The Exploitation of Female Pain
She has deep-rooted childhood trauma, I bet she’s good in bed!
Society consumes female pain with such swiftness and voracity. Fashion, unrealistic advertisements and drastic photo editing prey on young women’s insecurities to increase the consumption of products that promise to make us more desirable. There are entire eras dedicated to the “sad girl” archetype—the 2014 Tumblr era girl who posted thinspo, depressing song lyrics, photos of girls crying and excessive partying. With the revival of indie sleaze, there has been a shift from perfectly executed makeup and outfits to a more haphazard look of subversive fashion, layers and smudged makeup. The “it-girl” look portrays a girl who has stayed up all night crying, partying, sleeping in her makeup and has just rolled out of bed the next morning. Indie sleaze is the modern day 2014 Tumblr era, and they overlap in their willingness to exploit female pain because everyone knows: female mental illness is hot.
We have all heard it before. Men love crazy girls. Crazy girls are great in bed. Let’s really unpack what they are saying. Men love girls who are vulnerable, sad and potentially using partying to keep them numb. Men want to sleep with women that they have deemed to be crazy – too dramatic, stressful and not worth basic human decency, and therefore, can be used to fulfill sexual fantasies that they would not ask of the “nice girl.” There is such a willingness to label women as crazy. A woman who is loud, speaks her mind or does not let people walk all over her is crazy. A “crazy woman” is often a woman who expresses her emotions, who explains the ways that certain actions have made her feel. Women are manipulated, their pain and emotions are exploited, and the worst part is that when they address this exploitation, they are gaslighted.
Women are called crazy to prevent the culpability of men – who made them crazy.
A sister trope to the “crazy girl” is the girl with “daddy issues.” Society does not label daddy issues as what is truly is – deep-rooted childhood trauma that has the potential to impact all aspects of a woman’s life.
The term “daddy issues” implies that it is the woman’s problem, not the result of a father’s neglect and mistreatment.
We have all heard it before. Men love girls with daddy issues. Girls with daddy issues are good in bed. Let’s unpack this language. Men love girls with daddy issues because they are aware they have been treated poorly by an important man in their lives and, therefore, hope they are more willing to accept poor treatment. Having paternal childhood trauma is incredibly difficult; women often struggle with searching for male validation, issues with confidence, trust issues and commitment issues. Women with daddy issues are deemed to be good in bed because men expect that they will be easily manipulated, seek their approval and fulfill their fantasies to do so.
Men are not hoping for an enthusiastic partner; they are expecting a sexual subservient.
The word “daddy” itself has been identified as this extremely kinky word. I have watched TikToks of people cringing at literal children calling their father, daddy. While that phenomenon could be dissected in a whole other article (very Freudian, I will say), there is this blind lust associated with the word “daddy” and girls with daddy issues. I have personal experience with making a joke about some of the childhood trauma from my father or indulging in what I thought was deep conversation about how I was raised, and I have been met with men foaming at the mouth, their lust so apparent on their face – a boner definitely forming in their pants.
I cannot lie, sometimes I play along and become this hot-man-eating-crazy-daddy issues-bisexual manifestation that these men want, but I, like all of us, have consumed this narrative for so long it is hard to break out of – especially when I am trying to figure out my own desires dissected from my want for male validation.
Women are born with built-in pain. From periods to childbirth to the pervasive issue of sexual violence, women bear pain their whole lives, and due to this, there is a systematic exploitation of this pain.
Female pain is abundant, and this capitalistic society has found a way to monetize and profit off it.
Sex sells and now female pain, childhood trauma and mental illness is sexy (plus, there is never a shortage of supply or demand). The media will force-feed us portrayals of the crazy-hot-daddy issues girl and tell us this is desirable, but it is not our desires they are thinking of. They are concerned with the desires of men that perpetually dehumanize women.
After I thoroughly understood the exploitation of female pain, I felt guilty that I still have issues with male validation; however, it is not my job to educate every man on the actual trauma that I have and many others have endured. Instead, men need to be held accountable for sexually exploiting women, which is what happens when they perpetuate the stereotypes that “crazy girls” are great in bed. The next time someone tells me, “Oh, you and your dad have problems, you must be really kinky,” anticipate my fist against their face.
Gwyneth Baker is a online editorial writer for Rowdy Magazine. DM her on instagram @gwynethbaker if you need someone to validate your feelings, share feminist theory, or incite your god complex.