By Gia Samaniego
Countless pages could be written on gender. Where to even begin? Gender roles are something most of us constantly have to deal with whether we realize it or not, from childhood onward. It’s something that I have experienced my entire life and chances are that if you are female, you have as well. So what is this “something”? It is the fact that we face many limitations in our daily lives because of our gender.
Women have indeed made progress, yet don’t notice how in our daily lives we are doing things to protect ourselves from potential dangers. It’s as if we are living in a bubble of fear, which we get trapped into at a young age, with society instilling fear and suspicion. For example, a woman walking to her car in a parking lot would have to exercise a lot more caution than a man would.
This is what Jessica Valenti, author and founder of Feministing.com, calls the “rape schedule” in her book “Full Frontal Feminism.” She writes:
“Because of their constant fear of rape (conscious or not), women do things throughout the day
to protect themselves. Whether it’s carrying our keys in our hands as we walk home, locking
our car doors as soon as we get in, or not walking down certain streets, we take precautions.
While taking precautions is certainly not a bad idea, the fact that certain things women do are
so ingrained into our daily routines is truly disturbing.”
A problem with this “rape schedule” is that it ties in with victim blaming. If something were to happen to a woman walking alone down the street on the way from the bus stop to her home, she would most certainly be blamed. So many people say she should have “known better.” But, what if she had no other way of getting home? What if she couldn’t afford a car or had nobody to pick her up from school or work? What then? She would have had no other way of getting from point A to point B without getting out at the stop and walking for five to ten minutes to get to her house.
Blaming the woman is simply giving in not only to victim blaming, but also to this bubble of fear and “rape schedule” because it unconsciously makes everyone think that we should legitimately abide by these rules. People should be cautious of certain locations, take precautions at certain times, and be suspicious of certain individuals. We should be careful because there are things that could happen to anyone -whether male or female, young or old -not because of gender.
And ultimately, we should all realize that something is truly wrong in our society when a) as Valenti points out, certain things we do to protect ourselves, are so entrenched in our daily lives and b) victim blaming, especially when it comes to blaming women for things that are clearly not their fault is so rampant. We simply get used to these things, and believe that is just how life is and think nothing of it, until someone mentions it and you realize that you too have been living in this bubble.