Guest post: What did she expect when she?

Originally a comment by Jackie on Red shoes.

I’m so tired of being told as a woman that I should expect and prepare for the abuse misogynist men want to do to me as if men were hurricanes and I should know better than to risk being in one’s way.

What did she expect when she went to a party with friends?
What did she expect when she shared an opinion?

What did she expect when she wore that?
What did she expect when she got an education?
What did she expect when went out unveiled?
What did she expect when she dated a football player/fighter?

The message is that smart women are frightened, silent and move through the world like mice who know that predators lurk everywhere and one lapse of cautious vigilance means doom. Only a very foolish mouse would draw any attention to itself or make any noise at all. A wise mouse stays in dark corners. It is never comfortable. It never fights. When it is devoured, no one will be to blame. After all, predators predate and mice belong beneath them on the food chain. It isn’t a mouse’s lot to feel the sun or enjoy the freedom to move through the world as something other than food. It should have been more careful. What did it expect? A brave mouse is a foolish mouse.

Whether it is rape, stolen nude photos or murder at the hands of theocrats, someone will point out that the woman brought it upon herself for not being cautious enough of men and their power to harm her.

The charge to be more cautious of your oppressor rather than to fight them or live life as if you were really free and equal is not just for women. It’s for all minorities, especially black and LGBT folks. I’m so sick of that. That’s terrorism. “If you think we’re hurting you now, just wait until you piss us off. Pray we do not notice you. Pray we find you accommodating enough”. When you say something like “You better keep your head down if you know what’s good for you”, you are siding with the oppressor.

Please don’t.


  1. ScarletRevenant says

    And there was a school shooting locally today, in Marysville.

    Apparently “…the shooter was angry at a girl who would not date him, and that she was shot.” 2 dead including the shooter, 4 wounded.

  2. spin boson says

    I’m also annoyed by the related statement, “Oh, grow up. Don’t be such an idealist. Deal with it. This is the real world.” OK, so apparently the fact that (a) we are never quite finished growing, (b) we must of course cope with our circumstances on some level, and (c) there is a real world that will necessarily always be somewhat different than our internal representation, all means that (e) we never get to complain about our circumstances or any unfairness, ever. We must also avoid any idealism because idealism is childish. Apparently fairness and justice are just fairy tales we are supposed to tell children, like the Easter Bunny. When we properly grow up and accept our place, we apparently must accept that we have no right to complain, and should just quietly accept whatever crap our betters dish out. And this is the way it always was and always must be. To not just accept it is to be a fool. All complaints under all circumstances are a complete waste of time for everybody. Or so they tell me.

  3. says

    Excellent post, Jackie.

    And, while this attitude is most harmful to women, what it says about men is nothing good, nor is how it can lead men to think about themselves, given its justifying the abandonment of their freedom to choose, and responsibility for choosing, their values and actions.

  4. Jackie says

    Thank you, especially to Ophelia.

    I’ve seen this attitude used to victim blame people brutalized and murdered by police and raped and battered women so often lately. I’ve even heard/read it used to justify bombing civilians. I’d very much like to never hear/read it again, but I know I will over and over again. It’s such a relief to have places like this blog to come to for a break from that sort of thinking.

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