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.