Abuse as old as time: Why do movies romanticize Stockholm Syndrome?

Sending girls the message that an abusive situation can turn into a love story if they just stick it out and show compassion is a dangerous game.

There is no shortage of headlines about the kidnapping of young girls — cases like those of Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, and Natascha Kampusch are just a few examples in recent decades. The unsettling thing about many of these stories is that, often, after these young girls are found, victims are hesitant to blame their kidnappers — indeed, they often feel a kind of bond with these men. When Kampusch, who was held in a cellar for eight years and beaten up to 200 times a week by Wolfgang Priklopil (whose aim was to make her love him) found out her captor had killed himself to escape arrest, she cried and said, “I feel more sorry for him — he’s a poor soul; I mourn for him in a certain way.”

Though disturbing, this isn’t uncommon — psychologists call the phenomenon wherein abuse victims bond with their abusers “Stockholm Syndrome.” Victims are vulnerable and can be hesitant to blame their abusers for what they have done. Additionally, there is an undeniably gendered aspect when it comes to this response.

Victims can assume feelings of affection for an abuser or kidnapper to achieve physical or mental safety, though isn’t necessarily a conscious decision. If they are in danger, physically or mentally, being kind to their captors may lessen their chances of being hurt. Eventually, a pattern emerges. Victims are nice to their abusers, the abuser shows an act of kindness, and the victim continues to please their abuser. Over time, these victimized women adopt positive feelings toward their abuser, believing he loves them and maybe even that they love him too.

Another reality is that women have been socialized to see abuse as normal and to be empathic. What is said to be “romantic” is often actually stalking or controlling behaviour. This was recently exemplified in the popular movie and book series, Fifty Shades of Grey. This box office hit tells the story of a college student who stumbles into a “kinky” relationship with a successful business man. Okay, so that’s one way of putting it… An alternative perspective: a naive young woman is manipulated into accepting a creepy, controlling, BDSM-style relationship by a psychopath.

Time and time again, we see women — both in movies and in real life — supporting and loving their male partners or relatives despite abusive behaviour. Women often develop a caretaker mentality, due to the way society understands and teaches children about their gendered roles, and abusers take advantage. Frequently, women don’t even recognize they were experiencing abuse until after they’ve extricated themselves and had some time to process. It is confusing to understand or believe that a person who claims to love you or sometimes behaves in a caring, compassionate way towards you, is also someone who is abusing you.

Watching movies about kidnappings or inappropriate relationships with adults can give girls unrealistic ideas about these situations. These movies, many of them glorified true stories, offer examples of abusive relationships that don’t look so bad and often have a happy ending. Young girls are led to believe that being kidnapped or engaging in a relationship with an older man who cares for, protects, and supports them in certain ways can lead to a “happily ever after” -type love story.

Men who abuse children generally tell victims that what is going on is perfectly fine. Movies that glorify or downplay inappropriate and abusive relationships reinforce this. Girls may come to believe inappropriate behaviour from male authority figures like teachers, coaches, and bosses is not only okay, but romantic.

The world was a-twitter with the release of the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, but no matter how modernized, it is still a story of a young girl falling for her kidnapper. Indeed it is a tale as old as time — one that is retold to girls over and over. From the original fairy tale discovered by Charles Perrault to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film version, La Belle et la Bête, to Disney’s animated musical production, Western culture doesn’t want to let this one go.

We may think we’ve moved past these regressive storylines today, but Disney’s 2017 release of Beauty and the Beast isn’t starkly different from past versions. This time, we are to believe the story has been updated, as Belle is played by supposed feminist icon, Emma Watson. But, step outside the hoopla, and it’s not hard to see this is still the same story of abuse.

Belle isn’t kidnapped, technically — she chooses to venture into the Beast’s castle. Nonetheless, she ends up living with him against her will. She offers herself to the Beast in place of her father, who was being held prisoner after accidentally stumbling into the castle while on a horseback ride through the woods. In the animated version, Belle pushes her father out of the beast’s dungeon and locks herself in instead. Despite small differences between Disney’s two versions, the same theme is present in both — Belle must sacrifice her own freedom for someone else’s benefit and conform to a beast’s rules.

In order for the story to work, both characters have to change. The Beast must transform to love Belle, and Belle must transform to look past his ugliness and initial cruelty to appreciate the care he gives her. And that’s where, from a feminist perspective, it all falls apart. His transformation and love for her suggests that compassion can change abusive men and that, to stop cruel or controlling behaviour, women should just be persistent and keep on loving their abuser. The message that girls and women should look past the terrible things they see in partners, abusers, or kidnappers is a dangerous one, as females are already socialized to accept abusive behaviour and male violence, because “boys will be boys.” The idea that “sticking it out” will change a man and that “true love” means staying and believing a man will change just reinforces that message.

She may be strong-willed, but Belle must do as the Beast says in order to stay safe in an unknown and possibly dangerous place. That she falls in love with him despite this just romanticizes an abusive situation. By presenting Belle’s character in this modern version as a feminist, we further reinforce this message.

Parents — and Disney lovers — want to see the good in this film, and there is some. Belle loves reading, is rebellious, isn’t spoiled, and she cares deeply for her family and father. But she also constantly sacrifices herself for the men around her. Though her father is less complicit in this one than Disney’s animated version, Belle is tasked with the sexist role of caretaker for him.

Beauty and the Beast isn’t the first movie to romanticize kidnapping stories. In 1921, the famous romantic lead Rudolf Valentino in The Sheik kidnaps and mistreats a woman, who falls in love with him by the end. It’s billed as a romance.

Many young feminists say V for Vendetta, a box office hit, is a favourite film. In it, a Svengali-like character kidnaps and tortures the main character, Evey, to build her into the heroine she will later become. Despite his treatment of her, Evey remains loyal to V, frequently defending him, and returning to him of her own free will. Surprisingly, we’ve become so accustomed to this storyline that many people call this film a romance.

These stories perpetuate dangerous myths that can lead girls and young women not to understand the difference between love and abuse. A recent story out of Tennessee demonstrates as much. Tad Cummins, a 50-year-old teacher, kidnapped his 15-year-old student, Elizabeth Thomas, who was convinced they were in love. Cummins’ wife noted that she had seen the two getting close, and students had also noticed the two having “overly friendly” moments. It was later revealed that the two had been exchanging love letters. A Thomas family rep described Cummins as a “classic predator” who groomed Thomas to run off with him. Even after they were caught and Cummins was facing kidnapping charges, Thomas claimed she was “still in love” with her abuser.

We see predatorial male characters in films time and time again, but don’t always realize it. What’s perhaps most disturbing about these films is how successful they are. As a culture, we love this storyline. The Sheik is considered a classic, V for Vendetta is a cult favourite, 50 Shades of Grey is the fourth highest grossing R-rated film of all-time, and the most recent version of Beauty and the Beast broke box office records, pulling in $63.8 million its opening weekend.

Movies did not create Stockholm Syndrome, but stories that glorify abusive relationships aren’t helping. Real stories of kidnapping and abuse don’t end happily ever after. If girls and women envision themselves as these characters and glorify these kinds of situations, they may see themselves as complicit in their own abuse, and stick it out instead of leaving, in the hope that their “beast” will change.

Kate Harveston writes about social justice and human rights issues at Only Slightly Biased. Follow her on Twitter @KateHarveston.

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  • Wren

    I was just discussing this movie with my students today and was telling them about the concept of trauma bonding. I fucking HATE this movie and feel disgusted that Emma Watson dared to try and define it as a feminist movie. Clearly, she does not know a goddamn thing about feminism. I went to the theater to see the new Kong movie when this was opening, and the theater was humming with desperately excited pre-adolescent and adolescent girls rushing to get seats for this shit show. Another generation of girls indoctrinated into the cycle of abuse and submission.

    this is about the animated version, but it’s still on point:

    • Independent Radical

      This video is funny and makes some good points (I put it in my comment without realising that anyone else would post it), but we should remember the following;

      1. It was made by male comedians who have mocked and attacked feminism in other videos. It frustrates me that there are few consistently feminist/progressive comedians online and that most just adopt whatever viewpoint is convenient for a certain video.

      2. While the video is accurate in its claim that Belle is abused by the Beast, it mocks her instead of showing sympathy for her.

      3. It makes use of some pretty sexist stereotypes by calling her a lazy gold-digger. I know she is fictional and the Beast does use wealth to seduce her (with his massive library of books), but I don’t want to counteract one insulting stereotype with another insulting stereotype, especially if it’s implied that some women are naturally greedy gold-diggers and no consideration is given as to why they might behave that way.

      It probably looks like I have no sense of humour (though I swear, I did laugh at this video) but it is important to remember that funny doesn’t equal feminist. I liked the Little Mermaid one better though, since it was more about the bad messages of the film than the character, though they mocked her too.

      • Sabine

        Although I did have a bit of a laugh watching the video (there were some great points and very funny bits!) I do have to agree with you….The woman always ends up being the stoooooopid one and somehow responsible for her own abuse.

      • Wren

        I admit I haven’t seen many of their videos, and I certainly wouldn’t claim it is a feminist perspective. I do, however, appreciate their indiscriminate snark. I can’t stand Belle, or any female Disney character. I find them all cloying, annoying, and insufferable. I have since I was a child. However, this is the fault of Disney, not the comedians.

        The fact that I hate female Disney characters has in no way diminished my compassion for real life non-animated nor CGI enhanced girls and women.

        • Independent Radical

          I think it is reasonable to hate the Disney princess brand. The branding surrounding the films is probably more harmful than the films themselves since no matter what the film is about, the message promoted through the toys is “be pretty and have lots of expensive stuff”. The role of the films is to get people attached to these characters so they’ll buy the toys. The fact that there is so much consumerism around children’s film bugs me.

          So there is a certain kind of Disney princess hate that is justified, hate for the cultural phenomenon, including the fact that so many young girls dress up as princesses and talk about nothing but them. The way it takes over their minds is creepy.

          Hating the characters themselves though, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. They are fictional and therefore have no responsibility for anything. I worry that hatred directed at fictional women trains people to hate women in real life, because unfortunately, in my experience, too many real life women and girls resemble Disney princesses (not least because they dressed up as them so often).

