Our Fathers, Ourselves
Daughters, Fathers, and The Changing American Family
Published by Rodale, 2011
About the Book
Our Fathers, Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers and the Changing American Family explores the vibrant relationship between today's daughters and their fathers, a relationship I have watched closely as it evolved between my own daughter and my husband. Watching my daughter blossom under her dad's attention and guidance, I became increasingly curious about how other younger women have been shaped by their relationships with their fathers. In my new book, I set out to find the answers.
I interviewed seventy-five women (most of whom were between the ages of nineteen and forty-two), across the country, over the telephone and in person. I spoke with college students, lawyers, teachers, CEOs, a physicist, and a yoga instructor; Protestants, Catholics, Jews, a Hindu and a Muslim; White, Black, Asian, and mixed-race women; the daughter of a European royal family, and an Ivy-league business school graduate whose father could neither read nor write. I invited them to speak from the heart about their fathers, their families and themselves. As they did, I listened as they contemplated aloud these relationships forcefully, wistfully, and sometimes tearfully. Through it all, I listened for chords that either resonated with or differed from our society and culture’s received received wisdom about what fathers and daughters should mean and actually do mean to each other.
What I heard surprised me, reassured me, and occasionally shocked me. I heard about fathers who imbued their daughters with moxie and confidence, and fathers who hobbled their daughters' independence. I heard what young women valued in their connections with their fathers, and what they wished were different. Most of all, I heard the commitment that young women feel toward their fathers, and their eagerness to stay connected to the men who were among the first loves in their lives.
More: A Conversation with Dr. Peggy Drexler.
Praise for Our Fathers, Ourselves
“A fascinating journey into the world of fathers and daughters - a place at once familiar and fraught with mystery. Writing with insight and emotion, Peggy Drexler has delivered an operating manual for father-daughter relationships that is also a tender reflection on the loss of her own father. Our Fathers, Ourselves will give you a whole new understanding of the man you call Dad - or the man your children call Dad.”
—Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group
“This is a book I could have used growing up. Like a lot of daughters, I would occasionally look at my father and ask myself: ‘who is this man?’ Peggy Drexler has combined research, her own curiosity and the stories of fascinating women in search of an answer. She helps us break through the assumptions, hopes and myths to discover the real man behind them.”
“I've spent my career working to understand families—both as a clinician and a teacher. This book has expanded my thinking and forced me to reevaluate and question my assumptions. In a generation, fathers have gone from provider, protector and lord of the household to a role in search of definition. Studies show that fathers are more involved in the lives of children—but as a supporter and advisor, not a law-giver. The numbers show that women are storming the gates of possibility—giving them more in common with the world of their fathers. This book is a valuable guide for any daughter and father, as families continue to pass through a time of incredible change.”
—Linda Carter, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Director, Family Studies Program at New York University Child Study Center.
“This book struck a chord because I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the love and support of my dad. So much of who I am and how I approach life, I learned from him. I recommend this book to anyone interested in this special relationship between fathers and daughters.”
“Peggy Drexler maps the largely unexplored regions of father-daughter relationships in this insightful and heartfelt book. In scenes both of pain and joy she explores the ancient dance of love and longing between fathers and daughters. If you've been a father or a daughter, or even watched such a relationship play itself out, you'll want to read this book.”
“Dr. Peggy Drexler sheds new light on preconceived notions of parenting roles. It's a fascinating look into how our fathers influence us. A must-read for any parent and all daughters.”
—Tory Burch, founder and CEO, Tory Burch LLC.
“A compelling, passionate argument for the influence of fathers on girls' confidence and self-esteem. In these moving and insightful profiles, readers learn from role models (the good and the bad) about what it means to be a father. Drexler has upended a powerful stereotype about the trivial role of dads and fills a crucial hole in the research on girls and families.”
—Rachel Simmons, author, Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl.
“We watch our young daughter, and we see the wonderful and special connection she is forming with dad. You have to wonder. Where will that connection take them? What does it mean to who and what she’ll become? In the most personal ways, Our Fathers Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers and the Changing American Family is a guide to both the wonders and the worries of what it means to be father and daughter.”
—Kate and Andy Spade, founders of Kate Spade and Jack Spade.
“This book will help you build a stronger, better relationship with dad--and in the process give you a resource you might not even know you have. Sometimes the most valuable things are hidden in plain sight.”
—Laurie David, author, The Family Dinner, television and film producer including the 2006 Academy Award Winner An Inconvenient Truth.
“As one of three girls with a father whom we loved and revered, I lapped up every word of Drexler's book as it validated the very important role father's play in shaping so many facets of their daughters lives. Kudos to Drexler for researching this undermined area of human interaction.”
—Lee Woodruff, author, Perfectly Imperfect
Earlier books by Dr. Peggy Drexler …
Raising Boys Without Men
How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men
Published by Rodale, 2005