'Feminist Father' Shirt Worn by NJ Dad Goes Viral

The viral image. Photo: Tumblr/Kristine Speare
The viral image. Photo: Tumblr/Kristine Speare

A photo of a dad in a “Feminist Father” polo shirt has gone swiftly viral on Tumblr, where it’s been liked and shared more than 196,000 times since being posted by the man's proud daughter on Sunday.

"He's very supportive of me and the decisions I make for myself; he cares so much about me and my passion for feminism," Kristine Speare, 20, tells Yahoo Shine through a Twitter message regarding her father, Chuck, a restaurant owner in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. "He completely agrees with the shirt's message."

The buzzed-about black shirt — available on Zazzle for $48.90 — is emblazoned, on its back, with the following warning:

“Rules for dating my daughter
1. I don’t make the rules
2. You don’t make the rules 
3. She makes the rules 
4. Her body, her rules 
Feminist Father”

Speare, a part-time Burlington County College student who also works in her dad's restaurant, describes herself on Twitter as a “feminist, coffee addict, book lover." She is fond of posting playfully empowered selfies, tweeted several messages using the popular #YesAllWomen hashtag, and offered this thought recently: “How does what I do with my body in any way affect you? Oh right, it doesn’t.” The image of her dad in the shirt was retweeted by Caitlin Stasey, an Australian TV star known for her sexually-themed tweets, whose 39.5 thousand followers no doubt helped boost Speare's image into going viral. The two had following exchange:

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The image also got a lot of mileage from RH Reality Check, which posted it to its Facebook page, inspiring more than 14,000 likes and 20,000 shares. There were several critics in the mix, with one noting, “What a terrible way to parent. Kids need rules and boundaries set for them.” That was reminiscent of a January story posted on conservative opinion website PJ Media, in which a columnist, who saw an image of this shirt on Facebook, railed against its message, calling it "pathetic and disturbing" and "signaling to every male predator out there that his daughter is available for victimization."

But a great many of the Facebook commenters were supportive of Speare's father this week, including a dad who chimed in with this: “My 16 year old's new boyfriend the other day asked my permission to date my daughter, and I told him basically the same thing. I trust her to do the right thing, and she trusts me to back her up.” 

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