          If you’re used to hating the characters and then you’re surrounded by four year old girls dressed up as them, who continuously talk about them, it is tough not to resent the kids. Then there are the women who dress up (whoops I mean “cosplay”, because when you’re an adult your dress up games are magically more profound) as them for Halloween and other events or talk about wanting to be princesses on their wedding day. This stuff doesn’t totally go away once you’re an adult.

          As I say, the corporate phenomenon is horrible and should be hated, but just because the characters are fictional doesn’t mean that furiously hating them as if they were real and to blame for anything directs attention away from the real problem (corporations) and could influence the way we feel towards real life women (I say this as someone who was into princess hate and finds it difficult to get along with women who are in any way feminine, though I make no apology for hating femininity itself) in the same way that violently abusing fictional women in a video game encourages men to be aggressive towards real women.

          I’m not going to be a liberal and totally condemn hate, but it can be a powerful internal psychological force, so be careful who and what you direct your hatred towards. Nowadays, I try to only hate things that can be held responsible for harm and to hate the system, not its products.

    • Sabine

      It always amuses (or bemuses depending on my mood) me to hear the way Emma Watson is constantly reported as being a “staunch feminist” in the mainstream media. They clearly have about as much idea about what constitutes ACTUAL feminism is as she does….

    • Tired feminist

      Casting Emma Watson for this role also looks a lot like a calculated move to silence feminist criticism, imo.

      • Wren

        Ohhh, good point!

  • Some reactions:
    I don’t think that anyone should ever be shamed for feeling love for another person. I think that love is a good thing and we could use more of it. On the other hand, I do think we could focus a lot more on what healthy boundaries look like. We cannot expect Hollywood to do this, though, since they are really bad at boundaries in general. They put sexualized content (and other bad stuff – dangerous stunts, smoking, etc. etc.) in people’s job descriptions, then make fun of the intelligence of people who do the jobs they wrote the job descriptions for. Even sincere theatre teachers sometimes teach students to not have healthy boundaries, because it’s not artistic. So there’s nothing wrong with loving your abuser, but something wrong with staying in an unsafe situation, because you gotta love yourself, too.

    I would also like to mention that it’s one thing to stand up for yourself, but succeeding in a conflict can be pretty weird. I successfully sued a really bad landlord (he’s appealing but I’m not worried) and felt bad after, because what I was doing wasn’t nice, and I want to be nice. Most people want to be nice. Heck, even the landlord wants to be nice – he just has a really bad idea of what that would look like. So I don’t have any problems with victims feeling bad that their abusers are being punished. I think that’s a natural reaction. It shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing, but it’s a natural reaction when we succeed.

    I’m also not sure about teaching girls that they should always hold out for “good” relationships. I think it’s really important to know what to look for in a relationship, but I’m not sure it’s possible to find perfection in other people. There’s everything we want in a relationship, and then there’s what’s good enough for now, given our other options and our priorities. On the whole, Belle is better off than a lot of her peers. I’m not sure what this sounds like – I am not advocating settling for too little. I’m just wondering if it’s misleading to tell girls to hold out for something that doesn’t exist when they might be happy with a B or C grade relationship. Is this something we should talk about? Like, there are ideals, and then there are good realistic decisions. And then there are bad decisions, and no decisions at all.

    And on another note, I see stories like Beauty and the Beast (and the female equivalent: Donkey Skin) as also possibly being about recovering from PTSD. I’ve felt like the Beast at times, and wondered what it would take for someone to see the human inside.

    I think there are a lot of different things going on here.

    • radwonka

      I don’t think that anyone should ever be shamed for feeling love for
      another person. I think that love is a good thing and we could use more
      of it.”

      Who was shamed?

      • Referring to victims of manipulative psychopaths as naive manipulated victims doesn’t exactly make them look good, does it? I suppose you could read the article either way, but to me it seemed like the love women feel for abusers was considered as unfortunate as the abuse they get.

    • lk

      “I’m also not sure about teaching girls that they should always hold out for “good” relationships. I think it’s really important to know what to look for in a relationship, but I’m not sure it’s possible to find perfection in other people. There’s everything we want in a relationship, and then there’s what’s good enough for now, given our other options and our priorities. ”

      I think women should hold out for good relationships which is very different than seeking perfection (cuz nobody is perfect). I think its healthy for women to have some standard; some things that she should just absolutely not accept in a relationships.

      I think its better to be single (romantically speaking), than it is to just settle for whoever is available.

      “I’m just wondering if it’s misleading to tell girls to hold out for something that doesn’t exist when they might be happy with a B or C grade relationship.”

      What’s wrong with a woman holding out for a man who will treat her with kindness and respect?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Yeah, I don’t understand why the goal is to find a relationship, no matter what. Why not just suggest women/girls only get into relationships if it really seems worth it? Isn’t being single better than being in a crappy relationship with a dude? I mean, why not make our life’s goals something other than finding a relationship with a man?

        • Mmmeee

          Yeah! That’s why I’m not in a relationship for 17 years now and I’m fine. No kids etc…

      • I agree with having minimum standards. I also agree with having ideals. But it would have been helpful for me if people had talked about the difference between the two. Not all of us get the difference up front. And kindness and respect would fall under minimum standards. Not having to explain equality 101 at all or negotiate a healthy relationship would be perfection.

        • Tired feminist

          I don’t think so… it would be unrealistic, that’s clear. But ‘perfection’ goes way beyond that in my definition… it’s not unreasonable to expect that, one day, we should no longer have to explain to every single guy we date how and why we’re human just like them. On the contrary, we should aim for that to be the bedrock of any relationship.

  • Kristen Sheridan

    I’m looking forward to the pending release of a book that is going to beautifully challenge the ridiculous notion of Stockholm Syndrome. While I agree with the problem of media depicting aggression, stalking and other forms of violence as romance; suggesting that women fall for men on the basis of this is ludicrous and distorts the reality of the struggle of womn to survive and uphold dignity in the face of the violence and the consequences for women who receive appalling responses from broader society in their safety and choices. An article about the inherent ableism in this beauty and the beast story would interesting.

    • Hanakai

      Here is a link to a fairly cogent piece that describes and elucidates Stockholm syndrome. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Stockholm+syndrome

      The syndrome is real, it happens, I suspect it is a defense mechanism used by the mind to cope with a situation where an individual’s power has been wholly usurped. Men can display it as well. But it is not common.

      According to FBI analysis of over 1200 hostage incidents, 92% of the hostages did NOT develop Stockholm syndrome.

      I have personally wondered at the strange inexplicable bonds that often exist between abuser and abused. Children who have been severely abused or neglected by horrible monstrous parents still reach out and whine for their parents. And women who have been abused claim to love the abuser and take him back, even when their life is in danger. Maybe life under patriarchy makes the mind so ill that any attention, even abusive attention, is confused with love.

  • FierceMild

    Wren, that was AWESOME! I love this one myself https://youtu.be/Uuk-h2ZYNJU

    • sarah

      lol that’s great. Everything she said is true. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as long as the women is good looking.” is so true and needs to be said more often.

      • Kathleen Lowrey

        God, right? I mean the male version of “Beauty and the Beast” is _Misery_.

        SPOILER: James Caan does not fall in love with Kathy Bates. He kills her.

        funny bonus: for playing the deranged ax-wielding ugly woman of male fantasy, Kathy Bates got an academy award. This is like Eddie Murphy’s joke about a black actor needing a “retarded slave” role to win an Oscar [i know “retarded” is a slur. That is part of the point]

      • Tired feminist

        It’s called “irony”, you boring troll.

        • sarah

          Yes I know.

          • Tired feminist

            Then gtfo.

    • Wren

      Gaahhhaha so many gems in this!! Thanks!

  • Lucia Lola

    By being born female, we are taught that anything male can not just do no wrong, but is their right. This is still going on, but with different packaging.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Males need us to be less so that they can be more.

    There are stories called “captivity stories”, they are about women that were abducted by American Indians when whites first colonized the states. They all are basically the same. A pure, helpless, weak, stupid white woman is stolen by “savages” and raped (or almost raped) when a white male hero rides up and saves her and her purity.

    The implication is that women were always in peril of being abducted, so they needed a white, strong, protective male to defend them. These stories were taken as fact.

    But, according to historians, women were almost never abducted by American Indians. And the few that were, were taken while white guys cowered and hid, and they either ended up freeing themselves or choosing to stay with the American Indians, because they had more freedom that way. Also, the few women that were taken claimed that they were treated very well.

    The males that wrote the stories knew this. But the truth was that women were taking care of themselves, and there was almost no threat, anyway. But males can’t abide us not needing them. They want to be manly, big, strong, virtuous. And apparently, they can’t possess these qualities without crippling us, crushing us, and then saying that weakness is in our nature and we need them.

    We don’t need males. They know this. So they control us out of fear. And that’s going to end up being their undoing.

  • Independent Radical

    Before I nitpick, I will give my complete endorsement to the essence of this article. Thank you for calling out corporate attempts to cash in on feminism, without changing the core essence of their message. I proudly hate femininity in all its forms and don’t want to reform it. I hate the fact that the “princess” label is being expanded to supposedly include all women and girls. This isn’t feminism, it’s marketing (in fact the liberal concept of “inclusion” seems a lot like a marketing strategy to me). Sorry, but until capitalism and patriarchy are actually defeated, you can’t be popular and a feminist.

    While I proudly hate princesses (or rather hate the way that the princess “ideal” of obsessing over wealth, prettiness and finding a big strong man to do everything for you is shoved down the throats of young girls), Beauty and the Beast is a particularly repugnant story about forgiving abusers. However (this is where the nitpicking starts), I’m not sure if framing the issue as one of Bella having “Stockholm Syndrome” is the right way to go, for the following reasons.

    1. It puts all the emphasis on the victim and makes her the centre of criticism.

    There are no shortage of YouTube videos made by men who otherwise aren’t feminists that accuse Belle of having Stockholm Syndrome and generally mock and insult her. You’ve probably seen this one but in case you haven’t, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwu8XNTGX5o. It’s funny and it makes some good points, but much of the humour comes from making the audience dislike Belle for supposedly being an arrogant, gold-digger. This is the opposite of promoting sympathy for abuse victims.

