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April 16, 2009

Teen hyenas? Not laughing.

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:22 am

In a new poll by teen expert Jennifer “Dr. Jenn” Austin Leigh, PsyD.,  98% of teen boys said they’d rather be in a relationship with “a girl who is a great listener than [with] a ‘hottie’.”

Okay, we’re listening. “If boys want more love and less sex for sport, this is really good news because teen pregnancy is up, teen girl-on-girl violence is going up [reports thereof are going up — Ed.], emotional abuse in teen relationships is rampant…any trend towards more civility is welcome at this point,” Dr. Jenn said in a press release that just hit BG’s inbox. “Kids want something more substantial in their lives…to be loved, respected, seen and heard deeply.”

Still listening. “We do our boys a huge disservice by not talking about male virginity or their romantic, tender emotions about sex.” says Dr. Jenn.  “Our boys are more than just their plumbing. Parents need to address their boys’ hearts and souls when they discuss sex with them.”

And! “The wonderful possibilities of where we go as human beings and the future of our planet depends on whether or not we learn to honor our girls. It’s that simple.” (Just ask The World Bank.)

But. BG has to wonder: how much honor is there in being called a “hyena”? Mmm, a hyena. Kind of like a lil’ cougar. Indeed, according to her website, “Dr. Jenn” has “coined the term ‘hyenas’ to describe the new phenomenon of sexually aggressive girls, taking as her model the female spotted hyena, which is far more aggressive than its male counterpart, right down to sexually explicit taunting.  It is now not uncommon for girls to strong-arm boys for sex, and that includes oral sex.  Some teenage girls even collect ‘V cards’ (virginity cards) to keep score of the number of boys they’ve deflowered.  It’s a growing trend. Girls like the power and thrill of being a guy’s first, even if they don’t have any feelings for him.”

Okay, now we’re not laughing. Surely there’s more than enough aggression to go around, and more than enough reasons why, in today’s porn-tastic culture, that aggression becomes sexualized, even by girls. But, you know, this aggro-girls “trend” story comes and goes like the locust. Several years ago, it was girls as perpetrators of violence, which — not that some girls weren’t perps — turned out to be more about increased reporting through zero-tolerance policies, etc. Before that, some of you may recall, it was sexually aggressive girls calling their crushes on that old-fashioned gadget, what do you call it, the corded phone? “Mean Girls.” “Do-me Feminists.” You name it. (Also, apparently, simultaneously, girls are getting more goody-goody. Go fig.) While our society has absolutely, definitely, indubitably become more more sensitized and prone to glamorized sex, violence, and sexualized violence, seems to me there have always been, and will always be, girls on both sides.

Also…hyenas? Hyenas. (Girls acting like stereotypical horny boys. Can it be coincidence that the female spotted hyena mates through a “pseudo-penis?”) Listen: you can argue, at least, that the “cougar” is, I don’t know, a majestic beast. But the hyena?  Yes, the hyena is considered a skilled hunter. But the hyena is not pretty. The hyena’s pelt is not prized. There is no sleek, elegant car called the Hyena. The hyena’s vocalization has been compared to a human laugh of the “hysterical” variety.

Dr. Jenn, if you want to honor girls, do not call them hyenas. Do not coin a calculatedly, transparently, sleazily headline-courting term that will do little but promote snickering and stereotype — even if (especially if!) the core of what you’re saying about girls and boys and health and respect has some merit and comes from a place of real and sincere concern. If your message is that kids want respect, then you’ve got to give it to them first.

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