Why do girls cut themselves more than boys?

Why? I have heard the statistics and self-mutilation occurs far more often among women than men, why is that? What research has been done into it and what are currently the most popular theories?

my guess is that girls are taught to oppress their physicalness and not show it in their daily behavior.

Boys are sort of encouraged to express it.

But I could be way off, just my 2 cents.

A WAG: More girls than boys are sexually molested, which can lead to this type of behavior.

Because it’s “nicer” to hurt yourself than others, and girls are taught to be nice. Don’t lash out.

It’s okay for boys to get aggressive, though, so they go pummel whoever is bothering them rather than internalize and hurt themselves over it.

Isn’t it also considered a way to exercise some small amount of control over your life? If that is true, then it makes sense that girls, who still have less autonomy than boys (although that’s changing) would be more likely to cut themselves. I think of it the same way I think of anorexia, which is or was thought to be an attempt to get control over one’s life.

In what way do girls have less autonomy than boys? I’m talking about in 2004, not 1954.

Any evidence at all that more girls than boys are sexually molested?

I’m not convinced most cutters do so because someone is being mean to them. I think it’s more related to internal emotional pain, as opposed to externally caused.

One cutter I was close to explained the compulsion to me as a way of converting emotional pain into physical pain. In that context, I could easily imagine a boy converting his emotional pain into somebody else’s physical pain, or even his own if he should pick a fight he knows he can’t win. Sort of a “cutting by proxy” in the same sense as a “suicide by cop”.

Some thoughts:
3 times more females than males report a history of attempted suicide.
4 times more males than females actually commit suicide.

It looks to me like males are less likely to try and get attention, or to tell people they have a problem.

Cutting yourself, like an attempted suicide via means that you know will likely fail, can be a way to get people to notice, and possibly help you.

Males are far more likely to just bottle up their feelings, telling nobody and not making it obvious, then killing themselves via a method not likely to fail.

Yes, but most cutters aren’t doing so to cry for help, or at least that’s what they’d claim. And cutting != attempted suicide.

Do people who attempt suicide claim it was a cry for help or has that just been the general diagnosis of their cause?

When my sister killed herself it sure wasn’t a “cry for help” - she went to great lengths to make sure she would not be found in time. And she had zero prior attempts, never mentioned offing herself, etc. So much for stereotypes and pop psychology.

MY theory - actually, more of a hypothesis - is that when women get destructive they tend to get *self-*destructive, whereas men tend to lash outward. That’s a tendency, not a hard and fast rule - I’m sure there are male cutters as well as female, just as there are male anorexics. Is it nature or nuture? Probably some of both.

I’m going to give this a big WAG from a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator point of view. It’s not all backed up by statistics.

65% of women are F for Feelings which also means values, as opposed to T for Thinking. This is very likely one aspect of it, athough it is not deterministic. I’ve known several young women who cut themselves and it is often times situational and enviromental factors.

As a matter of statistics, I belive ENFPs are most likely to be anorexic, and I know that INFJ women (a statistical minority) have a high tendancy of self-mutilation.

95% of self-mutilators whose object is self-harm were sexually abused as children.

70% of those with Borderline Personality Disorder practice self-mutilation.

75% of those with BPD are female.

The most-cited explanation for why more females self-mutilate with intent to harm is that they are less likely to express aggression towards others and therefore would need to express that anger towards themselves.

Citations?

http://www.pamf.org/health/healthinfo/index.cfm?page=article&sgml_id=ty6802

http://www.aapel.org/bdp/BLselfharmUS.html