    As Nostalgia Chick pointed out in her video on the subject https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syYCO0QVkZo (which dismissed the idea of their being any abuse at all in the relationship and which I therefore strongly disagree with in general), Stockholm Syndrome isn’t actually a diagnosable mental condition (not that the concept of a mental disorder makes much scientific sense or it useful as a way of helping people cope with mental issues) and even if it were, the label is being tossed out as an insult.

    For once I would like to see internet film critics compassionately recommend that female characters who they see as being abused get help and support, instead of attacking them for being poor role models and demanding “strong female characters”, by which they mean, female characters who enthusiastically ask for the same physically aggression instead of being manipulated into it. Say what you will about Anastasia Steel, at least it’s not implied that she naturally enjoys being beaten up (though that is what audiences are coming to see).

    Naive opposition to abuse is a step up from the full on support for it, which good liberal women display. I suspect this is why women who try to change men are so strongly hated by internet males. How dare they expect men to act decently! How dare they not love them as they are and embrace the abuse as sexual empowerment! Should young girls be imitating these all-forgiving women? No, but we shouldn’t be hating them. Especially when the alternative is women who are even more abuse tolerant.

    2. It takes the focus away from the Beast’s abusive behaviour.

    Instead of asking why Belle stays with the Beast and responding to this question by angrily accusing her of Stockholm Syndrome, we should be holding the Beast accountable for his abuse. Thankfully the question of whether the Beast is abusive is easy to answer. He locks her up, threatens to starve her (not that women ever need food in the Disney universe, all she does is briefly taste the dishes) and gets furious when she disobeys him, so obviously he is. Then halfway through the film he suddenly stops being abusive and we the audience are meant to forgive him for his earlier behaviour.

    Though this in no way invalidates the article, I’m disappointed you didn’t touch on the tragic back-story that the Beast was given in the new film (predictably, the supposed update is even worse). The original story of him being a spoilt brat who was never required to show kindness actually did a perfectly good job of explaining why he was a jerk (though it also made Belle responsible for magically turning him into a good person).

    The tragic story of losing his mother and being abused by his father in childhood doesn’t explain why he’s a jerk (though there is relationship between being abused and committing abuse, abusive behaviour is not an unavoidable outcome of an abusive childhood, but instead the result of believing that abuse is normal and justified), it is just meant to make the audience feel sorry for him and excuse his abuse. It’s a heart-string puller rather than a legitimate attempt to explain where abusive comes from (hint, it can in fact come from having a perfectly comfortable childhood in which aggressive, controlling behaviour is rewarded as it would have been for a prince).

    I’m not against trying to redeem men. Many of the attacks directed at women who try to change men are based on the assumption that some men are just born evil and that women should be smart enough to dump them in favour of “good men”, but in reality society shoves masculinity down the throats of all boys and it’s tough to find men who don’t conform to it in some way.

    Most “good” men spend their time pretending to brutally abuse women by playing violent video games and watching pornography and we’re meant to think they are “good” because they don’t do that stuff in real life. Then you have the conservative men who want to benevolently dominate women.

    When there aren’t many genuinely good men out there, trying to turn flawed men into good men seems like a far more productive strategy than trying to find one of the few good men and it isn’t inherently a bad strategy. It just needs to carried out with less unwarranted sympathy and more angry insistence that men change their ways. We need to hold men accountable, which means seeing their
    abuse (instead of women’s flawed attempts to fix it or decision to stay with men despite it) as the core problem.

    3. The plot of the film does everything it can to compel Belle to fall in love with the Beast

    It’s not fair to hate Belle for being with the Beast when convenient plot contrivances make her act nice to him. In the beginning Belle’s father is so sick and vulnerable that she has to sacrifice herself or he will die. Beast responds to her sacrifice (in the animated version) as if it were the first kind act he had ever seen, further reinforcing the idea that Belle is completely responsible for turning the Beast good and she has to.

    Otherwise he will remain a Beast forever and be sad (in the new film she is outright told this, placing even more pressure on her). Then when she is very conveniently attacked by wolves as she tries to run away from the castle, the Beast is injured while fighting them off and she has to bring him back to the castle or he will die. While she does have the option of abandoning the Beast (and her father earlier), that would require a level of ruthlessness that we shouldn’t encourage in real life. The world of the film is set up so that her options are to be completely self-sacrificing or completely selfish with no middle ground, so being the good girl that she is, she chooses to be completely self-sacrificing.

    Then there is the fact that she had no one to support her apart from her father and the Beast. The townspeople are conveniently made into idiots and jerks, who hate reading and intellectualism (which is a quick easy way to appeal to supposed intellectuals with a persecution complex, including the film critics who practically worship the original film). Never mind that in real life the reason some people can read and others can’t is because of economic inequality, not an irrational hatred of books. Whenever impoverished people are given a shot at education they embrace it. This world of the film is completely imaginary.

    The fact that fictional worlds are constructed isn’t a bad thing, but we should remember that what we are dealing with is fiction. Liberal feminists get caught up in the fictional worlds of films and treat them like they are reality by focusing their discussion on the characters as if they were real people and then hating or liking them based on their actions. A much more productive way to analyse films is to ask which assumptions are built into the world (including the plot and the setting) created by those making the film and what is their purpose.

    You’re absolutely right about this film encouraging women to tolerate abuse (though I wouldn’t give them credit for the way they portrayed Belle at the start, since the smart, rebellious women learning that her true purpose in life is to marry a big strong man is a done to death storyline in romances), but it is important to realise that the problem lies with the overall story and not with characters, who aren’t real and therefore can’t cause real harm.

    • Tired feminist

      “Stockholm Syndrome isn’t actually a diagnosable mental condition (not that the concept of a mental disorder makes much scientific sense or it useful as a way of helping people cope with mental issues) and even if it were, the label is being tossed out as an insult.”

      Absolutely. I mean, even my own abuser used it to mock and insult me.

    • Atheist

      So basically:

      If a woman has internalized femininity, she should just stop because women should magically know better than that.

      If a man has internalized masculinity, we must redeem him because Patriarchy hurts males too.

      No. I don’t think it’s women’s job to change men. It’s men’s job to change themselves. Asking women to take time out of their own lives to rehabilitate violent males is something I will never do. First, women have our own lives and emotional well being to think about. We have enough problems without going out of our way to find more. Second, men for the most part do not listen to women or take us seriously at all. I would never ask another woman to put herself in a position where she’ll just be castigated and abused.

      I would rather reserve my gynergy for women who want to be free, rather than wasting my efforts on misogynists who don’t want to stop shitting on women (male OR female).

      • Independent Radical

        “If a woman has internalized femininity, she should just stop because women should magically know better than that.”

        That is actually the idea that I’m arguing against. Women who try to redeem abusive men by being nice and sweet have internalised femininity. Liberal men and so-called feminists hate and blame them for being “weak women” and tell them they should just be “strong” or “dump that asshole” (even if in real life, it might lead to the woman or her children being murdered), instead of sympathising with them.

        I’m definitely not trying to encourage women to be nice and sweet to abusive men. I’m just saying don’t hate the women who are. They haven’t done anything wrong.

        I also think there are ways to try to fix men without being submissive and feminine or playing a caregiver role. Whenever feminists say “men shouldn’t rape”, “men shouldn’t beat women”, “men shouldn’t pay for sex”, “men shouldn’t consume pornography” they are trying to fix men. Saying men can’t be fixed, means accepting all these horrible behaviours. When liberals hate women for trying to “fix” men, they are hating them because they dared to hold men to higher standards. They don’t want Belle or Anastasia Steele (for example) to angrily fight against sadomasochism, they want them to happily embrace it.

        If what you meant to say is that I’m being overly critical towards women who enthusiastically embrace abuse and that I should sympathise with them because they’ve “internalised femininity”, then I would point out that all women internalise femininity to some extent. I would rather save my sympathy for women who are unhappy with the system (even if they chose the wrong means to fix it, as I believe women like Anastasia did) instead of those who are happy with it and have a strong investment in it. Sadomasochist women don’t want to give up their orgasms or the gushing praise they receive from the sexual liberation crowd, so I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince them to.

        “If a man has internalized masculinity, we must redeem him because Patriarchy hurts males too.”

        I didn’t say that patriarchy hurts men, but it does make them rape, sexually assault and abuse women, not to mention their consumption of pornography and violent, misogynist media in general. We do want to stop all that and create a society where men don’t behave that way, right? If not, what else is feminism for?

        Redeeming men doesn’t have to mean being nice and sweet to them and caring for their emotional needs. “Redemption” refers to assholes becoming non-assholes and there are different ways it can happen. Men should be held responsible for their abusive behaviours, but this can’t happen if we treat their abusive actions as inevitable and see redemption as impossible. Again, liberal men want us to see redemption as impossible so we’ll tolerate their abuse, not fight against it.

        “No. I don’t think it’s women’s job to change men. It’s men’s job to change themselves.”

        Isn’t one of the goals to change the way men behave towards women, so that they stop abusing women. Any brand of “feminism” that only aims to change women’s behaviours (or worse, their attitudes) isn’t feminism.

        Yes, men should change themselves, but somebody needs to demand that they do. Attacking women who do (despite their naivety) have the correct aim of discouraging the abuse, takes the focus away from abusive men and deprives them of accountability.

        “Asking women to take time out of their own lives to rehabilitate violent males is something I will never do.”

        I’m not endorsing the feminine, caregiver approach to changing men. I don’t think any woman should practise it, I’m just don’t like it when women who adopt this strategy out of understandable desperation get hated by liberals and called “weak”. Most of the liberals making these argument are far more submissive. They beg for abuse instead of reluctantly accepting it because they hope it will end.

        “I would rather reserve my gynergy for women who want to be free, rather
        than wasting my efforts on misogynists who don’t want to stop shitting
        on women (male OR female).”

