Let’s Talk About It: Do our fathers affect how we look for love and respect?!

A couple of weekends back, I was watching a Gangland marathon on the History channel with my mom.  One episode that stood out was “From Girl to Gangsters”, which featured female members of the Bloods and Crips in California.  You can catch the first 10 minutes of the episode below:

There are many things happening and suggestions as to why they may happening even in the first 10 minutes of the episode.  One message that was prevalent is that girls join gangs for love and/or respect.  The clip cites broken homes as one of the causes of this; resulting in women seeking “love” and “respect” in destructive ways. And though we always talk about the effects of fatherless homes in the way women look at love and respect, we never look at the effects of fathers being present in their daughter’s lives. So let’s really talk about it, “Do our fathers affect how we look for love and respect?!”

We often don’t talk about the father/daughter relationship in our community.  This may be due to the fact that many fathers are not present in their child’s lives to even talk about it. But for those with their fathers in their lives, the story is usually different.  One person in the Gangland episode that caught my attention was Sylvia aka Rambo.  She was from a middle class background and had both her mother and father in her life.  She became a gang member after her brother was murdered by members of an opposing gang and her father was imprisoned.  Unlike many of the other women on the show, Sylvia wasn’t solely seeking love, but also respect and power, which she acquired by putting in her work. Later in the episode, Sylvia went on to say, “My dad told me, I’m going to teach you everything a woman need to know. You ain’t gon’ need a man, but for one thing: the bedroom”.  For many of us with our fathers in our lives or a constant male presence, we can attest to a similar reality check about life and love.

Biggie said it best with, “Get my daughter this college plan, so she don’t need no man.” Dads are traditionally the disciplinary and are infamous for bringing out harsh realities in many situations, lol. I think of dads as giving us the tools we need to navigate life, while moms nurture us as we take life on.  With our dads around, we see that not only do we require nurturing in love but respect as well.   In that expectation of respect is our education and character. And while Sylvia’s dad taught her how to steal cars and physically fight, even for those of us who are formally educated, we can attest to not being as dependent on men for anything outside of love and respect. Unfortunately until more men in our community recognize and value what we bring to the table, the way our fathers and the male figures in our lives teach us, many of us “educated” women find ourselves very lonely.  A plan devised by dads of daughters many years ago, I’m sure, lol.  The key as always is a honest conversation with your partner about your expectation for love and respect.  xx

PS Shoutout to the dads that do what they are supposed to do when choosing (or forced :-) ) to raise their bundles of joy, especially us girls!! And big shoutout to the all the single moms, that play both nurturer and disciplinary. True superheroes :-) xx

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