Entitlement & Punishment

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I got a request to blog on this little video today. It features a rich man giving his daughter a new red Saab for her birthday. She throws a hissy fit because the car is not blue. The girl is way over the top, literally almost hysterical. The video is presented as a warning to guys that “She might be decent looking but the maintenance will kill you.”

I found the girl’s behavior appalling. But even more disgusting to me were the comments made by people who’d watched the video. Most of them wanted to punish her with violence and/or rape for her ingratitude.

What you’re really looking at in this video is entitlement. The girl feels entitled to a blue Saab. Daddy and the brother holding the camera both seem to be well acquainted with her sense of entitlement. Gee, one might even question whether Daddy in his role as parent has nurtured and fostered the sense of entitlement! He’s certainly doing nothing to curtail it. It is, after all, easier to give kids stuff than to teach them values.

And in the thread below, you’re seeing a different entitlement: the right to punish the female in any situation, without examining the dynamics any further. Not coincidentally, rapists get their behavior excused by the very same people who think spoiled rich girls need someone to “f— some sense into her”, as one commenter put it. I do hope the girl learns at some point that she can do something with her life that will enable her to buy her own damn blue Saab… but gee, I don’t think violence is going to help her see that.

Without negating the girl’s responsibility for her own actions or values, no matter what her family may have contributed, I find myself reminded of the old Thomas Dolby song “Airhead”, which reminds everyone listening at the end: “It was us made her that way.” We teach boys they’re entitled to respect if they earn it; we teach girls they’re entitled to stuff. We teach boys they’re entitled to recognition if they earn it; we teach girls they’re entitled to marry accomplished men if they keep slim enough. This girl is behaving within the parameters set for her by the patriarchy, which would ultimately rather face a woman who throws hissy fits than one who calmly, authoritatively, and straightforwardly does what it takes to her own blue Saab. After all, if this girl goes to college or into the military to make something of herself, her chances of being raped will double – as punishment for her intrusion into male territory. Damned if we play the game, damned if we don’t.

I was raised very much the opposite of this girl, so I know it can be done. I was taught to appreciate what I have/receive, to appraise what I’ve earned realistically, and to make cogent, calm, authoritative arguments when I’m not getting what I believe I’ve earned. As a result, I scare the hell out of most people simply because I’m an unknown. They’re used to feeling manipulated by women; they’re not used to that feeling of their will bending to common sense unless the common sense is coming from a man. And they try to punish me, too.

Don’t let the patriarchy fool you. They’d rather put up with a few of this girl than women who compete with men to earn their own Saab. Partly because she’s less threatening – after all, how hard is it to avoid people like her? But mostly because they enjoy having someone around to punish.

Comments

  1. says

    I also didn’t see any comments (on my admittedly brief skim – EW) taking the son to task for his whiny attitude at the beginning of the clip, or for his repeated lying about whether the camera is off or not.

    I guess some kinds of bad behavior are more worth punishing by “a good ass fuckin with someone peeing in her butt!!!!!” than others.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    No, one person said the son was “my hero” for doing that. The whole thing quickly degraded into a woman-punishment fest.

    The sad thing is, I look at that clip and I see three people I would not want to associate with, in dating or any other capacity. This is not a nice family. This is not a psychologically healthy family. I don’t like the father or the son any better than the girl. And I see a prime example of what’s wrong with a lot of families in my region of the US. I see a potential for conversation about how kids NEED boundaries and values, and giving them cars is no substitute for that.

    But all these particular commenters see is a female that’s gotten out of line.

  3. SunlessNick says

    I can’t get to the page from here, so I can’t see the comments, but they sound nauseating just from the description.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’ll quote a few here for you:

    Pound it: Yah shes a bitch but Id throw it in her ass

    That’s one of the more polite ones.

    but if it isnt a setup then someone should have shotgunned her right there.

    Nice!

    I am going to change my job into an asassin. Not because of the money, but of the thrill of killing that fucking bitch…SATAN! Fucking bitch.. Slut, bitch, whore, whitetrash, asshole, spoiled fuck….

    Even one of the other commenters told this one to calm down.

    Fucken grow up and get screwed till pussy becomes blue.

    These are definitely NOT people who have lives outside the internet. Or even ON the internet.

    I know after a while they’re just trying to out-shock each other and it’s all hyperbole. But I’m trying to imagine if instead of a white girl we had a Jewish or other-than-white person on here. Would they be hurling out the ethnic slurs are comfortably as they hurl out the gender slurs? Nah… even if they think racial slurs are fine, they know others don’t. But gender slurs? Well, all races agree women are scary and should be terrorized! So it’s okay!

  5. says

    I’d bet on “in combination with”, but yeah – people who are openly advocating rape as a corrective measure to a woman’s behavior are not gonna be shy about using racial slurs.

    It’s the more highbrow bloggers and public commentators who very subtly advocate sexual violence as correction who try their damnedest to use language that will reveal their many-layered hatefullness.