        Women who try to fix men do want to be free. That is why they are trying to fix men, so they stop abusing them. They have the right goals, but the wrong method. The liberal men and women hating on them have the opposite goals, so I can’t feel any sympathy for them.

        I’m not trying to make women care for or stay in relationships with abusive men men, but should try to understand why they do. If a woman doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship with a man, that’s perfectly fine, but women who do have the following options.

        1. Try to find one of the few men who’s already a “good” man. If you have any standards at all for what counts as a good man you’re going to have a tough time with this one. There are some truly good men out there (those who reject masculinity in all its forms), but there are far more women looking for such men, so most women are not going to succeed via this approach.

        2. Learn to reinterpret abusive behaviours as “love” and “sexuality”. This is the strategy liberals really want women to take. When they say women like Anastasia should find a “good man”, they mean a man who only beats them with their consent. If the goal is to stop male aggression, this option obviously has no chance of achieving that aim.

        3. Find a flawed man and try to make him into a better man. If you want a romantic relationship with a man (it’s totally fine if you don’t) and the first two options don’t work for you, this is your only other option. It’s high risk (especially if you take the approach of being all sweet and caring), but it’s less idiotic than option 2 and if you’re desperate and not able to take option 1, it will seem like your best option.

        We should always try to remember the social conditions that push unwilling women into behaviours that we consider “anti-feminist”. It’s the women who chose to be abuse and claim they are full of agency and above social influence who drive me nuts.

  • calabasa

    This was a great article. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks, Kate.

    I’m just going to post this link again: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships/2011/10/eroticizing-dominance-grooming-sexual-predatory-behaviors-as-norms/

    This really hits home for me.

    My abuser used sexual assault to groom me. He somehow knew it would be the perfect way to condition me to return to him. A simple breakup would not do; he quickly realized this when I refused his friendship, and was fine after our breakup. I rightly told him he’d become abusive, and wanted nothing to do with him. I told him I didn’t think he’d ever seen me as a person. He used gaslighting, since I’d opened up to him about past abuses, and projection/mirroring, using my same language: “I feel like you never even saw me as a person but just some abusive guy like other abusive guys in your life. You’re just projecting onto me what other men have done, but I think I was a pretty great boyfriend, and I think I’m pretty fucking special, and it really hurts my feelings you would say these things to me.” I felt bad, thought maybe he was right and I was overreacting, and allowed him to come see me. He raped me.

    Somehow, this was so shocking to me I couldn’t fathom it. I couldn’t integrate it into my worldview, that someone I’d opened up to, who’d said he loved me, who’d been supportive (although in retrospect, also quite exploitative) had done this to me. For some reason, trying to make sense of this is what kept me gong back to him, and he raped me again (forcibly) and again (if you count preying on your traumatized victim and her desire for an apology, by acting sweet and loving toward her, and giving her alcohol, and driving her home for sex, rape, which yes, it probably is). He has continued to try to control me all year indirectly, through the community.

    Whenever I am depressed I desire some sort of reconciliation. I worry about him incessantly–maybe he’ll kill himself. How can he live with himself? He must be in so much pain to have done this to me. There must be some way of healing between us.

    I only feel this way when I am depressed, which I suppose is the point of his abuse. He wants me depressed and under his control, not happy and far, far away from him. (He has often gaslighted me by saying we “both hurt each other,” which is a fucking laugh).

    I have been depressed about various circumstances in my life–dealing with the PTSD after this, trying to find a stable living situation in town, working very hard as a college professor for low wages and no benefits. Trying to make time to see my counselor and psychiatrist, so my medication doesn’t run out, and I don’t do anything stupid (don’t allow him to worm his way back in or prey on my stupid Stockholm Syndrome).

    I got very depressed the past week or so and wisely went out to see my parents’ for a while. I just got my grades in for a tough Spring semester (I taught my first 16-week semester, with zero help or guidance from anybody, creating all my own materials, and with a full load–4 classes–while I had severe untreated PTSD, last Fall semester). Now, in the depressive aftermath of the PTSD, I am starting a summer intensive. I had hardly prepped for it, and was misinformed about the textbook, and it was a full class, early in the morning (when I haven’t been sleeping), but it went great. I charmed them all, went over the hastily knocked-together syllabus, had them interview and introduce each other, wowed them by remembering all twenty of their names correctly, and facilitated discussion of some lighthearted poems at the end of class.

    So, somehow, I can pull it together when I have to. What this means is I need to pull it together for ME.

    I have lived and traveled all over the world, teaching. I have been working and living on my own since I was 17. I’ve survived childhood trauma and so many abusive men, so many physical and sexual assaults. I need to start standing up for ME. What the fuck do I care about this guy’s well-being? What about what he did to ME? He tortured me for an entire year.

    I was feeling, to use that cliched word, “empowered” today after somehow pulling off a great first class when I’ve been in a depressive, sleepless low for the past week. Several of my students actually came up and shook my hand afterward.

    All this proves is that I can “pretend” for others, and I will work hard for others, because I can’t let them down. They need their teacher there. First impressions are important, so they’ll stay in the class and not drop, and according to studies it’s not how well the teacher teaches but how charismatic he or she seems that causes students to evaluate a teacher positively, and stay in his or her class. So I put on a brave face, and joked around with everyone, through my extreme fatigue.

    Why can’t I do this for MYSELF? I should consider MYSELF one of my students that I can’t let down. I should put on a brave face for MYSELF.

    I realized, coming out of class–the sequence of events ran through my head again–and I thought, my GOD, I can’t believe I still have some naive hope for “reconciliation” or think I still have “feelings” or feel sorry for him. I realized I’m still blaming myself for what he did, and feel responsible for him and his well-being, when he preyed on me, love-bombing me and pressuring me into sex and a fast relationship when I was vulnerable, and openhearted, and honest, and then turned into an insane, insecure asshole, and then raped me, repeatedly. Anyone else hearing of this sequence of events objectively would conclude that he is absolutely monstrous. It struck me with the full force of clarity today: he has treated me absolutely abominably. Why don’t I care about myself?

    Could you imagine how these nice students I met today would feel if they knew that their nice, funny new teacher had been systematically preyed upon, assaulted, abused, tortured, and terrorized for a whole fucking year? They probably wouldn’t be able to believe it (that I could not be a total wreck) and would think the guy was a fucking monster. I imagine if I do finally manage a way out of my PTSD-induced social withdrawal of this last year (I didn’t used to have social anxiety at all, I am usually outgoing), and start to make new friends in the community, and ever open up about this in future, that absolutely everyone I might get close to, if I confide in them, will just think this guy is a horrible, horrible human being.

    But will they also wonder how I could have kept contact? Will they also blame me? Why did I worry about him, and feel guilty, and blame myself? I mean was I fucking INSANE? (Yes, it is a form of insanity…it is a form of losing your mind).

    Even my best friend, who I talked to about this…she didn’t/doesn’t seem to realize the severity of rape (she has also had abusive ex-boyfriends and avoids dating–men with anger issues, controlling–but they never hit or raped her). She commiserates, but I think she doesn’t quite understand what it feels like. She even felt sorry for his body image issues. So what the fuck do I care if he’s insecure about his looks, when he’s RAPED me? (Again, women trained to feel sorry for “poor men” who “have low self-esteem” and “can’t help it”). I have over and over again wanted to “change him with my love,” when if I were to ever go back to him, even just to talk to him, all I would be doing is ENABLING him. (Even now I can’t help but worry that if I call him out in the community it will make him feel bad, and maybe he’ll hurt himself. The fact that I have felt like hurting myself, this past year–no, that doesn’t matter, right? Has he worried about me? No. He hasn’t worried about me at all, he just wants to prey on me some more, and would love nothing more than to get back together with me, with his weak promises of love, having reduced me to this, so he could have me under his complete control, and abuse me whenever I started getting ideas). I am still too fucking worried about him and concerned about his mental health to hold him accountable.

    This is Stockholm Syndrome, yes, and we ARE conditioned into this shit. I feel so sorry for Natasha Kampusch, who refuses to share “intimate details” (that her captor raped her for eight years, since she was a child?), and says she doesn’t have Stockholm Syndrome, that that’s oversimplifying her and her captor’s “complex relationship.” A someone else so memorably said, Christ on a stick.

    We are groomed into this, by Hollywood and Disney narratives, by teenage “romances” like the Twilight series, by fathers who are kind to us when we are “good girls” and cruel when we are not, or who otherwise groom their female children, and then by male partners, from an early age (I STILL feel compassion for my first love, who hit me and terrorized me periodically during our relationship for years).

    How would I feel if someone had done this to a FRIEND OF MINE? I’d want to fucking kill him. So why can’t I feel this way when it comes to myself?

    This is not just a rhetorical question, but a larger problem. Why is it that so often women can’t feel anger on their own behalf? Because the abuse works? Because we are trained not to stick up for ourselves, but only for others? To only care about others?

    Oh, and “studies show sexist men have more psychological problems, suffer more often with depression, more often have low self-esteem and body image issues, and are the least likely of all people to seek help.” REALLY? There needed to be a study done about this? NO SHIT. THE POOR SEXIST MEN. Being a piece of shit makes you feel bad about yourself, and then you mistreat women more in a horrible feedback loop, but you wouldn’t to admit to having problems and try to get help because that’d be so fucking WEAK and BETA.

    The worst part is that various studies have been conducted about this (how sexism makes men psychologically unhealthy), and one researcher hypothesized it was because there is “less support now for sexism from society and from other men than there was fifty years ago.” YEAH RIGHT. What a fucking laugh, and a totally unsupported statement! Might it not be, because, you know, ABUSING PEOPLE instead of loving them and treating them with respect is a sign of toxic insecurity, entitlement, and hostility, and maybe that doesn’t make for such good mental health outcomes? Not, because, you know, “men are less sexist today and so they feel unsupported,” because that sure as hell isn’t the fucking case. I think young men these days are at least as if not more sexist than men of the Boomer generation.

    What ridiculous conjecture from a so-called “scientist.”

    Sorry for another rant. I just had a tough week, and shit if I wasn’t Stockholm Syndromed hard by this abusive monster this year. I’m sure I’ll feel sorry again for him presently.

