"A woman’s worst nightmare? That’s pretty easy. Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed."
http://www.pbs.org/kued/nosafeplace/articles/nightmare.html (via alullaby)
That sums it up
[trigger warning for the commentary below]
This reminds me of a discussion we had in school, and one girl was talking about living in fear of her safety because she is a girl, and this guy chimed in and was all “It’s hard for guys too! I’m so awkward around girls! It’s embarrassing!” Yeah, not the same thing, exactly?
This reminds me of an article about online (heterosexual) dating that I read a while ago. It listed men’s and women’s worst fears about meeting someone from online. The highest ranked fear that men had was that their date would be fat, whereas the highest ranked fear that women had was that their date would turn out to be violent and kill them.
I think that says a lot.
Its interesting also that these fears sit subconsciously until woman are asked to exams their responses to men. We women will operate with this fear in mind, the way we protect ourselves, make sure our friends know where we are when we go on a date, words that we use while interacting with men, all in hopes they will not kill us, but simultaneously love us.
I think bell hooks made a point about this in her series on love. something along the lines of how can women hope to love and receive love from men when at the foundation of our relationships there is this strong fear of men. you can’t build true trust when your foundation is crumbling under you.
the scariest part is, once you recognize this fear, and face it, how do you address it when there is evidence of “good” men abusing, hurting, and killing women everyday?
I was in my early 20’s when one of my homegirls broke this down for me.
I was in a broken relationship, and one of the things was that bugged me at the time was that the girlfriend at the time would freak out whenever I got angry - I never yelled, never throw or hit things, mostly, I just needed some time to cool out.
“Why does she get scared when I’m angry? I’d never hit her!”
“But she doesn’t KNOW that. She can’t assume that. Look at how many dudes are out there pulling shit.”
And that stuck with me for a hot minute. The relationship was broken on so many levels anyway, but that fact still remains, as a man, I can’t fault women for assuming the worst in order to protect themselves, especially how the world’s patriarchy and misogyny rolls.
My brain knows that my husband won’t hit me. Really, the logical part of me totally gets that. But when we’re arguing he has to stay on the other side of the room & not yell too loud because my fight or flight instincts have 25+ years of being hard wired that loud = violent & our 11 year relationship isn’t long enough to undo that.
I’ve had continual discussions with Tchy about this, and I don’t expect to stop. It’s fair to say that there’s no one in the world that I trust more, and he has been extremely careful with me, but… the fact remains that he leans quite a bit towards the masculine, and this means that that fear is always there. The news of transmasculine folks abusing/raping people doesn’t help that fear any. :(
I’m learning not to apologize for it. It’s not my fault (nor, really, is it his) that I’m scared of dude-type people. But it’s always there. Which is another reason why I get so pissed off when trans men try to make transmisogyny about them.
men, read all of this please. including the commentary. esp if you consider yourself a Nice Guy.