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She's a chick - adaptation to the role of a victim

Updated on March 27, 2012
Demonstrating sexual behaviour does not always mean it
Demonstrating sexual behaviour does not always mean it

Writing on the theme of violence and abusive relationship, it's easy to fall back upon accusations, reveal the aggressor, explain his actions. Well, true, this way is possible, and the abusers could be portrayed in a very detailed way, with all their unhealthy motivations. However, let's leave them to themselves this time. The problem of violence is the choice of the aggressor. It's up to him to make this choice.

The problem I'm interested in is how can we avoid victimizing ourselves, individually and collectively? Is there any withstanding possible? And if yes, why don't women enterprise anything against the violence because their situation is more than serious - the gender violence is the reason why women die between the age of 15 and 45, every 15 minutes on the planet there is an aggressive action against a woman. The mass scale of this phenomenon can only be explained by its systematic character. The problem is, in this system, women represent the component of this very system. It is impossible to be a part of the system and not sustain the system even if it costs you a life! I am interested in such an inner psychic reality of women that allows them to become accomplice of this violence against themselves. And it's not just about putting all the fault on women or making out of women some kind of masochists.

There is an opinion that women adapt to the role of an "eternal victim" - and they feel comfortable about it. And there is an opinion going a little further - that women like to be victims, that they breed aggressors. These opinions represent trends that form the fact itself of female adaptation to the role of a victim. Not only do they learn how to rationalize their behaviour - they word it, explain it and make others believe it's normal. They also deny any idea of opposition, they reproduce their own traumatic experience again and again - as victims - and they pass it over to their daughters, which is so terrible all by itself! If we observe it attentively, violence towards women and girls, both physical and verbal, is always sexually colored.

There is a fear, also, in the subjective female terminology - the fear of death, the fear that makes us want preserve our life and keep safe, and this fear is formed under the secret threat of sexual violence. Where does this fear come from and why don't we even try to overcome it?

Tattoo is a way to stigmatize the body
Tattoo is a way to stigmatize the body

Problem Number 1 - Body

There is an axiom about the imperfection of a female body and the necessity of interference to control this body and perfect it. In social consciousness, a female body is viewed upon as a complex of problems that need to be solved. And also - it is important to keep an eye on the body so that these problems do not appear again. Initially, the female body is not adapted to social expectations, and that is why the forming and the discipline of the body must become the life goal of every woman! You are smiling now, but try to be honest - this is the opinion that is being formed by mass media and all other kinds of social frustrations. That is why when girls' subjective mind is being formed, discipline plays an important role: this is how a body, its movements and an appearance are formed that we can call female, mark as female, accentuate it in a special way and, if necessary, stigmatize it.

The physicality and the sexuality are inside the frame of all the female things and thus - it's a common marker and a stigma. A human body is never deprived of social marks - it is meant to be social and it is meant to be a way of non-verbal communication. It communicates something. And what does a female body communicate? The idea of social suitability and disposal. (I guess, the consequences of this idea are clear).

Weight control has become a discipline for a body
Weight control has become a discipline for a body

How the body is disciplined

The disciplinary practices applied to the body can be divided into three categories:

  1. Aiming to achieve the necessary body shape. It includes:
  • Norming of the necessary weight, height, foot size, etc. with a special fixation on eating which is a culturally admitted ideal: " A woman who eats little". Food prohibition for women is so fundamental that it pierces the symbolical field not only of the Western but also other cultures. For example, the well-known ritual of women eating the left-overs - after men. There are three important issues here: prohibition to eat as a symbolic prohibition on sexual satisfaction, prohibition to eat as a way to prohibit growth and maturing (the ideal body that a woman must try to correspond to is a body of a teenager). One girl, a victim of a maniac who managed to escape, in her story told about how he would not give her food, sometimes for several days, because he didn't want her to grow and become sexually unattractive. Actually, he wanted her to look at the age of 18 like a 10-year-old girl... Food also becomes a prize that one earns after completing several conditions or behaving accordingly. Anyways, it is supposed to be "indecent" for a woman to eat when everybody's watching.
  • violent ways of attaining the "ideal', especially, plastic surgery. It is one of the most aggressive practices, because it makes us look upon the body of a woman as a puzzle, a mechanical construction that must be perfected. Alongside, especially monumental figures and patterns are being formed: huge breasts, that are hardly found in nature and that are supposed to grow even though we eat so little, but because of our stupidity, laziness and lack of femininity they don't grow.
  • Special adjustments in clothes and shoes that "help" to model the body. The corsets that were so popular during the 19th century, had this psychic side effect that made female chests breathe shortly thus provoking anxiety and fear as the fast and abrupt breathing leads to panic. Nowadays, women use special underwear that tightens the body. Where the inner organs displace in this case, nobody seems to care. It was back in 1947 that Dior spoke about women's waists as "disgusting" if they are larger than 40 cm.

It is in fashion, but...
It is in fashion, but...

