Emotional abuse shouldn’t be a running joke

Seeing someone control their partner’s behavior should be cause for concern- regardless of gender or sex.


by Katie Gregory, Scheduling Editor of Web

A phone lights up with text after text, an interrogating series of questions traveling through cyberspace, frantically sent in 10-second intervals with the sole purpose of questioning as efficiently as possible.

“Where are you?”

“Why aren’t you answering?”

“Who are you with?”

“I shouldn’t have let you go out.”

It’s not uncommon for one half of a romantic relationship to take on an almost parental obsession with the whereabouts of the other. That’s relatively indisputable. Where it gets foggy, though, is in the consequences of this behavior. As students at a single-gender school for girls, it’s something we need to discuss- but maybe not in the way that many would assume.

As an avid Twitter user, I come across insensitive humor made at the expense of others on a daily basis. However, there’s one in particular running joke that has kept me thinking long after I scroll past it’s many forms recently, and that’s the possessive girlfriend trend.

Behavior that would be “on-trend” in this occasion is seen at a disproportionate amount in heterosexual relationships. To give you a good idea of what I’m talking about, imagine the last time you saw a screenshot of an iMessage conversation between a girl and her boyfriend, she accusing him of being unfaithful because he liked another girl’s Instagram post. This may seem like a frivolous disagreement, but it is actually controlling behavior, bordering (in some cases) on emotional abuse.

Let’s just flip this around for a second. If a guy posted screenshots of him yelling at his girlfriend over text, threatening to end their relationship, or otherwise controlling her behavior, that would not be seen as just jealousy. For most people, it would be cause for immediate concern. So why is it that this is acceptable for the female half of hetero relationships to do?

The short answer is that it’s not. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

Since prehistoric times, women have been viewed as the weaker, more fragile and less threatening sex. It’s called sexism, kids, and it’s irritating as heck. The reason I’m bringing this up now, though, is because it’s also the reason that people tend to turn a blind eye to female abusers. A woman yelling at her male partner is viewed as “cute” and “feisty.” On the other hand, a man yelling at his female partner is seen as exactly what it is- dangerous and intolerable behavior.

This behavior isn’t just seen online either. Women are more likely to get away with abuse or assault when in public too. If you don’t believe me, feel free to find one of the many social experiment videos that test this theory on YouTube. I think you’ll find that this is a common double standard in today’s society.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that you are immediately an abuser if you get upset when your girlfriend or boyfriend likes someone else’s Instagram post. What I am saying, however, is that when you venture from the world of discussing it with them and explaining that it makes you uncomfortable and into the world of controlling their behavior, manipulating them, or otherwise preventing them from making their own decisions, you are- female, male, or otherwise.