Not Everyone’s Little Girl

Daddy Issues… This term of “daddy issues” is commonly used in a joking manner and misrepresented. Father abandonment, wither it’s from physically or/and emotionally, it is over simplified to media and should be taken more seriously. According to Urban Dictionary the definition is, “Whenever a female has a f***ed up relationship with her father, or absence of a father figure during her childhood, it tends to spill into any adult relationship they embark on, usually to the chagrin of any poor male in their life.” Chagrin means distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated. Urban Dictionary has some extreme definitions for a lot of words, but no matter where I looked, this was the basic definition (without the bad language). My parents divorced when I was very young, but my father and mother were both very involved in my childhood. However, in 8th grade my father passed away due to unexpected circumstances, putting me into this box of perceived ideas. So, hello everyone. My name is Erica and I have daddy issues.

The Stereotype Baggage

When I was finding primary sources, there was multiple articles titled like, “5 Signs a Girl has Daddy Issues” and “We Asked Three Experts How to Deal with Daddy Issues”. Right off the bat, there is a negative tone to either having father issues or knowing someone with them. The article I am choosing to help out with what comes with daddy issues is article written by Danielle Anne. She titled it, “Dating a Girl with Daddy Issues: 15 Things You Must Know”. According to Danielle Anne, this is what it is like dating a girl with daddy issues: (Only some listed)

“Getting her trust will be difficult. If you want a relationship with a woman who has daddy issues, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops before you get anything emotional out of her.

She will test you. Over and over again. Once you’re in a relationship with her, you might not notice that you’re actually engaged in a series of psychological tests your girl has concocted. Whether you pass or not depends on her sunny or stormy disposition.

She will probably have sex with you on the first date… or, at least, sooner than you think. This is where a woman with daddy issues falters. She perceives sex as a bargaining chip, and she thinks that giving in early will seal her fate as a girlfriend. Sometimes, it works… but most of the time, it doesn’t.

She’s a people-pleaser. She will give you all the help you need, be there when you feel sick or sad, and be more affectionate than your own mother. And the sex will probably be awesome. That’s because women with daddy issues tend to comply with men’s requests, just so they can feel wanted and needed.

She will flirt with other guys. It’s not that she wants to cheat. It’s just that she can’t get enough of men’s attention. If you can provide enough for her, she’ll be too distracted to flirt with other men.

Inconsistency upsets her. She knows when she’s getting enough attention, and she knows when she isn’t. You better know how much she needs, or she’ll make you regret not texting at your usual 8 PM time slot.”

Some of these are very specific, making this article not accurate. There were some that I agreed with only because that is just how my personality is. That’s how I was raised. I would like to think that some of you who read through these, you also have that trait. At one point in the article she has a heading saying, “Is it okay to date a woman with daddy issues?” I would sure hope so.

Popular Culture Representations

This is Karen Jackson. She is a character from the show ‘Shameless’ from Showtime and played by Laura Wiggins. At some point in her childhood, Karen’s mother became agoraphobic, which negatively affected her. According to the show, this is why she lost her virginity at 11 years old and became a sexually active character ever since. By doing so, she destroys her relationship with her father and he ends up leaving her life in the first season of the show before killing himself.

According to the signs, Karen fits them all for the stereotypically female with father issues. Sexual aggression: Yes, in the show she learns that she has a sexual addiction. Clinginess: Yes, she becomes attached to one of the main characters Philip, played by Jeremy White. Excessive friendliness towards guys: Yes, Karen was sleeping around with more than just Philip through the show and liked the attention. Defensive barriers: Yes, when her father and she started having problems, she would ignore like he wasn’t physically there because the way he hurt her before. Dating older men: Yes, while “recovering” from having a sexual addiction she meets Jody Silverman, played by Zach McGowan, at Sex Addicts Anonymous. His age is not stated, however throughout the show it is obvious he is not in high school with Karen.

