“The Threat Effect” at Dharma Cowgirl

(L-R) Archer and Monica. Photo by Colin McIllece.

My pal, former student, and fellow UWest employee Monica Sanford has a terrific new post at her much-beloved blog Dharma Cowgirl this week that is essential reading: “The Threat Effect”.

In it, Monica recounts a story of accidentally locking her keys and dog Archer in her car. What’s particularly striking, though, is the opportunity the incident provides for contemplating gender, safety, the workplace, and justice (among other things). Monica writes:

Women are discouraged from pursuing largely male professions in part because of threats to their personal safety. Our freedom of movement and career is curtailed. Here’s an idea: rather than saying women can’t leave the house at night because they might be assaulted, let’s say men can’t leave the house at night because they might assault someone? That sucks, right? It’s horribly unfair, right? Yet women have been told and accepted these messages and restrictions on their freedom since early childhood. Inappropriately ”protective” behavior, usually by men, is often passed off as well-intentioned, despite its impact on the “protectee.”

This was brought home to me recently in a Petsmart parking lot in broad daylight across from a police station. In this case, perhaps the stranger’s warning had nothing to do with my gender, but my reaction was certainly in response to his. I did not like having a strange man suddenly so close to me and speaking to me out of the blue. I felt threatened. I was startled. I got distracted. And I locked my keys in the car with my dog. Good one, fellas! Way to go, Monica!

Read the whole post here.

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