People are debating whether fathers using the term 'girl dad' is problematic

People are debating whether fathers using the term 'girl dad' is problematic
Paul Kane / Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

People are debating whether or not celebrity fathers calling themselves 'girl dads' is problematic.

The controversy was sparked by Alex Ohanian, husband of Serena Williams, sporting a 'girl dad' mask while supporting his wife at the US Open with his daughter, Olympia.

The mask may have been a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant who also used the phrase to celebrate his own daughters.

Some people praised Ohanian for calling himself a 'girl dad'.

But others see the term as unnecessarily gendered.

How is a 'girl dad' any different from a 'dad'?

It's not just celebrities who use 'girl dad'.

The term seems to be particularly popular when fathers undertake traditionally male-dominated activities with their daughters.

Some people have also used the hashtag in tweets about wanting to protect their daughter's modesty or stop them from growing up too quickly, which are super weird and outdated tropes.

The Washington Post's Rebecca Hains pointed out that, like #GirlPower, #GirlDad only exists because of the existence of gender stereotypes.

#BoyDad doesn't have quite the same reach...

Most people using the #GirlDad hashtag have positive intentions. Like Kobe Bryant, they want to empower their daughters and prove that they're just as capable and important as their sons.

But children are not defined by their gender. Putting too many expectations on them too early can be damaging.

And empowering women is more than just a trendy hashtag or a slogan on a mask.

#GirlDad can only ever be the beginning of truly uplifting your daughter.

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