The old cliché of the overprotective dad is less funny in real life, as Michael Canaii recently found out.
Our culture is saturated with the image of the overbearing, overprotective, shotgun-toting father. The awkward and usually terrified boy trembling under the firm disapproving gaze, while the daughter looks on completely oblivious to the blatant intimidation going on right in front of her. We laugh as the scenario plays out over and over in movies and television shows. But what these images actually play a part in doing is perpetuating the belief that men, especially fathers and brothers, are expected to be the enforcers of sexual mores in our society, and that violence is stereotypically the default mode of enforcement. So what happens when a real life father discovers his real life teenage daughter is sexually active?
For New York City father Michael Canaii, the answer to that question was to show up at his daughter’s high school last week armed with a chain demanding to know “who’s fucking my daughter” and causing quite an uproar. As the New York Post reported, Mr. Canaii was arrested without anyone being harmed, as is appropriate in a situation such as this. This type of behavior cannot be condoned. However, one can’t help but wonder how this father can be held accountable for doing exactly what society expects of him when confronted with the reality of his teenage daughter having sex. Outdated ideas about sex, violence, and gender actually hurt people in the real world.