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’ll take your word on that. I may be thinking more in terms of which words TV allows: “bitch”, “whore”, etc. are suitable condemnations of women for family viewing, but racial slurs are rare and usually presented in the context of showing what a racist a character is.

  7. salla says

    Hi

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I apologise if I sound like an idiot, but I figured I should try contributing to a discussion for once instead of wallowing in my self-consciousness. I’ve gotta say I’m wondering what kind of person buys such an important and expensive gift without finding out what the recipient actually wants.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    Hi Salla! Glad you decided to speak up. I thought your question over and came up with more than one type of person who might do that:

    (1) Someone who grew up in a family where everyone always said they didn’t want anything expensive, but really they did, and you were supposed to magically know that… and they haven’t yet figured out that not everyone plays those mind games.

    (2) Someone who doesn’t really care what the other person wants, and is buying the gift mainly to make himself feel special.

    There are probably others. The first one is someone who could change, if he’s willing; the second is less likely to change, IMO, and if he doesn’t care what his partner wants for a gift, that probably indicates he doesn’t care about what she wants or needs in other aspects of the relationship.

  9. MaggieCat says

    There are also people who just might want to do something extremely generous, and worry that hinting to try and draw out details might spoil the surprise. But those people are also usually more than happy to let you exchange something for say, one in a different colour. ;-) Of course people like that also tend to attract friends and family that would recognize the gift in the spirit it was intended rather than acting like a privileged brat.

    If someone decided to buy me a car, the last thing I’d do would be to complain about the colour, and certainly not to the giver. I’d like to think most people would do the same, rather than turn into the caricature in the commercial, but sadly I’ve known people (of both genders though) who were a lot like that.

  10. J Salem Gourley says

    .I could find only ONE comment on that page that was even remotely fitting of the situation.

    “Is this a joke?: Give me a pink Saab and i’ll keep it. What a bitch? I have a solution. Return, or keep the car for your self and buy her BLUE Geo Metro.”

    That girl has no respect for her family or for her posessions, does she? From a father’s point-of-view, if my daughter had reacted like that to a free car, I’d have taken it back and either traded it for something used/cheaper, or kindly suggested she get a job to purchase her own blue Saab.

    Granted as a humble male, I sometimes miss the point of a woman’s POV, I think I’ve pretty much got it nailed this time, right?

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    Well, if you were her father, I would certainly hope you raised her with better values than that. ;) As far as I’m concerned, the parents of this girl have only themselves to blame.

    The problem is, this video doesn’t represent a gender issue. I’ve known both boys and girls who behave like this girl: that’s what you get when the parents can’t be bothered to teach values. It’s nothing to do with gender.

    In fact, I’ve known more than a few men who were raised to think they were God’s gift and the entire world existed only for their pleasure, and they put this girl in the shade. Seriously. I’m talking about 40-60 year old men throwing dishes because a lovely supper wasn’t quite perfect.

    So what interested me about the video was not the girl in it but rather the audience’s reaction. For whining, they feel a girl deserves rape. I wonder what they think of a video where a man beats up a girlfriend or wife for not keeping the home spotless. I mean, if the punishment for whining is rape, the punishment for not keeping the house spotless should probably be death!

    Yes, I’m being facetious, but one really has to wonder if the commenters in that thread were raised any better than that girl.

  12. J Salem Gourley says

    I was a bit taken aback (putting it mildly) by the responses as well. Maybe it’s just that I’m a sane, balanced individual, but I’d never consider rape as punishment for an outburst like that. That’s why I highlighted the only comment approaching suitable. Take the car away, don’t physically assault. That’s sheer…well, I can’t think of the proper words for it, in all honesty.

    I think the male example you bring up is quite valid. There are men like that. Fortunately, I come from a line of Irish-raised males brought up to respect people regardless of gender, and respect even more a strong woman. My parents wouldn’t have tolerated that sort of behaviour from me, and I wouldn’t tolerate it from a son or daughter.

  13. Jennifer Kesler says

    I agree that the commenter you quoted gave a fair assessment of the situation.

    I actually come from a long line of mind-bogglingly selfish, entitled, even abusive people – on both sides. Through some minor miracle, my mother decided very early on not to be like the rest of them, and developed values, respect for others and calm assertion skills, which she taught to me.

  14. Jennifer Kesler says

    Yes, absolutely. The brother mentions that in the video, too. That’s totally a solution to the problem, and I’m sure the father can afford someone who would do a factory-quality job.

  15. Jo says

    Thanks for posting this, although I did have a hard time watching it. From the sound of it (I couldn’t make myself read all 50 pages of comments) no one bothered to pay attention to the father trying to convince the girl that the car he bought was just as good as what she wanted, and therefore WAS what she wanted.

    Yet another man telling a woman that she doesn’t really know what she wants, let him choose for her.

    Truly a sad situation. And the brother lied, what, 6 times, saying the camera was off?

    *sigh*

    But thanks anyway.

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