The Allure of Bad Boys
My students ask that question all the time.
Do I have to choose?
Are those my only choices?
Because the women liked — and disliked — characteristics of both.
Forced to choose, about half opted for each type. Those desiring Rhett wanted his gusto and charisma, minus the philandering. Change – but keep the good parts. One woman insisted,
The problem is that Rhett Butler has never been loved by me. When I love him, he’ll change.
So plenty of women don’t want bad boys — or don’t want them to be very badly. But what about those who do? Women likely end up with hurtful men for various reasons.
Some get bored after making a “win.” One woman explained that at first she wonders, “Can I get this person? Am I good enough?” But after she wins him over she thinks, “Now I know and I’m bored.” Bad boys keep her guessing so at least life’s not dull.
Or, when a man sends mixed signals a woman can spend a great deal of time discerning his intentions. Realizing she thinks about him constantly, she may suppose she’s really into him.
A few are drawn to the drama that surrounds difficult relationships. There are no ruts.
Others simply suffer from low self-esteem and feel they deserve no better.
Some think that men who abuse them out of jealousy are showing great passion. He must really love me to get so upset! As Dr. Regina Barreca over at Psychology Today describes it,
They usually end up divorced in the end – once she gets that he’s just abusive.
Bad boys can come across as self-confident and powerful – even if it’s more bravado than real, and some women feel “special” at being chosen by these overly confident men.
Meanwhile, because our culture eroticizes male dominance, some internalize the notion and find it appealing. These women may not be so happy about the reality of domineering men in the long run. Like a friend of mine who was at first attracted to her ex-husband because of his male dominance. Later, she divorced him because of his male dominance.
Some think women are hard-wired to desire a strong man who can impart superior genes to her children. And so they choose cheating, abusive bullies who end up abandoning them and their children? That aids survival? Or does cruelty just masquerade as strength?
Many say their desires have changed. Their younger selves wanted bad boys, but with maturity they’ve turned toward good men. As one put it:
I did leave the cave man, regained my independence and self esteem, and found another man. To my surprise, this man is attentive, loving, tells me I’m beautiful (in sweats), and spontaneous. He picks flowers, decorates my car, cooks. . . I could keep going on, but I’ll say I feel like a queen!
To all the good guys: plenty of women want you, and more so as they grow and gain understanding. Hang in there.
Posted on December 30, 2013, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged bad boys, domestic violence, feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.