For Father’s Day: do girls and women depend on their father’s approval?

First, read this.

Key excerpt:

In my research into the lives of some 75 high-achieving, clearly independent women, I knew that I would find a powerful connection between them and the first men in their lives. Many other studies have confirmed it. What surprised me was how deep (and surprisingly traditional) the bond is, how powerful it remains throughout their lives, and how resilient it can be—even when a father has caused it grievous harm.

And this:

No matter how successful their careers, how happy their marriages, or how fulfilling their lives, women told me that their happiness passed through a filter of their fathers’ reactions. Many told me that they tried to remove the filter and—much to their surprise—failed.

We know that fathers play a key role in the development and choices of their daughters. But even for women whose fathers had been neglectful or abusive, I found a hunger for approval. They wanted a warm relationship with men who did not deserve any relationship at all.

Part of this need takes form early in life—when a father is a girl’s portal to the world of men. I call fathers a girl’s GPS—gender positioning system. It’s how women begin to orient themselves in a confusing and (especially of late) fluid landscape of gender expectations.

Question: Are girls’ reactions to their father hard-wired because of their necessary reliance on Heavenly Father? Do girls depend on male approval because they also depend on Heavenly Father’s approval and do they (unconsciously) expect men to partially fill that role on Earth?

Or is this entire article bunk?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

4 thoughts on “For Father’s Day: do girls and women depend on their father’s approval?

  1. I have a 13 year old girl. I think it is about earthly dynamics, not about Heavenly Father. I don’t feel strong gender feelings about my Heavenly Father….perhaps because I know I have Heavenly Parents.
    I think my daughter has always had me and knows she can count on me. She gets something different from her father. I have seen the importance of that relationship increase as she now makes her way in the world.
    Girls without fathers are more likely to seek relationships with boys on a higher sexual level. They feel a void. Plenty of research on girls without fathers and the consequences, showing the importance of a loving father in the home.
    It was on the bloggernacle that someone with teen girls said to go “Heavy on the interest, light on the criticism.” I think it is probably the best advice for fathers of girls ever. That is what I needed and still need from my father now. That is what I truly believe my teen daughter needs right now.

  2. I wager women are dependent on their mother’s approval for internal identity and on their father’s more for external identity. I doubt it’s hard wired as much as it is cultural. Their fathers own them in a sense, historically speaking, which makes it natural for them to want their approval.

  3. You would think that a girl growing up without a father would, per feminism, become more Independence minded. The mother would teach the daughter a pride in themselves as women. However, that isn’t the what happens. Studies have shown (although dismissed by some) that a family without a father is more likely to be in poverty. The women become sexual objects to the men while they also become mothers much earlier in life with no connection to anyone. Government assistance often becomes the financial father without the love and attention.

  4. Children that are raised without fathers have vastly higher rates of crime and juvenile delinquency. Attempts to improve on the God given union of Man and Woman, or even to just do without it, have proven to be folly.

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