A superhero fantasy and the sad reality of life

I am angry. I have been increasingly for the last few months—perhaps longer. It’s the kind of anger that you feel at all times deep within yourself. It feels hot. And heavy.

I am angry that I spend all day in a job (that I love) thinking about ways in which to rectify the ‘blind spots’ in a medical system created by privileged men so that women can receive health care that addresses their specific needs. I get angrier when I walk home from work past the street where a woman was tied to an electricity pole and gang raped by five men, and when I pass the homeless women who are trying to figure out where they can sleep that night that will (hopefully) keep them safe from men who want to rape them. I am angrier still when I come home to find out that my good friend has been attacked by a man on her way home; she escaped but the woman after her was not so ‘lucky’.

I’m aware that as a white middle-class woman I experience men’s violence against women in a different way to many others. What must it be like for women who face the additional hurdles of race, class and/or sexuality?

Sometimes when this anger starts to feel like it will consume me I think of a familiar comforting daydream about a female vigilante group who take back the streets. It goes like this…

Women of various skills come together to form an organisation to patrol the streets of Melbourne and protect women against men’s violence (men fighting each other can sort their own shit out). They call it the Feminist Alliance (the FA for short). The tech savvy women use various forms of technology to conduct the surveillance and raise the alarm; the physically strong women conduct the ‘man handling’ to prevent women from being hurt and to incapacitate the man/men for the police to find and charge; the emotionally intelligent ensure the survivors (never victims) are supported; and the law educated pose as ‘everyday’ lawyers ensuring the men are bought to justice. They are never seen and most believe them to be a myth with the police taking the credit for each capture (to the delight of the FA who don’t need the unwanted and distracting attention that comes with such publicity). Nevertheless the ‘myth’ spreads throughout the world prompting similar organisations to be established with the single common aim of extinguishing men’s violence against women so that all people are safe to walk the streets again (unless men haven’t sorted out their aforementioned shit in which case they may not feel comfortable walking the streets until they do).

But the sad truth is that women don’t need female superheroes to defend us and fight for our safety; we need ‘real-life’ men to stop controlling, threatening, raping, and murdering us. Women don't need to fight for the freedom that men have; men need to take a step down so we are all on the same level and power (and its benefits) can be distributed evenly among us all.

Kate xx

Image via Death to the Stock Photo