As women, we’re taught from a very early age that we’re always at risk. Sure, it starts off equal: when you’re a child–any child–you’re told all these horror stories of evil people kidnapping children, whether it’s via Hansel & Gretel, after school specials or particularly blunt parents. Both little boys and little girls are in danger when young, but the older we get, females are specifically supposed to be in a constant state of fear. As men’s bodies and societal identities become increasingly dichotomous from females’, they are told to become protectors while we are told to get used to fear.
We’re taught to adjust our way of life to circumvent danger. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t leave the bar without friends. Watch your drink. Don’t get too drunk. Wear something you can run in. Keep your cell phone charged in case somebody follows you. Cry “fire,” not “rape.” Take self defense classes. Carry pepper spray. Always glance over your shoulder, behind your front seat and outside your door.
Because of the threat that we’re told others–namely men–pose to us at all times, we become wholly responsible in preventing harm’s arrival at our doorstep. This chronic state of fear that we’re supposed to be in has created an entire market for self defense products specifically geared toward women.
But my issue isn’t with the idea of protecting oneself; it’s much more with the idea that it’s entirely our responsibility to do so, and the fact that so many people make money off of that specific fear.