2. Learning special poses, ways of movement and gestures.

  • restriction of physical activity. There is a secret "table of ranks" regarding sports, games that are supposed to be unacceptable for girls. The development of muscle mass, physical durability skills, physical force are ill viewed. Static time spending is prevailing. As a result, beside other things, we cannot find our way when it comes to the sense of direction.
  • the restriction of the place occupation. The ideal is to be miniature, so women often tend to take less place by lowering their heads, shoulders, pressing their elbows to the sides...
  • a special way of pacing: the gait is short and because of the popular heels, is an aggressive practice because it hurts feet so much.
  • a special mimic - the habit to smile. The smile, shorts gestures and looking down are supposed to mean "female" but, initially, it's a way to show service and obedience.

The body of a woman is often used as a decorative surface
The body of a woman is often used as a decorative surface

3. The trend to show a female body as a decorative surface.

The body of a woman is decorated with all kinds of make-up, jewelry, and is showed off with clothes and shoes modelled in such a way that they restrict movements. The movements are then structured as a series of micro-poses.

A special attention must be paid to "the syndrome of a lying woman" - universal image in Western culture - paintings, photography - trend to depict a woman in a position lying or sitting, slightly or completely denuded. This image of a woman is consumed both in Eastern and Western cultures but it is reproduced on a massive scale in the West. Horizontal position and nudity symbolically represent a defenseless position.

All these practices make a sexual object out of a person. They are truly disciplinary and they do not imply any aspiration of women to look good. This behaviour is socially imposed. The global task of a woman is to become a sexually appealing object and stay it as long as possible. This is what viewed as a social position of a woman.

Disciplinary practices regarding girls form a greater part of their subjectivity if not all of it. Because, in reality, it is not forming of subjectivity but the introspection of a stereotype. The main ideas of this stereotype are:

  • a body of a woman is not perfect. It always needs to be decorated and changed. Only ideal body is socially admissible.
  • attractiveness means sexual attractiveness. If somebody likes you this means they want you.
  • the body of a woman is alien regarding a woman. It should be always disciplined. A woman must look after herself and take care of others, as well.
  • getting old is unnatural and amoral.
  • styling of a body is the only way for a woman to express herself. This styling must comply with certain standards.
  • a woman cannot have her own ideas about attractiveness, beauty. The only correct criteria is the evaluation of the others.
  • the prize for a beautiful body is the protection and love of a man.

People of positive projections do not notice negative reality
People of positive projections do not notice negative reality

The task that the society makes women do is an "obedient body" that can be controlled, used, transformed and perfected. This way, women learn that their body can only be legalized through the needs of another person, that the body can be manipulated with, and it is normal and even desired. This kind of attitude is in correlation with "to-be-for-others" set of mind which is against any instinct of self-preservation. Nothing can be spontaneous, usual, willed, natural in a woman, but it must seem so. And a woman must look happy.

There is a physiological explanation to the negation of negative thoughts and emotions and replacing them with positive ones. When we learn not to notice bad things in the left brain synaptic correlations take place and settle. They activate every time when a person is perceiving something negative or provoking anxiety. This blocks the perception of a negative event as such, and, on the contrary, makes us believe that the event is positive or neutral. People who are taught to project positive image of themselves do not lie. They are really not able to perceive any negative reality. This way of thinking requires a lot of energy. That is why people of positive projections are not able to undertake anything, for example, resist effectively or help a person in need.

Vermeer, Lacemaker
Vermeer, Lacemaker

Why so much talk?

I am writing so much because this information is really deep in our subconsciousness. We do not even suspect that many of our instinctive reactions have nothing to do with instincts. We do not suspect that our obsessive, hungry, anxious looking in every reflecting surface and nervous pulling up, making oneself looking good, all our efforts to look at ourselves from the back is not just a simple coquetry, but a real fear, that if today we do not pass this test of attractiveness, sexuality, femininity (the test that is taking place every day, 365 days a year!), we will be disposed like some garbage.

when speaking of the situation of sexual abuse, harassment or violence, the mentioned practices produce the following:

  • we do not have the skills of physical defense and resistance;
  • we are taught to perceive man's arousal as something positive;
  • we are taught to subdue the perception of danger and act against common sense;
  • we are taught to feel helpless and weak next to a stronger person;
  • we are taught to dissociate: in a dangerous situation we just "turn down": lower our eyes, smile, or.. we weep (habit, old habit...)

Women keep quiet, always quiet. And also they vent their anger on weaker ones. Also: they do not have any compassion nor solidarity for the like. This is what women do. We, indeed, act like that. And only when life gives us another lesson, we remember about justice, start demanding it. A very individual justice...

Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men's Violence, and Women's Lives (Feminist Crosscurrents)
Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men's Violence, and Women's Lives (Feminist Crosscurrents)

After reading this book you stop being an idiot once and forever, you start to understand what your life is worth, in reality. You understand why Fritzl kept his daughter in the basement, from the age of 18 till the age of 42, and raped her since she was 11 years old, and had 7 children with her, and her mother "did not suspect anything"...



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