    I’m kind of hoping maybe not, though. Let him wash out, wash out completely. I need to be on my side.

    • oneclickboedicea

      Dont apologise hon, but have you got some support via a domestic violence therapist? You are battling some huge legacies there, hate to think of you there on your own?

    • radwonka

      “The worst part is that various studies have been conducted about this
      (how sexism makes men psychologically unhealthy), and one researcher
      hypothesized it was because there is “less support now for sexism from
      society and from other men than there was fifty years ago.” YEAH RIGHT.
      What a fucking laugh, and a totally unsupported statement! Might it not
      be, because, you know, ABUSING PEOPLE instead of loving them and
      treating them with respect is a sign of toxic insecurity, entitlement,
      and hostility, and maybe that doesn’t make for such good mental health
      outcomes? Not, because, you know, “men are less sexist today and so they
      feel unsupported,” because that sure as hell isn’t the fucking case. I
      think young men these days are at least as if not more sexist than men
      of the Boomer generation.”

      Agree. These studies only exist to victimize men (and thus demonize women/justify hate against women’s emancipation) and to erase the fact that young men are more sexist than their fathers.
      Liberals/libertarians like to say that men who support “equal rights” (being equal to men, what a goal…) are not sexists. Pornsick males, abusers, etc who support these superficial equal rights are thus not considered as anti feminists. And tada! Most of these studies will “explain” that literally no man on earth is a misogynist pig! lmao.
      And then they will “explain” that males are just poor victims who need more support, etc etc lmao
      That is why most of these studies are flawed. (and used to promote patriarchal norms: making women feel guilty, infantilizing men as poor lil things who can’t control their emotions, portray BDSM kinksters as the best partners on earth, etc)

      It reminds me of a study about objectification (which was released this year) which explained that men are more aggressive (against women) when they grow up in a culture that objectifies women, the author of this study concluded that “if men see objectified women as owning their agency, they would never be aggressive”. LMFAO. As if men care if women use their “agency” or not. Compliance is only an option for them (and will be used against women: “she wanted it”, “it’s her fault”, etc). And it says a lot about men and how they use women’s compliance and vulnerability at their advantage when grooming, psychological manipulation, guilt tripping and stockholm syndrome are the main tools they use to gain women’s consent/approval.

    • Alienigena

      “We are groomed into this, by Hollywood and Disney narratives … fathers who are kind to us when we are “good girls” and cruel when we are not”

      The only good that came out of having a father who was cruel and abusive to me regardless of my behaviour (good or bad) is that I don’t really trust males or like them that much and I am always ready to see the “skull beneath the skin”. I was considered overly compliant with authority by my siblings (I wasn’t a truant, I didn’t talk back to teachers, I didn’t take smoke/drugs or drink, I didn’t have dubious friends (my friends were mostly nerdy girls)). My father criticized me for liking classical music (don’t ask me why), for being a religious seeker (I guess I should have been busy knocking over liquor stores at age 9), for having a chronic illness (asthma), for being a home body and for a number of other bizarre reasons. I don’t know if we had a personality clash, even if we did, mature adults don’t abuse, undermine and gaslight their own offspring. I found it very hard to be affectionate towards a father who was occasionally physically abusive (but always sort of creepy physically because he didn’t hug but did grab, yank and pull at me whenever I walked by him (at a certain age, I think 6-9 years old)) but always emotionally and psychologically abusive.

      I do remember feeling inordinately sorry for homeless men when I was a young child (what about homeless women, didn’t really see them, perhaps they lived with relatives, random men, the hidden homeless) but that just stopped at some point before puberty. I do think girls are groomed and programmed for extended self-destruction often through their male relationships. In my case that didn’t take, meaning I don’t seek out men as friends or companions. I do occasionally meet decent men (through work or volunteer activities) and I am a bit shocked. But you never really know how they treat the women in their lives, so I never really fully believe in their goodness until I see it proven.

      I am sorry that you have such an awful experience with men. ” … ABUSING PEOPLE instead of loving them and treating them with respect is a sign of toxic insecurity, entitlement, and hostility, and maybe that doesn’t make for such good mental health outcomes?” Yeah, I don’t really care about abusive people either, likely makes me a bad person to some. My father told me at some point (I think I was closer to 13 than 16) that he was feeling suicidal. I don’t know why he told me this, given the weakness of our relationship and connection. Frankly I didn’t know what to say. He never said he loved me, never praised me, never touched me (e.g. just talking a simple hug) except to cause physical pain or discomfort, I don’t really like being around him by myself. He is quick to anger about political differences, he uses the tv for company so it is constantly on, he doesn’t engage in casual conversation, including around the dinner table (he scarfs his food, scowling all the time). When I think of males I think of closed off, robotic oafs (bet they won’t be trying to market that kind of robot any time soon). I guess men model themselves on their fathers. My brother did to a certain extent, he is hypercritical and judgmental (but no one has permission to judge him for having affairs while married), he is quick to anger if you disagree with him (so is my sister), he consistently blames others for his problems (his wife caused him to have affairs because she nagged him, according to my mother), and he is extraordinarily vapid (focuses on surfaces, people’s looks, their image, their bank account, their new car).

    • Tired feminist

      Hey calabasa, let’s make a deal.

      Whenever you feel sorry for your abuser, come to Feminist Current and talk to us.

      Like you’re doing, but EVERY TIME. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Doesn’t need to be immediately if you’re in class, of course, but asap.

      Deal? [offers hand]

      • calabasa

        Burden of proof *would be* on me. I’m tired. I’m getting up at 6 in the morning these days and getting home at 6, too.

      • calabasa

        Oh, and one more thing: he has even said, in this recent (this week) spate of emails after for whatever reason having Googled his name and found my post, “I don’t disagree with you, but…”

        • Tired feminist

          Block him. You don’t need this POS stalking you any longer.

    • Hanakai

      And, by the way, calabasa, if he should kill myself, there will be one less predator in the world and I will contribute to your throwing a grand party. His well-being is not something that ought to be occupying your mind.

      Focus on YOUR well-being. You are the important person in the universe. And no one will ever treat you with more love than you can treat yourself.

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      I wish there were some way for you to PM me, for us to talk to each other… we have a lot in common. The same shit. Find me on reddit/gendercritical if you want and PM me… if you want. You are pretty cool; I want you to know this.

  • oneclickboedicea

    I spent 20 years trying to make abusive men ‘better’ through my love and care, 40 years with my family trying to make them love and care for me. Disney doesnt work, and indoctrinates little girls into providing sex and care to males that hold them in contempt as biologically inferior. Disney is part of a toxic media campaign to brainwash girls into accepting sexist hatred and trying to love it away. It doesnt work girls, and youre likely to get killed or maimed in the process.

    • Sabine

      It’s basically codependence propaganda! As a codependent myself I always LOVED these kinds of fairy tales. Without a doubt they reinforced my naive, fragile fantasies about loving narcissistic, emotionally unavailable, emotionally crippled, self-serving man-babies in later life. Such damaging, toxic bullshit.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Totally. More broadly, most depictions of heterosexual relationships/love are codependence propanda (I like your way of putting that…). People have such gross ideas about what being in an intimate partnership means. People (including men I’ve been in relationships with) treat me like such a freak because I don’t want to be around my bf all the time. Making your whole life revolve around a dude (or anyone, really) is not my idea of ‘healthy.’ Even women who consider themselves feminist think that it’s their job, in relationships, to put up with everything, and support and nurture loser asshole baby men. I mean, I’ve been there, don’t get me wrong… I’m just glad I figured out how unhealthy it is and how *not* to do that (and not feel guilty about my independence and boundaries).

        • Wren

          Yes! I’ve gotten really good at sniffing out the subtle manbaby manipulations they employ: how they try to trick you doing something “nurturing” for them that their fucking mother did when they were five. I used to cave into a lot of it and even felt flattered because they wanted ME (they chose me!! they like me!!) to minister to their needs, but now I see it and it’s makes them seem sooooo unattractive. And when you refuse to do whatever little stupid thing they thought you were programed to do, they look HORRIFIED. It’s not just boyfriends who do this but male colleagues and students, too. Yuck.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes! Same. I see it right away so they get the “I’m not your fucking mother” response real quick. Barf-o-rama.

          • Sabine

            That became my mantra in my last sham of a relationship!!! Yeurghhhh! So glad I am out of that nightmare.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Well, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that women that can’t save themselves from male violence are weak. Or that it’s ok to kidnap a woman.

    I have been a victim of male violence. I have personal experience with not being able to save myself.

    My only point is that males create and perpetuate the narrative that we need them to save us, and always from other males, with the threat of violence.

    It’s part of the larger gender narrative, that males need us to be weak so that they can be strong, they need us to be fragile so that they can protect us, they need us to be passive and stupid so that they can be actionable and smart. And all of this Disney crap, the endless socialization into femininity, only serves to prop them up.

    And if history shows us to be strong or brave or courageous, that they will rewrite it to keep us in our lower, girly places.

    • Independent Radical

      Yeah, femininity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Society assumes that women are naturally stupid, incompetent and dependent on men (I don’t like to use the word “weak” as an insult, especially since what liberals consider weak, on the part of women, I consider strong and vice versa), so it teaches women to be stupid, incompetent and dependent on men and when we end up with a society of stupid, incompetent (or rather disinterested in learning), male dependent women, women are blamed for it and their submission is used as proof that they naturally “want it” and “like it” and therefore aren’t being pushed into a subordinate role at all.

      While I despised the damsel in distress narrative as a kid, it is starting to seem like the less bad alternative to the “women don’t need to be saved, ever, because if they haven’t saved themselves by now they must like being kidnapped and abused” narrative that liberals push. The hero is often as bad as the villain in these kidnapping narratives, but that’s no reason to side with the villain or ignore their power.

  • radwonka

    Brilliant article, thank you.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    I was *so excited* to see V for Vendetta when it came out. Then that whole sequence where a Holocaust scenario is ginned up in order for the young woman to really really really realize that her DudeMaster is like, The BEST? But also, to Free Her Mind. Ergo: real historical people who failed to resist real torture and real threats of execution were just sort of insufficiently self-realized beings, it turns out.

