WHY TEEN GIRLS SEEK ABUSE
by Marc H. Rudov
April 28, 2008
Periodically, I see an article about teen girls “surviving” after terminating their relationships with abusive boyfriends. A good example is one that appeared on 12.12.07 in the San Jose Mercury News. Not one word about why the girl entered the bad relationship, why she found her boyfriend’s abusive behavior attractive, and why she went back to him after breaking it off. No, the only message is: boys are controlling villains; girls are passive victims. And, that’s why teen girls learn nothing from such articles — namely, why they seek abuse in the first place.
Laying the blame for women’s ills at the doorstep of men is a familiar, counterproductive tool of feminism. Quite simply, a girl who is attracted to a controlling boyfriend is looking for something: control. She wants to be controlled. She is weak and insecure. The kind of boy attracted to her passivity and diffidence is also weak; that’s why he wants to control her. They are matching puzzle pieces. The need to control another person, or to be controlled by another person, is born from insecurity — the acorn that produces the oak of abuse.
Three strong factors contribute to a girl’s attitude about the role of men in her life: societal messages about males, her father’s power in the family, and her definition of self-worth. Interestingly, a girl who concludes, based on these three factors, that men are weak servants, will either repeat her mother’s domineering pattern of pairing up with a weak man or hunger for a controlling one — polar-opposite reactions, neither healthy, that we see all the time.
Society blasts girls with messages of misandry. One from a Sony TV commercial shows the father as a horse’s ass. Another from the Washington Post, in a comic strip, depicts the father as a buffoon. How about Littlewood’s, a British retailer, running a TV commercial that promises physical harm to any man who buys a woman the wrong Christmas gift? These messages of hatred affect how girls, in childhood and adolescence, perceive men and boys. If no forces exist at home or in school to counter such misandry, girls will accept it as reality. And, they do. They really do.
In a girl’s family, if her father is weak or noncustodial, or both, she will see her mother in total, albeit dysfunctional, control — giving her a distorted view of female power. It is common for that mother to badmouth the weak father — whether he is custodial or not. But, just because a girl views her father with contempt as a diminshed figure does not negate her need or desire for a strong man. It is natural for a girl to need a strong father. If her father is weak or not present, she will find his substitute somewhere. Alas, she doesn’t understand the real definition of strong. How could she? To her, controlling is strong.
In “If Women Were Happy,” I wrote that many girls are raised to believe that happiness is a goal, derived from externalities like clothing, jewelry, plastic surgery, money, and male attention. Parents who impart such disempowering messages to their daughters are ruining them. Happiness is not a goal; it’s a byproduct of personal achievement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a woman exclaim: “I need you to buy me dinner, to hold doors for me, to treat me like a lady — because it makes me feel special and feminine.” How pathetic. If she doesn’t already feel special and feminine, there’s nothing I can do for her. A woman who has never treated a man to a night on the town, at her expense, at her insistence, doesn’t understand the meaning of giving, of empowerment. Insecure women, who define their femininity by how much they receive, are the ones most attracted to domineering men.
The NoNonsense Bottom Line
A girl is totally responsible for the boys she attracts and the boys with whom she becomes involved. We have seen that exposing a girl to society’s negative messages about men, a weak father, and the lie of self-actualization through male attention is akin to implanting in her the acorn of insecurity, which easily can grow into the oak of abuse. If a girl pairs up with a controlling boy, it’s because she wants to be controlled. It’s that simple.
On the other hand, teaching a girl to be a strong, independent, empowered, financially reciprocating admirer of boys and men will help her attract, and be attracted to, boys and men who are likewise strong, independent, empowered, financially reciprocating admirers of girls and women. Nobody can be strong and a victim simultaneously.
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The typical “victimhood” articles never discuss the root cause of why teen girls seek abuse in the first place. These articles are doing girls a giant disservice by not teaching them to take personal responsibility for their choices. Teen girls seek — and find — abuse because they’re weak and insecure, not because boys are bad. So, to give speeches and write articles about bad male behavior is disingenuous and unhelpful. It’s time for girls, parents, and the media to get it right.
© 2008 - Marc H. Rudov - All Rights Reserved