The “Daddy’s Girl”

6 Apr

The first time I noticed a girl outwardly claiming to be a “Daddy’s Girl,” I was in high school. This chick wore a tee-shirt announcing, in gold applique cursive, she and her poppa got along well.


In college a fellow classmate wore a gold chain with a “Daddy’s Girl” charm attached.


In the past few weeks, I’ve seen several tattoo-clad ladies, with “DADDY’S GIRL”  splayed across their flesh. 


All of this “Daddy’s Girl” business makes me feel weird and it also makes me uncomfortable when anyone over 12 calls their dad, “daddy.” Let me be clear here. There is a difference between “daaaaddy” and what sounds like “deddy.” Calling your paternal figure “Daddy” is extremely common in the South, and when Southerners say it, it sounds like “Deddy.” My grandmother, from the South, has forever referred to her parents as Mother and Daddy. I never think that’s strange. That’s like me calling my dad, dad. But, if you are from anywhere other than the South and you call your dad “daddy,” I tend to cringe.

Additionally, there are such things as “daddy’s girls.” That seems to be fine too. If you get along with your Dad – awesome. If you have a special bond with your father – rad. If you prefer your pops over you mom – fabulous. But if you adorn your attire with announcements of your affections, it’s kind of repulsive and sends me into a tizzy of confusion and caution.

The assumption in claiming your “daddy’s girl”-ness, is that you are spoiled and privileged – even if your not. It’s like, “My daddy loves me sooooo much he bought me this tee shirt and Volkswagen Jetta to match.”

Also, in a strange way, it shows you father’s ownership over you. You aren’t your own girl, your daddy’s. 

I can’t try hard enough to establish myself outside of my parents. It’s not that I don’t love and admire and adore my mom and dad, because I do. But, also, I’m trying hard everyday to become my own person. To identify as anyone’s “girl” makes me shiver with fear. Identifying as a “daddy’s girl” would only make me feel young and small.

I cannot ignore the current sexualization of the word “daddy.” If someone my age says, “My Daddy gave me this car,” it freaks me out because I totally interpret this to be sexual. 

I think Freud probably had something to do with this. His popularization and idea of Oedipal relationships between parents and their offspring has sort of leaked into everyday thinking about familial relationships. In fact, there is actually a book, Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters and Postwar American Culture by Rachel Devlin, that explores the history of “daddy’s girls” – what it meant then (1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s) and what it means now. (Great article here!)

The most interesting part is what it currently means to be a “daddy’s girl.” Why do girls have this need? And why publicize it? I think Delvin is on the money (pardon the pun) when saying today, being a daddy’s girl is about commercialization. Most girls want their Dads to love them and thus buy them things to show it. If some chick is advertising that this is the relationship she has with her dad – other ladies get jealous, they desire that as well. It’s like any good clothing trend.

I hope this “Daddy’s Girl” attire sticks around as long as parachute pants did, but, something tells me it will be more like the fanny pack, continuously re-invented.


2 Responses to “The “Daddy’s Girl””

  1. molm June 27, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Totally enjoyed this post…particularly…”My daddy loves me soooooooo much he bought me this tee shirt and a Volkswagan Jetta to match”….hilarious. You have missed your calling girl!

  2. Jenny August 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Being a “daddy’s girl” has nothing to do with being spoiled or privileged, nor does it have anything to do with being “commercialized.” My mother and father both spoiled me to some extent, and I love them both dearly. I never even contemplated having this term — hang on, how did you say it? — “splayed across their flesh” until recently. Honestly, my father passed about 3 years ago… I dearly miss him every day, and I am so happy that he was there for the most important moments in my life. For instance, every time I see the picture of myself and my father dancing at my wedding, I nearly burst into tears. Not out of sadness, but out of joy. I was soooo lucky to have a wonderful father in my life for almost 31 years. Some people never even get to experience that kind of relationship/love for the entirety of their lives.
    I am also a completely independent woman and have been for a long time. Friends and family have often talked about my independent spirit and the fact that I do not like to accept help from people. Like yourself, I admire and love my parents, but do not feel a particular NEED to live life by their rules. I think they have helped me to develop this independent spirit since they have allowed me to make a lot of my own decisions from a very young age. I was never stifled or pressed in to choosing one college/career/life path over another.
    I recently saw this tattoo on the back of another girl’s neck — all frilly and sweet. It literally brought tears to my eyes. From then on, I have not been able to stop thinking about this. What a wonderful and loving tribute to her and her father’s special relationship. It made me want to ask her about it. Now, personally, I do not believe I would
    want this on the back of my neck, just because of my profession. But, I feel strongly that I do want a tattoo with this same message… Any time anyone asks me about my father, (even while he was alive) I was so proud to tell them all about him and even more so now that he has passed.
    In addition, I am from the South, so the term ‘daddy’ is not uncommon. I am sharing this with you — not to convince you that this is the way to go — but to just shed some light on a differing viewpoint. Just as tattoos are not for everyone, this particular term of endearment is not representative of everyone. But for some, it has a very special meaning. 🙂
    Thanks for letting me share.

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