    Wachowski Brothers. so unsurprising.

  • Tired feminist

    I have a few slightly unrelated things to say about this topic.

    1) This was a difficult but necessary read for me. I’ve been one of these girls. And when my abuser was outed, he took the time to remind me that I wouldn’t be believed because I had always been so nice with him and people would find it contradictory, “like as if you had some version of Stockholm Syndrome”. I didn’t know how common Stockholm Syndrome was. I didn’t know I had it. I thought it was something people who had been held captive for a long time might have, not applicable to my situation. So I believed him when he meant no one would believe me. I couldn’t see he had just correctly identified what was going on. He was an experienced abuser. He knew I was trauma-bond and used precisely this to discredit me.

    2) I’ve said this before, but there’s another sad detail about Beauty and the Beast. It’s another story of how an independent, intelligent young woman, who went ‘too far’ by rejecting the hyper-masculine guy who showed interest in her, was tamed and put in her place.

    3) This article is great. It brought tears to my eyes, too.

    • Hekate Jayne

      We are groomed into Stockholm Syndrome. It’s not an accident.

      When we are little girls, when boys pull our hair, knock us down, how often did we hear “he only does that because he likes you.”?

      Our entire culture tells us that abuse is love, when it comes from a male. And when he is abusive, it’s our job to heal him, because he is obviously in pain. And it’s in our nature to nurture, right? It fulfills our feminine nature!

      All of us have been there. The fact is that we are conditioned to take abuse from males close to us, and then cover it up to protect them. And then males use our conditioning against us, saying that no one will believe us because of our actions.

      But really, no one believes us, anyway. Even when they murder us.

      • FierceMild

        My mother told me if they hurt you you can hit them as hard as you want with whatever comes to hand. That was fantastic.

        • Just Passing Through

          What a great mom you have!

      • Sabine

        One of my first encounters with this “it’s because he likes you” crap was when I was about 7 or 8. A boy from my class would follow me on my walk home shouting abuse at me and when I reported it the headmaster explained that it was probably because the boy actually really liked me. What?!!! The kid was stopped from doing it anymore but what a headfuck for a little girl!!!

        • Alienigena

          A boy in my school, a real thug, he even looked like a mini-pugilist (by grade 3 or 4) was vandalising my bike in the bike rack by removing the chain. I’m grateful that the only witnesses were my siblings and some friends and they didn’t say he did it because he liked me, he was just a bully and a thug, even at that age. I think it is sick for adults to claim that boys assaulting girls is somehow an expression of affection.

  • Independent Radical

    I definitely agree that Watson is not feminist (in fact I called her out as a likely liberal back when she gave her UN speech and people were raving about her, even on this site), but this statement kind of bugged me.

    “Most female celebs are uneducated, many barely finished high school, so it is perhaps unsurprising that most are incapable of a deep or reasoned analysis and that their idea of liberation is twerking in public.”

    I don’t think a lack of (ridiculous overpriced) university education is the problem. Many liberal feminists have or are working towards Bachelor’s degrees (usually in humanities fields, Watson herself has a degree in English) and not all actors (educated or uneducated) are liberals. If anything universities push liberalism and I can’t wait to leave mine because of it. Their idea of “deep and reasoned analysis” is finding a sophisticated way to say that twerking is good (e.g. “twerking is an expression of female agency and stigmatising it is a denial of agency).

    At the end of high school, I was conned into thinking that all intelligent people (particularly intelligent women) should go to university, as if that were the only, or the superior, way to be educated, but there are so many cheaper options that actually give you a chance to think critically. Universities only expose you to a narrow range of approved viewpoints and when they do introduce content that is slightly outside of those approved viewpoints they attack it for being “political” and discourage real engagement with it.

    The only advantage of university over other forms of education nowadays (for political radicals) is that they give you expensive pieces of paper that can be used to impress employers. Don’t go there looking to have your mind expanded. The academic atmosphere (with its trigger warnings and incessant language policing) is stifling. The radical ideas I learned, were learned online, as was the ability to argue for them.

    Furthermore the desire and ability to think critically is learned through everyday experiences. I was thinking about the way media portrayed women long before I set foot in a university. Historically working class people have been very interested in intellectual content and when there is a current of political activism brewing they meet together to discuss everything from Shakespeare to the latest scientific advances.

    I admit that isn’t happening as much nowadays, but that doesn’t mean those who don’t have the time to get a university education don’t have sophisticated intelligent thoughts. They just don’t have the chance to express them, like they used to when the radical left was an influential movement and people weren’t taught that you had to spend thousands of dollars to attend some fancy institution before your idea on certain topics mattered.

    Unless we’re talking about practical skills (which are better learned at TAFE anyway) the minute details of a scientific concept that you only need to know for the purposes of employment in specific fields, self-education works just as well as university education if you’re willing to put the effort in.

    I’m sorry for nitpicking one sentence so much and do I agree with your views overall. Feminism and the left have suffered a serious decline, but I find it surprising that any radical or sex negative feminist could see mainstream educational institutions as allies. I’m sorry for shoving my bitterness down your throat, but since I’m at the end of my degree I feel qualified (haha) to fully express it.

  • Sabine

    As soon as she “got her tits out for the lads” under the guise of a high end fashion shoot it was game over with regards to being anything other than a “choicey-choice” libfem. Being in this film and hilariously attempting to define it as “feminist” is just another nail in the coffin. I don’t think it’s possible to be a genuine feminist in Hollywood. The game ain’t set up to permit it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yep. The amount of women who stay in relationships with porn addicts, for example, never mind the useless baby shit where men do zero chores, can’t take care of themselves, etc., because, like, their dudes are ‘troubled’ or they feel compassionate towards them, want to be patient, etc., is insane.

    Like I said, I’ve put up with some HORRIBLE shit. I’d like to think I wouldn’t do that ever again. So this isn’t necessarily a criticism of these women — I get why they stay — but I *really* wish women would stop feeding each other the message that they should be patient and compassionate and stick it out. When my female friends tell me about this crap I ask them when they are going to leave or suggest maybe they ‘take a break,’ get separate places, etc. We need to stop enabling this stuff and making women believe it’s ok, just to be ‘nice.’

  • Meghan Murphy

    I LOVED Pippi!!! I read all the books over and over again. I wanted to be her so bad…

    • corvid

      All right! High five Meghan!! 😀

  • Mmmeee

    I watched “Pippilangschtrumpf” also in my youth and “Red Zora” (Zora, la rouge in french), an authoritarian redhead yugoslavian (eastern Europe) girl who was the leader of five orphaned children. I was very impressed at that time and it was a very good idea to show diverse, multifaceted girls and not the usual boring stereotypes.

    • MotherBear84

      Ronia the Robber Daughter

      I seem to remember it was quite good. Many years ago now.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, exactly. This is why I find it so fucked up that people (Americans, mostly) look to celebrities for all their public/political commentary. In general, these people are uneducated dimwits. They rarely have anything interesting to say.

    • Mmmeee

      Here in Europe (France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and so on…) it is exactely the same. The people get very tired about it. It is a typically western society illness. An emptiness. The mainstream medias are very sick. For godsake more and more people realize it and get rid of it. I almost don’t watch television and almost don’t listen radio anymore and I’m not the only one doing it. Like you described in your articles you can like an artistic performance from somebody but I don’t give a f**k what his political opinions are nor worship any of them…

  • Meghan Murphy

    No it’s not. While I agree there can be an addictive component to porn use, pretending that men who use porn have an illness lets them off the hook. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have said ‘addict’ — what I meant was that their partners used porn compulsively/daily.)

  • Tired feminist

    Even it this were true, it still wouldn’t be our problem. You first stop watching porn, and THEN you get a date.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Yes, and the concept of womanhood that males created is only about them and for them. It is not for us.

    It’s not about us. At all.

    Once I realized that, everything in me changed. Once I realized that I was just a prop, I changed my life.

  • Meghan Murphy

    For sure. And I am well aware that most men watch porn, and don’t expect them all to understand that they shouldn’t, considering they are constantly told it’s normal and healthy. What I mean, really, is that women shouldn’t feel they should have to put up with it, and the more we put our foot down, the less normalized it will become. I don’t expect men to automatically know that it is not ok, but they certainly won’t understand it’s wrong if women continue to put up with it and tell them it’s perfectly fine, harmless, and ‘just a fantasy,’ which most of my female friends seem to do.

    If men truly are struggling with some form of addiction to porn, they need to take initiative to get help.

    • Hanakai

      Agreed. Basically I have eliminated pornified men from my reality as much as possible. If they are using porn, they do not get to be in my band, my office, my home, my bed, my life.

      There are things I have zero tolerance for: guns, animal abuse, child abuse, porn. I prefer the company of artists, musicians, writers, scientists, animal lovers and activists, intelligent gentle souls. As a result, only mostly high-quality men get to hang out in my space.

      I think if young women got serious and started rejecting all suitors who used porn, porn use would decrease. We could change consciousness so that men who used porn were looked upon as hapless losers and lousy undesirable lovers. (As a result of Nordic model prostitution laws, men who try to buy sex are increasingly being seen as pathetic losers. The same needs to happen with porn men.)

      • Sabine

        Sadly lib/fauxfem has hijacked young, impressionable women’s minds and brainwashed them into believing porn is “cool” and “empowering” and even if they do feel uncomfortable with it they stuff it down because we all know to be viewed as a “prude” is a fate worse than death….

      • Danielle Matheson

        I recently decided to try online dating again, even though it’s never worked out in the end. I wrote on my profile that I do not date men who want him porn. I also said “before you all men watch porn, I’d like to say #notallmen”. Since, you know, that’s their only response to anything and everything!

        • Tired feminist

          HA! 😀

  • We had Pippi Longstocking, Swallows and Amazons, Susannah of the Mounties, and Adventures of Isabel (“Isabel met an enormous bear. Isabel, Isabel didn’t care. . . . ). It didn’t stop us from growing up messed up and vulnerable to abuse as adults. But hey, we were well read messed up. (Also, in Pierre Berton’s The Secret World of Og (1961), one of the kids was reading a series of books about a girl named Lucy Lawless who was a pirate, a card shark, a spy, etc. I wanted to read those books so bad.)

