Thought Catalog
June 13, 2017

I Hope You Have A Daughter

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What is the issue?
Caroline Hernandez

The story about that jerk humping the Fearless Girl statue has been out there a couple months. Just when I thought I was ready to let my anger go, “Sketchy Dog” appeared briefly for a few hours two weeks ago to pee on Fearless Girl’s leg and further degrade her image. I don’t even know what to make of this urinating abomination, but all my anger for the original statue defacer bubbled back to the surface anew at this latest development.

I’ve read all the arguments about the supposed impure motive behind Fearless Girl’s creation – promoting some billion-dollar stock fund or whatever – and frankly, I don’t care. Corporate greed may have created her, but Fearless Girl came to represent something beautiful, pure, innocent, and empowering to me, and I suspect, to most people who saw her.

Ever since some little punk decided to taint this image, I’ve literally been lying in bed at night picturing all the ways I’d like to hurt him. Most of these scenarios end in death. Yep, death. I’d like to split his head open and leave him lying in the street.

I know you’re cringing even if you also disapprove of his actions. Hang with me. My rational mind realizes that’s probably a little extreme. I’ll control the ever-present rage; I always do.

What he did was certainly deplorable, but why am I so bent? Well, I guess it touched a nerve. It conjured some ideas about what being a father to my little girl who died just before her sixth birthday might have been like as she started to grow up.

The first time I saw a picture of that statue, I just thought it was awesome! That little girl is so damned cute with her ponytail, spindly legs, and defiant posture.

She reminded me of my Ruby. Roo was certainly a fearless girl!

I thought, “What a great message!” And I imagined a day trip with Roo to New York one day to see a few sites. I figured we’d probably have visited that statue to take her picture.

I thought about what I might have said to her. I wouldn’t have had to say much, though. The statue says it all perfectly. I’d have just tried to reinforce that message and let her know I truly believe it.

“Roo, you really can be the first girl running back for the Houston Oilers football team. I already taught you a great stiff arm. We just need to add that spin move and build up your strength a little in the weight room. You can wear #34 and change your last name to Campbell in honor of the Oilers’ most famous player, legendary Earl Campbell. I won’t even mind. Campbell is a cooler name than Miller anyway, and I’ll still know I’m your dad.”

Mmm, okay, maybe not that. It’s a nice dream, but it doesn’t make sense. The Oilers don’t exist anymore. Even if they did, I’m pretty sure Earl’s number is retired. And Campbell isn’t even really a cooler name than Miller. I mean c’mon… soup over beer… I don’t think so!

Let’s try a more coherent message. How about this?

“Roo, you really can be someone who makes a difference in the world if you work hard, shake off rejection, stay positive, and listen to your inner voice. I’m not very good at any of this, but I’ll always support you any way I can.”

That’s not bad. Maybe I’d have changed it a little, but it’s pretty close to the empowerment-themed message I’d have wanted to convey.

After checking out the statue, we’d have probably taken a break from sightseeing to get ice cream cones together. We could have relaxed and eaten them while sitting on a park bench and talking some more about all the wonderful things Roo was going to do with her life if she could be brave enough to look past barriers. It would have been a nearly perfect father-daughter day.

That guy who tried to ruin it all by humping the statue? Fine, I guess he doesn’t deserve to have his skull bashed open.

Could I at least have asked Roo to hold my ice cream cone while I shoved him to the ground and pretended to dry hump him so people could broadcast that all over social media? That seems fair and way more worthy of a viral share than his dumb stunt.

Maybe “Sketchy Dog” could prove useful after all. I could have positioned him to pee on humper.

At the very least, maybe he got fired from his fancy Wall Street job and had to move in with his parents in Muncie or Des Moines or somewhere equally unglamorous. Maybe he traded the stock market for a job stocking shelves at the local market, where he has plenty of time to think about his actions and the message he might want to convey to his own daughter someday.

In 2017, women can be anything they want to be with hard work, perseverance, and talent. Maybe there are still a few barriers in terms of unequal representation or unequal pay in some career fields, but the gap is rapidly narrowing.

A qualified and deserving woman almost won the Presidency in our most recent election. Let’s not forget she actually did win the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

That’s the sort of example we need to reinforce to all the girls and young women whose lives we touch every day. When someone tries to undermine the extraordinary strides we’ve made dating all the way back to women’s suffrage, we all need to speak up loudly.

As a father, I felt that kid was personally calling me and all fathers out when he made the dumb decision to stand next to the Fearless Girl statue while gyrating his hips and broadcasting his lewd display on social media. I felt compelled to stand up not just for my own daughter, but for all daughters.

With the perspective of hindsight, I’m sure that young man probably regrets his actions. In one brief moment of poor judgement, he made an ass of himself for the world to see. If a bright light were shone on our worst moments, I’m sure we’d all be hiding our faces in embarrassment at something stupid we’ve done.

Not only does he not deserve the beating a part of me dreams of delivering, but he also deserves a chance at redemption. I hope he has a family and a daughter of his own one day. I hope he gets that opportunity I didn’t have to teach his daughter all those important lessons I didn’t get to teach mine. I hope he tells her to be a Fearless Girl. TC mark