I could give multiple examples from Shameless. It seems like Shameless is the epitome for father issues given that almost every main character has some kind of issue with their father, who may or may not be around. This is an act for the drama or for the realistic notions since there is no such thing as a perfect relationship.

For my next representation, I didn’t want to pick a made-up character in a Showtime TV show and found an article written by AJ (no last name shown) titled, “11 of the Hottest Celebs with Daddy Issues”. Ten out of the 11 celebrities were females and under which photo, there was a detailed paragraph talking about their father issues. One of them is a well-off actress, filmmaker, humanitarian, and activist. Angelina Jolie was born on June 4th, 1975 and soon after in 1976, her parents divorced. Her father left her both physically and emotionally as he was more focused on his acting career. As a teenager, she became a troubled. She found comfort in self-harm and later, started experimenting with all kinds of drugs as well as suffering from an eating disorder. According to the article, she was seen making out with her James, her step brother. Articles like these show how the media handles real life difficulties. The paragraphs only make these actresses’ lives look like a drama tv show and not taking these situations more serious.

Next representation: When I first started looking for artifact, I looked up daddy issues and so many memes showed up. This one stood out for multiple reasons. One, of course the stripper on the picture… Two, the writing that is on the picture was very interesting. “The only candy I am interested in swings from a pole and has daddy issues.” Putting the assumption that all females who have the occupation of a stripper have daddy issues. Not only are they having that assumption, but to call a female “candy” demonstrations that this group of women are not respectable.  Another stereotypical baggage about girls who have dealt with father abandonment.

Why should this topic matter more?

Father abandonment is more common than one may think and the effects are both long term and short term. There was an article, “Effects of Parental Divorce or a Father’s Death on High School Completion”, written based off a study by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The final sample consisted of a total of 3,450 people: 1,761 males and 1,689 females. The results were astonishing. With divorce, chances of completing high school before 19 are reduced by about 41% for males while for females who lost their father, 79% of females wouldn’t complete high school. Losing a father emotionally or/and physically has such a huge impact on someone’s young adult life creating this butterfly effect. No father issues are every exactly the same either. So, why should this idea of father abandonment have these standards that females don’t even try to meet and carry around this stereotypical luggage? Furthermore, according to the American Psychology Association, people who experienced harder life experiences become more resilience. “Relatively lower global distress, lower self-rated functional impairment, fewer posttraumatic stress symptoms, and higher life satisfaction over time. Furthermore, people with some prior lifetime adversity were the least affected by recent adverse events.” Why doesn’t popular culture and media show off these females who went through these hard experiences in life to be more empowering versus a walking car crash?

Angelina Jolie by seven years old was in her very first movie. Today, she has three Golden Awards, two screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actresses. She has three adopted children and three biological children with Brad Pitt! There is so much that Angelina Jolie has done in her life and has so much to stand for. Every actress that was on that list of “Hottest Celebrities with Daddy Issues” has so many accomplishments and they do not seem to get enough credit because of how poorly media represents this “kind of female”. They create this idea of women who lose their father, emotional or/and physically, and take it to the extreme and characters like Karen from Shameless are born. While this is good for drama and to get an audience, it is creating a poor representation of what losing a father really is like.

Conclusion

Before starting this project, I never considered myself someone who has daddy issues. I knew that I went through a hard-hitting experience that a lot of kids my age don’t really go through. Because of that experience, there is now this stereotype connected to my identity that wasn’t my choice. I am not a female who loves sexual attention from older men or some clingy people-pleaser. I am a female who is her own person and has her own experiences that make me different from everyone else a little. This is why I feel that the way popular culture and media represents this group of women is shown incorrectly by making it too submissive and too classified. I have been through a hard experience in my life, but this doesn’t make me weaker than any other female. I am strong willed, know what I want, and in some ways, have more empathy for loss. So, with that said: hello everyone, my name is Erica Riege and I am proud to have daddy issues.