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oooh The Secret World of Og! I’d forgotten about that one! So good.

  • Hanakai

    Using porn is a choice. It is not an illness, other than a sickness of mind by which males dehumanize half the species and relegates them to the role of objects existing solely for male titillation and gratification.

    Disease is ordinarily a process over which the conscious mind has no control. Cancer is not something one chooses, nor is yellow fever, or nephritis, whereas porn use is a conscious choice.

  • Hanakai

    Really good men do not watch porn. They get it, they get the degradation inherent in it, and the ugliness of how it views women. No seriously good man lets his sexuality be manipulated, shaped and hijacked by some degenerate profiteering pornographer’s hellish vision. If he is getting his jollies from porn, he is not a good man, or a nice man —- he is a man who contributes to, ratifies and normalizes the trafficking, enslavement, abuse and degradation of women and girls.

    Unfortunately, young men have fairly much been totally poisoned by porn. I am really glad to be a bit older and not to have been dating the kinds of pornified young men of today, ick.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I agree with you for the most part, though I think that most celebrities who are asked to speak about various issues aren’t actually really educated about *those* issues. It’s true that people are indoctrinated by queer studies/gender studies in universities now anyway, but what I’m talking about when I say ‘educated’ is not necessarily about whether or not one has a BA (there are obviously plenty of women and men who are better thinkers than folks who have BAs…), and I’m not even talking about whether or not one has liberal opinions. Just, like, in general, why are we asking people who have zero background or knowledge of politics or feminism or what have you to speak to these issues? Celebrities are generally not very intelligent. That is a fact. It also doesn’t make much sense that a celebrity would have progressive or feminist politics, considering that in order to become a celebrity, your priorities and values have to be way out of whack to begin with.

  • Hanakai

    That you, Independent Radical, were able to learn anything about radical feminism on the Internet at all was because the universities in the 1960s, 1970s and early 80s funded and supported women’s studies programs and the work of feminist scholars who for the first time started to uncover and write the truths about women’s history and contributions and material world realities. Simone de Beauvoir was an academic and scholar. Shulamith Firestone. Gerda Lerner. Catherine MacKinnon. Germaine Greer. Elaine Morgan. Angela Davis. Paula Gunn Allen. For starters. Without these foremothers and pioneers, there would be nothing. Your intellectual underpinnings have to come from somewhere and they come from the intellectuals who are immersed in the world of ideas, facts and analysis.

    This does not mean that non-university-educated people are dumb, nor that academic knowledge brings street smarts and common sense. But then, I did not say or imply that. No need to fight what is not at issue.

    I occasionally teach a course these days at the university level and my views are fairly radical, some are certainly unpopular. And it is my observation that a lot of the universities have gone absolutely apesh*t crazy with their nonsense gender studies departments and normalizing transgenderism. Indeed, were I to fully express my thoughts on the phenomenon of alleged transgenderism, based on what we know from biology and neurocience, in a liberal university lecture hall these days, tomatoes would be thrown toward my personage along with howls of “bigot” and “transphobe.” In the US, there are numerous reasons that can be pointed to as to why the universities have become zombie factories turning out good little mindless producing&consuming robots for the industrial-growth monster.

    Nonetheless, I really see that things have regressed, that young women have bought into the cultural trance of patriarchy; things have gone backwards. My suspicion is that basically the Internet and porn are what has made the difference in the past 25 years or so. Since the Internet/video era, young people read and think and cogitate less, they passively watch more and process information unconsciously and more pictorially & in the occipital visual processing region of the brain, while analytical thinking involves active involvement and happens in another part of the brain. So that, and the complete ubiquitous availability of porn and the pornification of modern popular culture has led to a refortification of patriarchal values and mores. Plus, the USA is in the degenerative stage of empire and that makes people crazy, as do biotoxins everywhere, including in the wombs. It is all very crazy beyond anything science fiction can imagine.

    I think if there is going to be any hope for the planet, it will have to come from the women and the children, as the men are beyond hope & created the insanity; and I also suspect that it will come from the brown-skinned peoples of the earth, and not from the white peoples who are lost in the capitalistic dream of consumption and fossil-fuel addiction and whose women are lost in Barbie Hollywood dreams.

    I do not have the answers. I just prattle on as a way of putting off working.

    • Sabine

      Well I for one am very (selfishly!) glad that you put off working!

      “I think if there is going to be any hope for the planet, it will have to
      come from the women and the children, as the men are beyond hope &
      created the insanity…”

      I agree 100%.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I think it’s fairly difficult to become a celebrity though, regardless of how good an actor you are… I agree that it is a difficult job, but I don’t think *most* celebrities are particularly interesting, intelligent, or talented. Yes, some good actors accidentally became famous, but it is possible to stay out of the spotlight if you try… I do believe that most very famous celebrities sought out celebrity/fame/fortune in one way or another. Not all, of course. There are famous people who have integrity and decent politics, but I’d say they are in the minority, as far as bonafide ‘celebrities’ go…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Damn. I haven’t read them in so long, I’ve forgotten the rest of the storyline(s).

  • Sabine

    Likewise. But I have to say, they are few and far between in my experience!

    • FierceMild


  • Sabine

    Anybody who is hooked on the degradation of women to the point that he can only get turned on by the viewing of it is sick and hates women. They fail to see these abused females as human. I don’t know if there is any cure for that to be honest.

  • Sabine

    And that’s the truth.

  • Sabine

    Wearing a corset is not feminist but exposing your breasts (or 75% of them!) as a way of showing the world she’s no longer ickle Hermione but a full grown, (read: fuckable) woman *is*? That’s what has been trotted out ad nauseum: little Hermione Granger is all growed up! Look! Tits!

    I agree that corsets are torture instruments and she has every right to refuse to wear one and the men (including fetishist TIMs) should shut the hell up as it has precisely nothing to do with them and what they might think. However, her feminist “principles” do not seem to go much beyond the superficial. Does she refuse to wear high heels in the same way? I don’t think so!

  • Sabine

    And what could be more funfem than that!

  • Mmmeee

    No, I didn’t want to disappoint you intentionally. I agree with your statement that someone who consumes porn is not ready and ‘should’ not engage in a relationship. What I wanted to say is that in reality it happens unfortunately the other way (I can talk from my own experience that’s why I’m writing here). I don’t want provoke somebody here.

  • Sabine

    Right on!

  • Danielle Matheson

    See and I wasn’t going to see it because of capitalism. I’ve seen the animated version 50 million times. What about it could they have possibly changed so much that makes it worth watching? Nothing. It’s just Disney banking on nostalgia to get butts in seats.

    I recently watched a documentary on Natasha Kampusch. It’s sad. She explains the strange feelings she still has. Of course people are shouting “how can you have compassion for a man who kidnapped and beat you?” And its ones of those situations you won’t fully understand unless you’ve been there.

    Ever since I learned what Stockholm syndrome was I haven’t been able to take B and the B seriously as something to entertain myself. There are much better feminist movies, even non feminist movies that don’t have kidnapping and abuse as themes that I can spend my time watching. Seriously.

    And while I’m here, I can’t stand Emma Watson.

    • Yeah, because tearing down Emma Watson is totally feminist.

      • Alienigena

        Why should people profess their liking for actors they don’t like. I don’t feel one way or another about her but I am seriously tired of people thinking that celebrities have anything worthwhile to say. Just because they have the ear of the press to promote their films doesn’t mean that anything they say in any other context should be taken seriously. I would prefer to hear from people who actually know what they are talking about re: feminism and women’s issues, not from Hollywood celebrities.

  • Tired feminist

    Aaaaaargh! What a disgusting little shit this guy is. Seriously. I’m enraged just from reading your post.

    Do you use Gmail? Here’s how to set a filter to delete your spam automatically: https://dottech.org/167593/how-to-automatically-delete-all-spam-messages-in-gmail-tip/

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, we are always told to feel bad for these poor souls, to nurture them, to be understanding, compassionate, etc. Always to our own detriment, imo. I agree that it’s enabling behaviour. It teaches women that bad behaviour from men is normal and ok and teaches men they should never change and never be held accountable for their behaviour because well goodness the poor dears can’t help themselves.

  • Mmmeee

    Yes, but in my case it would be too long to explain…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Don’t you understand that the ‘ridicule’ of radical feminists happens no matter what we do and say? That anti-feminists have tried to mock, silence, and attack feminists since the dawn of feminism itself? We are not going to change our analysis because of what misogynists think.

    All that aside, yes, in many countries Hollywood movies are much less central to culture, but here in the West, they are, and media/pop culture has an enormous impact on society, socialization, and gender roles.

    • Weyoun

      I see none of my responses have been approved. Thank you for not allowing me to defend myself. and yet people like “will” can act like that and have their comment still appear. very nice hypocritical childish work there.

      • Meghan Murphy

        You can’t post comments calling women ‘hysterical’ and telling them to ‘lighten the fuck up.’ Sorry.

        • Mmmeee

          “You can’t post comments calling women ‘hysterical’ and telling them to ‘lighten the fuck up.’ Sorry.” ——–> ‘Yes’. (It’s contradictory, isn’t it?)

  • Tired feminist

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA as if Beauty and the Beast were a Hollywood and/or US-American tale. What a joke!

    • Alienigena

      I thought it was French fairy tale originally. A French film based on the story was made in 2014. It is available on Netflix Canada with the same title as the Disney live action film. Same issues with the film, the beast is a stalker, he forces Belle to eat with him, he hovers over her as she sleeps, she returns to his castle after spending a day with family, ostensibly to save his life, and thus returns to imprisonment, briefly. I really don’t know if the Disney version is any worse, haven’t seen it.


  • Tired feminist

    “The lawyer might further indicate your willingness to remove the post in exchange for a payment to you of $50,000, a public apology acknowledging his abuse and a enforceable agreement to leave you alone entirely.”

    That’s a good idea but I would rather not agree to remove the post. Perhaps an agreement to update the post and explain how the case has been solved in court would do just as well. Erasing the post sounds unfair to me because his rapes cannot be erased. And because he might well make other victims.

