What Monsters Sleep Under Your Bed?
His answer not only reminded me that oppression oppresses the oppressor, it also felt fascinatingly foreign to me. As a petite woman, I can't recall being acutely afraid of inspiring much fear.
At an early age, girls are often trained that we are prey. We need only open a volume of fairy tales to see how frequently we are victimized. Just in case we aren’t frightened by Little Red Riding Hood, the Charles Perrault version offers us a "moral" at the end, telling "young lasses," particularly those who are "pretty, courteous and well-bred" that they “do very wrong to listen to strangers." And seemingly "gentle wolves," he warns us, may turn out to be the most dangerous.
I’d like to think it’s possible to deduce from this "moral" that it’s providential to be old, ugly, loud-mouthed and rude, but clearly that’s not the message here. We are instructed to trust no one and go nowhere.
Eventually, we may grow annoyed that these "wolves" dictate whom we speak to; our comings and goings. We may resent that this moral burdens us with avoiding such indiscernible wolves instead of shaming and blaming the wolves themselves for their wolfish behavior. And we may even wish to bare our teeth and growl to keep any wolves at bay, which would imply - instilling fear in another.
So do I, as a feminist, desire women to be seen as a formidable force? Do I fear that abandoning anger means abandoning justice (since anger can be a catalyst for positive change).
Still, I know women are capable of waging a tyranny of fear, albeit on a smaller scale than men (who still claim the political and global arena), in households and workplaces. I’ve often interpreted such fearsome behavior as a manifestation of helplessness rather than power, but is it less reprehensible?
"I don't ever want to instill fear in someone else."
This answer intrigued and surprised me. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. I would have considered instilling fear a luxury of the powerful.
But how can I discount the power of women so absolutely? And wouldn’t I desire to use whatever power I possess to instill peace, not fear, inside this fragile world?
And I can’t help but wish that Our President had "this monster" sleeping under his bed.