Learning Moments

Week 3/Week 7: In the video, “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger, he showed multiple examples of how advising is all around is and compared oil paintings to ads today. They were all very similar with the poses of the pictures. Then, with the Ted Talk, “Do Copyrights Laws Stifle Creativity” by Lawrence Lessig, he talked about how new is not really “new”. I drew a connection with these with the idea of no originality anymore. In general, everything is formed off of something else and with how long the internet has been around and how long human have been alive, how many more things will be considered truly new without having to share that copyright.

Week 5: Another moment of realization that was important for me through this class was the weekly readings for week five, “Inequality in 700 Popular Films” by USC and “Every Single Word” by Dylan Marron. I was so unaware how little other cultures and races were shown on main streamed movies. To see the statistics from one reading and actual examples from the other was a great way to make the point that the minorities are still minorities in the production world. When I watch any kind of movie or TV show, I will pay attention to two things: are there different races/cultures playing in the film? If so, what are their roles?

Bibliography

  1. Anne, D. (2017, April 06). Dating a Girl with Daddy Issues: 15 Things You Must Know. Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://www.lovepanky.com/men/understanding-women/dating-a-girl-with-daddy-issues
  2. Karen Jackson (US). Retrieved May 20, 2017, from http://shameless.wikia.com/wiki/Karen_Jackson_(US)
  3. (2015, July 13). 11 of the Hottest Celebs with Daddy Issues. Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/entertainment/11-hottest-celebs-with-daddy-issues/
  4. Sapharas, N., Estell, D., Doran, K., & Waldron, M. (2016). Effects of Parental Divorce or a Father’s Death on High School Completion. Wiley Online Library, 53(8), 861-874. doi:10.1002/pits.21947
  5. Seery, M., Holman, A., & Silver, R. (2010, December). Whatever does not kill us: Cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience. Retrieved May 20, 2017, from http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2010-21218-001/
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4 thoughts on “Not Everyone’s Little Girl

  1. Hey Erica! I really enjoyed reading your blog post. It’s honestly kind of gross that there are articles like that “Dating a Girl with Daddy Issues: 15 Things You Must Know,” and the assumption that any girl with “daddy issues” is going to be basically addicted to the attentions of men. Like, women in general already have to deal with men who think all woman swoon over them, I can’t imagine how much worse it must be for women with “daddy issues.” It’s horrible that people make light of something like that, too. In the cases of losing a father (or father figure) that people boil it down to these inane stereotypes and have the gall to ask “is it okay to date a girl with daddy issues” like it makes them unworthy or something. I loved that you brought up how media focuses on the negative, and asked why they can’t talk about accomplishments instead. “So, with that said: hello everyone, my name is Erica Riege and I am proud to have daddy issues.” Really liked that, too. Good work! (:

  2. Hey Erica,
    I really liked your post, you discussed an identity that I feel like people may not think about. I also liked the examples you chose, I thought it was very effective that you used examples across different sources of popular culture and not just one type of popular culture, like only films. I thought your example of Angelina Jolie to be interesting and and revealing, just because it showed a real life example of how people negatively portray this identity but it also showed how so many woman have overcome this negativity, including yourself! Your post was very personal and I felt that that made your post espcially meaningful and enjoyable to read.

    Thank you,
    Mia

  3. Hi Erica,
    Your post was very intriguing, and just from reading the title, I was very intrigued by what you would have to say on this subject! Father abandonment, like you mentioned, is a very common occurrence as a theme within the media and to be quite honest, its a shame that such a subject is represented in a way that pokes fun at the people it is affecting. A lot of your examples also bring to light a gross double standard that says a lot about the way women are presented in the media and how they are often times oversexualized. How did this representation come to be? I ask this in a completely rhetorical way, of course, but I’m really wondering who thought that a broken family could be used for the purpose of interest or even comedic relief at times. As I was reading through your post, it definitely expanded my questioning interest on the topic. Great job!

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