  • Meghan Murphy


  • FierceMild

    My daughter and I love studio Ghibli!

  • FierceMild

    Saying you’re doomed is another excuse. Words like illness, addiction, doomed etc shift responsibility away from men. I believe you want to be a better person, you won’t succeed at that if you think you can’t effect our own behavior.

    • Mmmeee

      Wow. I don’t know what to reply. You are very good by analyzing people. I didn’t see the links between the different words I used. You don’t seem to let anything through. By ‘like doomed’ I meant that it was the case in the past, not now anymore as I underwent heavy surgery (thryroïd) and that changed my hormones and my catastrophic life completeley.( I hope I get away with this). I can only reply to you tomorrow because I have to go to bed now, it’s 4 o’clock here. Man must sleep too. Bye.

  • FierceMild

    Undeniably true.

  • Alienigena

    Loved Spirited Away, a colleague pointed it out to me because she knew that I was an animator and interested in animated film. It is a beautiful film, and if I can say something new agey, it has a good soul, unlike so much of Disney’s animated films, which are slick but hollow.

  • Alienigena

    “Physically strong women aren’t generally considered sexy.”

    I think we represent a threat to those wusses you call men. I have had objects (sand bags, during a film lighting workshop) thrown at me to ‘test my strength’, up to that point I didn’t know the facilitator was a jerk, but he was. My startle reflex just caused me to back away, he ended up having to pick up the bag he threw at me. But women can be hostile and mean spirited too, just in a different way.

    • Tired feminist

      JEEZUS. What a total and complete asshole.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    What is the name your abuser site?? I have at least 7 guys that need to be on there.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Of course. Thank you for asking.

  • DeColonise

    perhaps Hollywood did not invent the issues. But they incorporate a lot of cultural values in movies and so on.
    Perhaps movies alone don’t “do the job” but in combination with what one is being taught by parents, by school, by society at large they can act like a “numbing out” process being washed over by the same kind of images and stories and character developments over and over and over again.
    Like they confirm what society are saying all the time.

  • Tired feminist

    How is that relevant in any way?

    • Mmmeee

      Ah? Thank you for your answer. It was just an observation. I didn’t think of anybody in particular.

  • Tired feminist

    Yeah, I’m aware of that… my point was simply that it’s better to have the post publicized than not to have it at all.

    • Hanakai

      Maybe. Hard to say. The post being up does nothing to materially help calabasa, while a sizable monetary judgment or settlement could compensate some of her damages and pay for therapy and a good vacation.

      I would like to see all rapists made to pay their victims, for their wages to be garnished, their prison earnings attached, their inheritances and stocks and houses and vehicles seized and liquidated for a victim’s compensation fund

  • Wren

    My resistance to being the object of a pedantic lecture is not tone policing, but if you haven’t frequently been challenged in this fashion, it may feel like it.

  • DeColonise

    As a Swede–not the root vegetable–myself I had no idea America had made their own version of Pippi Långstrump (longstocking).
    “socialism” (we were never a full scale socialist nation even though in comparison to US we were hardcore red haha) did bring about some cool children’s/teen stuff in the past. I used to love her as well.
    We also had Ronja Rövardotter (not sure how to translate her last name.. piratedaughter perhaps), same writer Astrid Lindgren, that was very popular among us kids back in the days.

    • MotherBear84

      That’s the one! In English it’s Ronia the Robber’s Daughter !

  • DeColonise

    I just came upon this rather short video clip of Hayao Miyazaki. This is a video in which he

    responds to an demonstration of an artificial intelligence model that
    has learned certain movements (animated movements).

    Not sure why I share this but I loved his thoughts and response to this project


    And there is also this pretty well mad little short documentary (about 16 minutes) called

    Hayao Miyazaki – The Essence of Humanity that I think capture the spirit of his work really well.


  • Julia

    Question: has anyone else seen the Disney movie the Journey of Natty Gann? It is about a 13 year old girl whose father has to leave Chicago during the Depression to take a job in Oregon, and leaves her behind with this terrible women. Natty runs away, befriends a wolf, and together they journey across the country to find her father. It is absolutely a great movie for young girls as not only is Natty fiercely independent and very smart (which of course automatically renders her a tomboy), but she runs into a young John Cusak and a romance develops – and she doesn’t feminize in anyway. He does help her out a couple of times, and yeah he is an older teenage – but they end up apart and writing to each other, and in no way does it take away from her awesomeness. It’s a great movie, but not many people watched it. Maybe because it is about a rather wild and temperamental girl who is friends with a wolf, and no one ever tames her – not her father, not John Cusak – as opposed to a sweet little princess.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ohhh I LOVED that movie when I was a kid!!

    • Danielle Matheson

      That movie was my jam as a kid!!!!!

    • Lara

      Love that movie as a kid. This movie inspired me to leave my very abusive and dysfunctional home. I even dressed like her for a while.

  • Raelee

    It can be very difficult being single at times, and very difficult to not settle. When you’re in a bad financial situation, that makes it even more challenging because it’s economically straining to be on your own, and it can limit the available dating pool.
    Years ago many more women married quickly & stayed in their marriage b/c there were little options for them to make it on their own. It’s still a big problem now, we’ve only reduced the amount… which is one reason I believe men hate & resist feminism so much. More freedom equals more choice; less Women jumping into marriage quickly, women dating around & being more cautious with their choice, or even choose to be single.
    Men were used to doing whatever they want (cheating, abusing, leaving)… most knew their wife would always be there & they’d be taken care of. Now, some men end up single, from little dating choices, or divorce – there’s no more guaranteed woman. They had the comfort & family without really having to be committed to it.
    I too am disabled & I’d be dishonest if I told you that didn’t play a small part in deciding to get married. However, when I started dating my husband, that’s when I began going down hill. He stuck it out even though we weren’t dating very long & if it weren’t for him being a “good guy”, I wouldn’t have stayed.
    I was in a bad relationship before him. It was one of the few long term relationships I’ve had & the men were all similar – controlling, abusive, manipulating etc. I made a very difficult decision; to leave a man I was passionately in love with, but knew wasn’t good to me, taking a gamble on being alone & maybe try dating again. I also made a promise to myself; I promised to discontinue seeing anyone as soon as I noticed certain red flags, and that they’d have to treat me the way i wanted – no not wanted – the way I SHOULD be treated.
    I casually dated until i finally did meet someone who possessed the qualities I wanted. In the 5 yrs since, he has NEVER even attempted to physically hurt me, let alone act on it (never has showed anger . Has NEVER verbally abused me (no, not even calling me a cuss word), or emotionally abused me – as in mind games, gas lighting, manipulating my feelings, etc. he’s good looking too! Even w/my health problems, he does A LOT of the house stuff too. I have equal control over money. I can go out w/no phone calls or harassment about what I’m doing. This works both ways though. So, it is possible to find real *good men*.
    I made a commitment to me to not let anyone ever treat me less than ever again.
    So how do you decide what’s “good enough”? When the other person treats you as an equal, you can REALLY be yourself, when that person respects your boundaries, that there’s trust, you have disagreements not fights, you can laugh together, esp when things are shit, no built up resentments, guilt, or suspicion, they encourage you instead of holding you back, etc
    I found it most valuable to take the advice that finding a partner w/similar core values to be the best. It’s easier to *build a house* with a *good foundation*. Another good tip, which might sound contradictory to what i just said, but hopefully you’ll get what I’m trying to say – try to find someone who has qualities you might lack, & vice versa. Say you have a high energy personality like me (as far as expressing yourself, impulsive/ anxious, fast paced, over talkative etc), then maybe there’d be a benefit to dating people who are naturally relaxed, with a slower pace personality… to explain better; my husband has had a relaxing & calming influence on me & he’s become more open to others with opinions & more social (conversational). A partner should not only bring out the best in you & vice versa, but add positive to your life.
    It can be difficult if you’re used to ups & downs, similar feelings of getting high – but just like drugs, coming down is included. Sometimes it seems like relationships are supposed to be hard. They don’t have to be. Sure, be open & flexible w/ some standards (maybe financially, or looks), But not when it comes to treatment. If you’re becoming frustrated, don’t hesitate to take a time out from dating to focus on other things (hobbies, friendships, etc) & find ways to meet new people, even for reasons other than dating like disability support groups, set up a game night, ask friends & family to visit you if you can’t get out much, etc.
    (Obviously it depends on your disability on what you can do, but just being disabled can make things a challenge, let alone trying to date. So try to do your best & don’t hesitate to obligate those closest to you, to encourage & support you.)

  • Wren

    Thank you. This stuff makes me crazy: the hair splitting, the smug critiques in the guise of “I will make you a better feminist!!” It’s not that I don’t have a lot to learn, cause I do, but the idea that I can’t possibly be as smart as someone else is the shit I have to take from men, and I don’t take it from them anymore, so I sure as hell won’t take it from her. I just left it alone once she admitted her agenda.

    You are better at articulating this stuff, and better at defending yourself than I am. I’ve learned a lot from you!! xoxo

  • Atheist

    There is also the problem of women being viewed as “X group’s” property, and that women are often treated as trophies and spoils of war by victorious males. Bride kidnapping was not just as a cultural custom, but as a way for one male to insult a rival male or rival group of males by carrying off his “property.” White slave owners would rape black women as a way to humiliate and torture black men. Women are often a proxy under which men inflict violence onto other men, sad to say, nobody every really cared about what happened to the woman even if she was white. She was just a symbol of men’s honor, not really a person.

  • Atheist

    The next time someone says “why doesn’t she just leave” tell them it’s because it’s the most dangerous time for an abuse victim.

    I stopped watching shows like 20/20 when an elderly woman ended up dead because her husband finally murdered her after years of telling her he was going to kill her. They were married for decades. She took pictures of her abuse over the years and hid the camera away in a closet. She knew he was going to kill her whether or not she left. It broke my heart. I hate that men’s violence against women has become just another infotainment show with ratings. One would think these shows would teach people a thing or two about abuse, but no. People would rather keep being misogynists than rub their two remaining brain cells together to think before they speak about abuse victim.