After the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna (Gigi), the hashtag #GirlDad went viral on social media outlets. This trending topic was inspired by ESPN’s sport anchor Elle Duncan after she shared a memory of her first encounter with Bryant. According to Duncan, Bryant loved being a father to all his girls telling other fathers, “Just be grateful that you’ve been given the gift because girls are amazing.” Duncan then asked him if he planned to have any more children in the future and he responded by saying, “I would have five more girls if I could. I am a girl dad.”
This got me thinking about my relationship with my own dad. I wondered if my father considered himself to be a “girl dad” and if he did, did that make me a daddy’s girl?
Almost every post in my timeline was a memory of Bryant and Gigi either playing B-ball together, watching a game court side or just enjoying family time. I assumed that #GirlDad meant that Gigi was a daddy’s girl, but contrary to my beliefs, #GirlDad meant more than just being a father of a daughter.
Being a girl dad for fathers means kicking down the myth that all men want a son to carry on the family’s name and play sports. It’s about fathers raising their daughters to be strong, confident, independent, and pushing through barriers for equality. So with my newfound knowledge of what #GirlDad truly means, I would be the first to say that my father is a girl dad.
It’s about fathers raising their daughters to be strong, confident, independent, and pushing through barriers for equality.
My father has always been my No. 1 cheerleader in everything I have ever chosen to be a part of like playing tennis, becoming a ballet/tap dancer, wanting to play a guitar, and even now pursuing a career in journalism. My father has raised me to have confidence in myself, take care of myself, make my own decisions, have integrity, and above all else, do all things in love or not at all. There’s not one day that goes by without my father making sure I am well, both mentally and physically, giving all the stress and anxiety I endure daily being a teenage girl in her senior year of high school. He is teaching me to become independent, accountable, reliable, and responsible for myself. You know, all those important things in life.
Hats off to all the girl dads of the world, raising your daughters to be strong, confident, independent, responsible, adventurous, goal-oriented, and keeping them encouraged in this male dominant society. Let’s keep the hashtag #GirlDad trending to show people everywhere just how important this title really is.
By Naiyah Mills, Senior, Brooks College Prep