Yesterday at Prix Europa we saw a Greek documentary called Sugar Town about a small village where the Mayor decided to help the lonely men of his village by organising wife-fetching trips to Russia. The documentary showed sadly how many Western men still see especially Eastern European women as objects, something to sell and buy. The men took for granted that these educated women would be willing to move to Greece. You could sense what the men were thinking:"I mean what do they have there that would keep them there?"
I consider myself a feminist and years in student life made me quite alert and sensitive to chauvinism. I am also extremely easily irritated when people start the John Gray Mars-Venus bollocks about our fundamental differences. Very often I feel awkward when being narrowed into a man, a hunter.
Tonight I promised to meet some of the other participants for dinner and we agreed to meet first at the conference venue lobby. As I left my hotel, a young woman left at the same time. She was heading - like I was - through the rather dark shortcut to the lobby. I did not know her and she did not know me. There was no one else on the street and I could hear her steps speeding up. I was trying not to look suspicious by slowing down my pace but I think that only alerted her more. It was obvious that she was conscious that there was an unknown MAN behind her and there was no one else on the street.
I have been in this situation a few times when walking home from a bar or so. Her feeling is something men do not experience. The risk to men - risk of violence - is different as it has not sexual component in it. From the man's perspective, today's case is a helpless situation where you nearly feel like shouting "really, I am not a rapist". This is part of the gender-specific geography of fear.
Must Reads in Media & Technology: April 26
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