Newt In A Tea Cup











{December 26, 2006}   The Fear

So here I am with my glass of Vermouth and Creme de Cassis, reeling from all the food of the holiday season and I feel it’s time to write something. I’m not quite sure what yet and I’m ever so slightly tired but here it goes anyway.

I guess what I’m going to talk about is The Fear.

We all know It, us women. We live beside It and sleep beside It. We walk with it burrowing in our minds and It has a little conduit that permits It to climb up and out at any time.

And yet, we don’t like to talk about it. Oh, of course we infer. We chat about the men who came up to us, about their chat up lines and how we wish they’d stop. But no one talks about The Fear. We don’t need to.

But at the same time, we don’t know how.

Funny how we aren’t encouraged to talk about much more than the superficial (probably cause in my experience that as led to a lot of feminist-style conclusions and general wickedness.)

How do you express something so primeval, something so basic and so ingrained that we think about it without knowing we are? How do you describe breathing?

Ever since we are little we are told what to be aware of, not to play too rough (because we’re fragile aren’t we?) and all the stories we hear tell us exactly how easy targets (because we are targets, they say) we are.

The world is full of bad people and they all want to hurt you, to do things to you. Watch out where you walk, who is there, be discreet.

Even now, it’s well known that the easiest trick in the filmmaking book is to show a woman walking alone in an alleyway and bingo! We all know that an unacompanied woman is going to end badly – unless the male hero saves her of course.

We are told that we are at the mercy of men to save or hurt us from Red Riding Hood to CSI.

And this creates The Fear.

Perhaps The Fear is the knowledge and worry that we are not strong, that we are not in control of ourselves. That we are commodities and prizes and worse than that (whisper it) disposable.

The Fear is for when we walk faster and clench our keys in our hands because of the man behind us. The Fear is when we watch our drinks like hawks and forget to dance. The Fear is when we make sure we wear so called “modest” clothes when we go on a walk so we don’t look like all those raped, bruised and battered women in the films and stories- those women whom we were told are stupid and brought it on themselves.

But who else is there?

None of us, I think, identify completely with the other saintly pure version of womanhood that we are given.

Deep down we know that we are the same as that attacked and hurt woman; that we are sisters and linked. And if she deserved it, we think without knowing, then what protects me?

Because The Fear is the one thing we all have to some degree or other- even if not for us, we worry and are scarred for our friends because of that universal primeval Fear that wraps around our very hearts.

We have no one to protect us except for ourselves and we are told again and again that we are fragile and break easily. So we turn to those we are scared of in the hope that they’ll allow us the freedom to be safe.

Whenever I talk to my womanish friends about this (because I’m the type of person who doesn’t shy away from TMI and gets people to do the same after a while) they always say “Men will never understand.”

And they won’t. Because they implement it collectively, a little pebble each to create a veritable mountain of Fear, they do not feel the individual weight of those of us underneath.

Because It is our Fear and our weight as women. But It shouldn’t be.

And once again I’ve waxed poetical and haven’t written much solid. But I’m writing this so I can understand myself and my own- something that women aren’t encouraged to do beyond the consumerist shoe shopping trip.

I’m sick of The Fear. It makes me sick. But it’s all I’ve ever known and I don’t think I’ll ever be free of it. Only we can understand but until the men take the personal responsibility to do their part, It’s not going anywhere. But sometimes I wonder if they’ve got too much privilege to even notice It- because they don’t need to.

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The Fear. Yes, I think we all have it, and probably the more aware one is of the ‘way things are’, the more fear one has.

Charlie did a similar post a few months ago:
http://speakoutonmaleviolence.wordpress.com/2006/08/13/my-fear/



tcupnewt says:

I just read that post- it’s very true and helpful to link together this kind of shared experience. I guess it’s one thing for women to all know that they feel this and it’s another for them to realise why exactly and that it doesn’t have to be that way.



Men have no idea what it is like to walk around in women’s skin. The fear of rape is there, 24-7, whether or not spoken about, or even whether or not thought about consciously.

The closest they can come (to constantly fearing rape) is being in prison. Therefore, the world at large is a prison for women.

I want to stage a prison break.



tcupnewt says:

So true- I remember a white van that stopped in the middle of a roundabout (!) to yell at me about my knee-high boots, in the middle of the day. If someone is that desperate to be an ass it’s impossible to feel safe no matter when and what we do.

A prison break sounds good- and chipping away at a wall with a spoon sounds like an apt metaphor for what we do (or feel like we’re doing) in our lives.



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