Such a great explanation of the ways in which risk society and rape culture affect women and girls’ lives on a day-to-day basis!!
At the bottom of all the hacking and scolding and “innovating” is a pernicious indifference towards women’s freedom to participate in the same kinds of small daily pleasures our male peers take for granted. In the name of our safety and well-being, we’re supposed to forsake (or at least fret over) silly contemporary courtship rituals like sexting. We’re supposed to guard our bodies like a secret. We’re supposed to be on such high alert for sexual assault that we test every stupid drink that passes our lips. We’re never, ever supposed to relax.
When something as comfortingly frivolous as painting our nails becomes a reminder that we’re all just one unlucky Tinder right-swipe away from the emergency room, what psychic space do we even have left for fun? How do we escape from this 24/7 obsession with our own safety? This is how a culture that relies on women’s hypervigilance about their own bodies can make us crazy, shoehorning self-protection into every facet of our lives at the expense of the enjoyment and distraction these seemingly meaningless indulgences provide.
What IS risk society you ask?
"She shouldn’t have worn that short skirt or drank that night, she was totally asking for it!"
"You left your door unlocked, of COURSE someone robbed and raped you. It’s your own damn fault. Next time lock your door!"
"She took the naked pictures so it’s HER OWN FAULT they existed to be stolen!!"
Risk society (see Ulrich Beck’s “Risk Society”) is one in which individual people are held responsible for IDENTIFYING, MANAGING — and in the case of perceived danger, violence, and crime — individuals are held responsible for AVOIDING risks. Any citizen deemed to have failed to manage or avoid risks is responsible for whatever befalls them.
In a risk society, then, offenders are constructed as reasonable actors who only take the opportunities made possible by other people’s unreasonable, or even careless and/or stupid, risk management.
Risk society is future oriented, always preoccupied with managing the perceived potential dangers around the corner. Dangers that are not “real” or “material”. These dangers are only a perceived, imaginary, potential for the future.
This means that women are “responsible” for managing their actions, clothing, and how others perceive them in order to somehow reduce their perceived risks of being harmed. So, when a man rapes, beats up, or murders a woman, media and the law hyper-examine irrelevant shit like her appearance, sexual history, as well as her actions prior to the offence to decide the degree to which she is at fault and the offender was acting reasonably. Those women who the public and the law deem to have failed to keep themselves safe — like the women whose nude photos were stolen and leaked — are constructed as blameworthy on a sliding scale of melodrama and scandal.
North American/Western Culture IS Risk Society!
Risk society BLAMES victims and SUPPORTS offenders!
Fight Risk Society and end the bullshit!!