Stop Threatening Your Daughter’s Boyfriends
It’s a very common occurrence, when a girl starts dating a guy, brother or uncle will threaten the man with, “If you ever hurt her…” and then describe some sort of very specific and oftentimes creative punishment to scare him off from ever harming her, psychologically or physically.
I have no doubt in my mind this is an entirely well-intentioned act. After all, who wants a loved one hurt; especially, someone you have nurtured and taken care of?
Unfortunately, this philosophy only reinforces patriarchal notions that are harmful to men and women. Although it is perfectly natural to feel protective over someone you love, this feeling also makes it a man’s responsibility to take care of and protect the girl, merely because she is female. Women are more vulnerable. However, if anything, a woman should be raised to believe she can protect herself, and set her own boundaries without a male authority figure dictating for her.
If anyone (male or female) hurts someone you love (male or female) then it is your problem too, merely because you love them and because you are compassionate. It’s true, people should be able to ask for help, always, from people they love, although this doesn’t necessarily mean they always get it. On the other hand, threatening violence from the offset with someone who wants to court your daughter is patronizing, rather silly, an old-fashioned way of thinking. Such thinking also doesn’t make it okay to go hunt someone down vigilante-style, because frankly, how will going to prison help anyone?
Want to protect your daughters? Raise them to be kick-ass, confident women who demand respect and aren’t shy about stating their personal boundaries.