“A woman…once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, we’re afraid they might kill us.”
I heard this quote on ‘The Fall’ recently, and I cannot seem to get it out of my head. For some reason it resonates so deeply with me. How can there be fairness in the world if our fears of one another are so inherently different?
I have never, and will never, be a feminist. That is, if to be a feminist you believe that women are better than men. I believe that men, women and anyone in-between should have the same opportunities as one another, but I also realise that equality is something that I will not see in my lifetime.
I come from a family of strong women. All the women in my life have forged a life where they are in control of their own destiny; they know their own importance and have put their qualities to good use in order to make the most of what they have been given. I have been shown time and time again how women can rise like a phoenix from the ashes, producing magnificence from debris, making the most of an inequitable situation and coming out very much on top.
Growing up, I always saw the men in my life as my protectors. The ones who would come to my rescue when I climbed far too high in the big oak tree, the ones who I knew were sleeping nearby and had the ability to confront anyone who decided to break in during the night; they were the ones who could throw a ball further, run that bit faster and open those damn jam jars.
My husband and I have joked about how ridiculous my fear of men can be sometimes. When living in a quaint, little village, in the depths of Devon, where the crime rate was next to none, I would refuse, point blank, to walk even the shortest of distances once the dark of night was upon us. If I were ever home alone, I would have to lock myself in my room and would stay up all night worrying about the slightest noise, which was more than likely going to be the cat. I never contemplated that it would be a woman that would bring me harm; it was only ever my fear of men.
I suppose these fears stem from the fact that I know, both first and second hand what some men are capable of. Although this is something that I still do not feel ready to share with the world, I know for a fact that almost every woman I know has got at least one story to tell. We hide these stories and bury them deep in our conscious, we try our absolute best to keep them concealed and carry on with life as though nothing has happened. We feel ashamed. We feel spoiled. We feel like there is nothing that can be done.
But this should not be the case.
All Women should be able to talk freely about what has happened to them. The more we keep it quiet, and brush it under the rug, the more it will become something habitual.
It is such a terrible shame, that these men, of who are the most evil and non man-like beings in the world can taint my view on an entire gender. Don’t get me wrong, I love men. I am married to a man who is kind and loving, and when he wraps his arms around me I feel completely and utterly safe. I have a father who is the most reliable and gentle man I know, who has always made me feel entirely loved. There are so many incredible men that I am fortunate to have in my life, but unfortunately past experiences will always be there to leave a niggling doubt in my mind, a lack of trust, the threat of pain.
Perhaps the best way to look at it is to think of eating out at a restaurant. Imagine you went to the same restaurant for one hundred days. Every single time you went, the service was impeccable, the food was delicious and you left feeling content and with your hunger satisfied. The next day, you go back for your one hundred and first time, but everything is wrong. The waitress is rude to you, your food is cold and indistinctive and you leave feeling disappointed and with a rumble in your tummy. Do you base all your experiences at the restaurant on this one instant? Is it fair to forget about all the good and only think about the bad?
For men and women to be completely equal is something that, in my opinion, will not be possible to happen while women and men have such contrasting fears about one another. It is something that needs to be addressed, not only by the powers at be, but by your average Joe, just you or me.
If we are able to talk about our fears openly, and use our logical minds to address this problem, then maybe, one day, we will all share the same fears, and the whisperings of inequality will be nothing more than the writings in a history book.