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DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Women in public, no matte... » Reply #353

Response to chervilant (Reply #321)

Thu May 16, 2013, 08:06 AM

353. ah yes, the "freeze"

We Southern women were taught that from a young age. One is never supposed to acknowledge it --to "dignify it with a response."

A funny Southern writer, Florence King, really captured the weird class/gender/regional dynamics in that, because if a woman didn't acknowledge it--if she froze as if refusing to see anything inappropriate and continued on her business, as if that prurient world wasn't real to her, then that meant she was a real lady and the men felt guilty and wouldn't do it again (to her). So, our opportunity to seize "power" in that situation was the opportunity to assert class. And to prove we weren't Yankees.

That's a weird holdover from aristocratic notions of upbringing, wherein ladies do not acknowledge things that are inappropriate. So, what the system gets is women who don't argue directly back when they're harassed, but what it dangles in front of a certain type of woman is the opportunity to assert that she's a lady. Not exactly a fair trade, and one that reinforces the Madonna/whore complex.

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