“These restrictions on women’s everyday life, their use or exploration of public space, what they feel they can safely do or say, especially in the presence of men, simply mean that women’s freedom is systematically constrained by the fear of men, as a rippleeffect of the danger of widespread, intense, random male violence, and the practical need to solicit the aid of seemingly safe men for protection against the threat other men create…
… in Brownmiller’s discussion, while some of the “intimidation” she describes is expressed in selfconscious adjustment to felt dangers and explicit warnings; but a lot of it is tacitly inscribed in everyday relationships, or simply incorporated into an intensification of the sort of smallscale, subconscious acts of vigilance and self protection that we all carry out, as a daily routine, or as an expression of felt anxiety.
Another natural consequence of the danger created by policeblotter rapists is for men who don’t rape, and who sincerely care about the safety of individual women. Such men are in a material and emotional position where they easily see themselves as needing to protect the women they care about from the threat of male violence, and where women, reasonably responding to that threat, often need to solicit their aid. The desire to protect others from violence is, in itself, a personal virtue, not a social problem. But the danger is how tempting and easy — and how corrupting — it is for men to take the psychological step of going from an attitude human solidarity to a fantasy of male rescue, of coming to see themselves as defined by their identity as a Protector in contrast to frail womanhood, and of coming to see women as uniquely dependent by nature — rather than uniquely threatened due to the chosen actions of other men. And to go even further, to try to make sure that women seek and depend on and stay within the scope of a man’s “protection,” whether or not they really want it — by using intimidating and restrictive warnings, by harassing women — blamed as foolish or wanton — who step outside the dependence of that “protection” or the stiflingly close boundaries of those “safety tips.” That kind of imposed dependence can just as easily become frustrating and confining for women, and that kind of power can just as easily become corrupting and exploitative in men, as any other form of structural dependence and power can. Libertarians and anarchists who so readily see this dynamic when it comes to government police and military protection of a disarmed populace, shouldn’t have any trouble seeing it, if they are willing to see it, when it comes to male protection of women.30
All of this can happen quite naturally when a large enough minority of men choose to commit widespread, intense, random acts of violence against a large enough number of women. And it can happen quite naturally without the male rapists, or the male protectors, or the women in the society ever intending to bring about any particular macroscale social outcome. What does happen, noticed or not, is that women’s social being — how women appear and act, as women, in public — will be systematically and profoundly circumscribed, “
Remaining, IMO, one of the greatest essays ever on the rape culture, anarchism, spontaneous order, and so much more.
A small tonic against the omnipresent forces of manarchy.
- zhinxy posted this