So, I’m browsing Kitty Bradshaw’s lovely blog the other day and come across her post about Tionna Smalls’ new book ‘Men Love Abuse.’ Rather baffled by the title to begin with, I read on and concluded I will not be purchasing this fine piece of literature. In a time where so much energy is devoted to finding a significant other, I really can’t get on board with the age old theory of ‘just be f*cking awful to each other and you’ll get married.’ Surely we should’ve come up with some more advanced schools of thought by now.
Let’s get one thing straight right from the get go here; no I am not hating on Tionna Smalls. Quite the contrary. When I first started this blog, Ms Smalls’ blog was just taking off and I was inspired by her drive and vision. I followed her rise from blogger, to columnist on Gawker, to author and TV star. As the blogging journey goes, she’s pretty much living the dream. I have nothing but admiration for that. Seriously. But I just can’t get behind the message of this book.
Firstly, the title offends me. Men Love Abuse? No they don’t. No one does. Frankly, this old ‘treat ’em mean to keep ’em keen’ adage that has been bandied around seemingly since the dawn of time is quite possibly, the biggest load of bollocks ever sold. Was Mary a complete biyatch to Joseph to get him interested? I think not. (Mary had mad game though, getting Joseph to stick around even though he wasn’t the baby daddy). And on a more serious note, that attitude has most likely been the reason why many stay in abusive relationships, because stupid phrases like that make them believe that being hurt is actually validation and love. If a friend is a complete twat to you repeatedly, you cross them off the Christmas list and X them out of your life. They don’t get special privileges. Apparently, Tionna’s philosophy is ‘be a bitch and you’ll get hitched’, for which, I actually have no words.
There are elements of her stance I agree with, such as not making your man your complete centre of your universe (you’ve gotta have some other stuff going on ladies). While Tionna says men appreciate a woman who doesn’t play games, that seems to be exactly what she’s advocating – playing the game of being nasty to keep him interested. What if by nature, you’re actually a very nice person? What if all this acting aloof, disinterested and mean is just not in you, then aren’t you just playing games anyway? Furthermore, I’d say adjusting any part of your character to bag a man would be the ultimate sucker move.
Sheesh, what ever happened to just being yourself? If you can’t just be who you are around someone you like, then that person really isn’t for you anyway. But the notion that ‘Men Love Abuse’? Ummm, just no.