Being a woman is amazing, but it comes with undeniable risks. Too often those risks can be traced back to something that has to do with men. The men who scream obscenities, “accidentally” bump into our bodies, call us names for rejecting their unsolicited advances, or do whatever it is they do to objectify us and exert their power over us are a problem. So are the ones that stand by and silently watch it happen. It’s why, as women, we live our lives defensively.
We expect and prepare for the worst whenever we leave our homes. We avoid activities we love because we can’t feel safe doing them at night. This is why we avoid public transportation when possible. It’s the same reason we make it a point to travel in packs wherever we go. It’s why we carry mace, or something more stopping with us. We keep our keys in our hands ready to scratch, poke holes in, and gouge anyone that makes us fear for our safety.
When Danielle Muscato went on Twitter and asked women what they would do if men lived under a 9:00 p.m. curfew, as is enforced against women in a few regressive nations, the answers where wholly depressing, and sadly unsurprising.
It’s not that women want to go out and do all kinds of crazy things at night, but if they do, that’s okay. Women want to do the simple things that we should be able to take part in that are missed. Going for a nighttime jog, maybe even with headphones on, would be great. Catching a bus without fear. Going to the grocery store alone at night. They are the kinds of things women immediately relate to, and miss themselves.
What we learn by reading what thousands of women answered is that the world feels, and too often is, dangerous for women.
Without fear of men, women might open doors at night. We might stop off at someplace new for a coffee. Maybe we would even smile more – because isn’t that what so many men keep telling women we need to do anyway.