Tag Archives: girls don’t do that

Dad Said “No Way.” I Did It Anyway.

“Learning is always rebellion… Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.”

—Margaret Lee Runbeck

Today’s story is contributed by Pamela P.

Everything Dad said I couldn’t do, I did. I was determined to prove him wrong, to be my own kid.

Athletics — “girls don’t do that,” said Dad. Other “no ways.” Boys. Bikes. Electronics. Pants. I did them anyway. All the things that “girls didn’t (or shouldn’t) do,” I would jubilantly embrace.
no way dad

Pamela’s dad, Aquiles, as a young man

My family is Chilean; we came here when I was 3, fleeing Pinochet as political refugees. America didn’t soften Dad. He was — and is — the stereotypical Latino man (and dad). Overprotective. Authoritarian. Rigid. Sexist. And racist, too.

Dad was obsessed with sheltering his “little girl” from the ways of a land strange to him, but so comfortable, a perfect home to her. He was doing his best (I know now) but he was also driving me crazy.

(You can probably tell, I resented my father growing up. Today I am exactly what he was not — an artist, a progressive, an activist — he embodied everything I would come to abhor.)

My parents would later return to Chile (the States weren’t for them). My sister and I, as adults, stayed on. READ MORE