Women In Public Spaces

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Although gender stereotypes may not apply for some people initially, people tend to conform to the stereotypes due to their upbringing, peer pressure, or social norming. Women, specifically, are often taught to be neat, kind, motherly, and polite, whereas men are taught to be strong, tough, dominant, and defensive. Due to these stereotypes that people believe in and, in some instances, fulfill, women tend to be put at a disadvantage, which may lead to them becoming fearful and lacking confidence in public spaces. Regardless of whether or not many women actually fit the stereotype, society often tries to oppress the value and ability of women by representing them as weak, inadequate, and afraid. Due to this representation of women in general,…show more content…
The behaviors of both men and women in public space are most likely influenced by the gender roles they learned as children. The idea that men are inherently stronger, more aggressive, and more dominant than women, paired with statistics and evidence from the media, has encouraged women to feel unsafe and afraid of men in certain public spaces. Women’s fear and insecurity stems from “the association of male violence with certain environmental contexts” such as, poorly lit, open, and deserted spaces (Valentine, 385). Valentine states that “A woman’s perception of her safety in her local neighborhood is therefore strongly related to how well she knows and feels at ease with both her social and physical surroundings” (388). Other contributing factors of women’s natural fear of men is their “use of physical size and comportment to intimidate women… male mockery of the ability of women engaged in sporting or leisure activities…, and male verbal harassment or physical forcing of attentions upon women unaccompanied by other males” (Valentine, 388-389). Women are consistently belittled and objectified by men in public, whether it be by an off-handed remark about the physical and emotional weakness of a woman, or an obnoxious and intentional objectification of a woman as a sexual object by loudly cat-calling and whistling after her in a public area. Actions such as these not only cause women to feel inferior and uncomfortable, but also suggest that men are superior and have a right to treat women however they

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