by Ceci White-Baer
Two unrelated trains of thought
What I Want to Know About the “Daddy Issues” Fetish
A few months ago, I was included in an email thread that contained a bet from someone that two people who had yet to meet would hook up the following weekend. “The blonde one,” someone else decided, jokingly referring to a girl he had never met. “Daddy issues are a plus,” he added to the end of his email. I’m sorry, what?
The steady memeification of “daddy issues” had been on my radar for years before the email, but this was the first time I had seriously given it much critical thought. I’ve always laughed it off, but I couldn’t help but feel protective over the girl to whom the email was referring—yes, “the blonde one.” It’s not so much the sender of the email I found myself being critical of as much as the trend itself.
Until recently, I considered myself in the camp of daughters who could claim said fatherly woes. As a preteen starting to struggle through my earliest interactions with mental health issues, I felt increasingly alienated from my father. During my early high school years, fueled by teen dramas on TV, I assumed that everyone’s relationship with their dad was like this—full of door-slamming (mostly me) and eye-rolling (closer to an even split). These seemingly harmless antics eventually devolved into something closer to what could honestly be described as the aforementioned “daddy issues,” but I digress. As I entered young adulthood, I became more and more familiar with the fetishization of fatherly problems (think: the expanding use of “Daddy”).
So, to my questions: is the “daddy issues” fetish an exploitation of female independence and sexuality—a sort of reaction to a decline of women relying on male figures in their lives? Or am I just being a judgmental asshole? Maybe a little bit of both?
A (Painfully) Unedited Look at the Notes I Left Myself to Decode the Next Morning
“8 boneless special all teriyaki plain fries extra ranch coke / Somewhere only we know” (September 17, 2017 at 1:57 AM)
“Smooth move natural laxative tea 2 bags steep 5 minutes” (February 13, 2017 at 11:00 PM)
“Tomato!!” (October 18, 2017 at 9:14 PM)
“the ambulance is harmonizing with frankie cOsmos do not forget this” (September 17, 2017 at 12:09 AM)
“Bread w pb and olives. Many olives. / IPA” (September 19, 2017 at 9:50 PM)
“*tomato emoji* *tomato emoji* *tomato emoji* *tomato emoji*” (October 26, 2017 at 11:34 PM)
“Bananas international trading company” (September 22, 2017 at 10:15 PM)
“Instagram some pasta / a penne for your thoughts” (October 17, 2017 at 12:14 AM)