Pop star Taylor Swift said, “I think every girl’s dream is to find a bad boy at the right time—when he wants to not be bad anymore.” But in Thug Love, Raymond D. Petty, PhD., argues the opposite: that there’s a solid population of women hooked on “bad boys” acting bad.
An adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Bowie State University and the College of Southern Maryland, Petty explores the psychological underpinnings of bad boys and the women they attract, drawing on 750 surveys, numerous individual interviews and dozens of case studies conducted over a seven-year-period.
According to Petty, women are drawn to thugs either for: “protection,” “a challenge” or because they believe they have the power to “fix him.” His elaboration on these points and his many anecdotes of “bad boy” relationships provide insights that will be useful to readers. Less effective is the author’s promised goal of offering “tips, tactics and theories to help women,” as the book’s back cover states.
For example, Petty notes that women who crave a challenge have a competitive mindset and enjoy the power and control they gain from winning over a “bad boy.” His advice for turning these issues around, however, is remarkably superficial: “[S]top looking for a challenge and start being one.” If a woman is in a bad boy relationship in order to fix the guy?: “[T]ake the ‘him’ out of ‘I want to fix him,’ and replace it with “me” I want to fix me.” Points well taken, but without more specific guidance, women will find such advice tough to put into action.
On the upside, Petty explores relationships from various cultures and races, a rarity in most self-help books, concluding that “thug love is not race or culture sensitive.”
Women looking for step-by-step solutions to help change their self-destructive behavior arena’t likely to find it here. But those desiring insight into what’s driving them towards a bad boy should find provocative ideas in Thug Love.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.