This morning I woke to find a very disturbing video on my Facebook wall. The headline reads “Dad uses Facebook to teach daughter a lesson.” What is the lesson? Misogyny is alive and well in the United States. Dad hates women.
What boggles my mind the most is that this man feels that there is nothing wrong with his misogynistic behavior towards his 15 year old daughter, her privacy, and her computer. Further mind boggling is that people are cheering the dad on for teaching her this valuable lesson.
Let me break down the most disturbing elements of this this video – not withstanding daddy’s condescending, misogynistic hissy fit towards his daughter.
Firstly, this kind of speech from a teen girl is normal and natural. Rebellion of any kind is part and parcel to teen life. There is nothing “wrong” with Hanna. She’s 15 fucking years old. Hello?!?
Secondly, speech is protected in the U.S. by The Constitution. Regardless of dad’s opinion, Hanna’s speech is protected. And frankly – the post was never intended for dad’s eyes. In either case, it’s none of dad’s business what she says about him. This is America, and we are entitled to express our opinions – even about our parents.
Parents who respect their children’s autonomy and engage them in discussions rather than demeaning rants will have children who are better psychologically adjusted for negotiating relationships.The fact that daddy takes it personally tells me that he is religious, insecure, has limited communication skills, limited emotional IQ, and and that he doesn’t respect his daughter’s boundaries. And I’m sure that’s true in other areas of her life – not just when it comes to technology.
The only reason he is upset is because he thinks his daughter’s communications are a reflection of him. In fact they are. They show what an ignorant, closed minded, humiliation oriented, misogynistic father he really is – behind closed doors.
Of course his ideas about how young girls are to behave flow from religious thinking. Let’s step out of the dark ages in our thinking about girls. This is the kind of public humiliation is the stuff that makes children commit suicide. I know, I was there at one time. My step mother used to love to humiliate me when I was a teen. I almost committed suicide on three different occasions.
It makes me ask if this is that the dad’s intention here? I wonder. If something bad comes out of this for Hanna, I assert dad must be held accountable.
Furthermore, in the age of technology, the computer, the phone, the tablet are all extensions of our brains. This dad then – metaphorically – just shot his daughter in the head. Watching her computer getting shot is going to be very, very disturbing to Hanna. If we were to monitor her brain, we would see that she sees the computer as an extension of self, and that self is being killed. Talk about violation and humiliation.
I felt threatened in my body watching the dad shoot the computer. I felt his rage. I felt his needing to “teach her a lesson.” Subtext, “if you get too far out of line, I will shoot you in your real head next.” With hollow bullets (aren’t those illegal?).
Threats to wellbeing are not acceptable against children. I know that the bible tells us when it’s OK to stone our children to death, but that’s not the world we live in any more. It’s not acceptable to threaten our daughters with a “boot up her ass” or a bullet to her head.
As far as I’m concerned, the behavior of this father towards his daughter is no different from any other religious fundamentalist treatment of women. The ancient views of how “good” women are supposed to behave are appalling. Life has changed in the last 2500 years. Religion informing us about how to deal with teenagers is like trying to get to Hawaii in a canoe. Yes, that’s how our ancestors did it, but we have invented airplanes since then.
There is hard science behind the teenage brain. Shame and humiliation are not the answer. Violence towards our teens or their stuff is not the answer.
The bottom line: breaking news – parents think teens are “lazy”. Wow. Notify the State Department.