone number. And if he’s lucky, he’ll get an in person meet-n-greet.

In the same rant, Luttrell also ponders creating a chastity belt for his daughter, complete with a Navy SEAL trident and the phrase “ask father for key” engraved on it. Because that’s not creepy at all. While I’m all for involved, caring, loving fathers who take an active role in their children’s lives, in my mind, this patriarchal overprotective bullshit is more about ownership than anything else. Luttrell’s daughter — and her virginity — are not possessions for him to give, take, or haggle over. He may be her father, but he does not own her.

Instead of playing the role of the big, bad dad, maybe he can come up with some actually helpful ways to talk to his daughter about dating that don’t rely on hyperbole and an overinflated sense of machismo. Maybe he can talk about how some boys might be great, but some might end up hurting her, and he’ll always be there for her, no matter what. Maybe he can talk to her about consent, and about how she shouldn’t be afraid to speak up for herself and her wishes. I mean, what will really happen when Baby Girl Luttrell turns 18? If all her dad ever does is focus on the bad boys trying to get at his prize of a daughter, what expectations does that set up for her, her possible suitor, and their relationship? And do I dare even suggest what may happen if his daughter ends up wanting to date girls? Yeah… Not so sure daddy has a rant prepared for that one.

While Luttrell may think this “hilarious” tirade shows his love and devotion to his daughter, all it really shows is that he thinks his daughter is incapable of handling things herself, or worse yet, isn’t able to make these sorts of important decisions for herself. Don’t worry your pretty, little head about boys, baby, I’ll handle it all for you.

Looking through Luttrell’s Facebook page, you can see that he also has a young son. I wonder if he’s posted any similar rants on his behalf? For example, something like:

If any girl wants to date my son, she’s going to have to get the blessing of all of my wife’s friends first. And they’re all scary, vindictive women, so watch out. Then, she’ll have to bake twenty apple pies blindfolded, clean our bathroom, mend my socks, and make me my drink just the way I like it before I’ll even think of giving her my cell phone number.

Yeah, somehow I don’t think that’s happening. And if Luttrell thinks that boys are so awful, I wonder if he’s going to bother to teach his son about things like consent, safe sex, and how to avoid or befriend the father of any potential girlfriends. Rants like Luttrell’s aren’t cute, funny, or sweet. No. Instead they’ve far surpassed overprotective and are deep in over-controlling and sexist territory. Let’s hope that by the time the little toddler that spurred this whole rant is old enough to date that her father has eased up and realized that his daughter is an actual person, and not a possession he can control.