cover image Daddy Issues

Daddy Issues

Katherine Angel. Verso, $12.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-83976-437-0

This incisive analysis by Angel (Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again) contemplates the intersection of fatherhood with toxic masculinity and patriarchy. Noting that “fathers wield troubling power, whether they like it or not,” Angel draws on literature, film, and current events to explore the nature of patriarchal authority within families. She turns the “daddy issues” trope on its head, criticizing it for insinuating that women’s romantic troubles with men stem from strained relationships with their fathers. Instead, she asks, “What of the father’s daughter issues?” Examining the films Meet the Parents and the 1991 Father of the Bride remake, the author observes that fathers’ hostility toward their daughters’ male suitors acts as a type of control over their sexual and romantic lives. The author also unpacks real-world examples, concluding that Ivanka Trump’s defenses of her father whitewash his misogynistic comments, and that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court exposed the limits of truth-telling in fighting abuse. Effortlessly moving from the novels of Virginia Woolf to the theories of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, Angel demonstrates a sharp intellectual acuity in her elucidation of the cultural mythos surrounding “daddies.” The result is a valuable contribution to the feminist understanding of fatherhood. (June)