March 9, 2015
In America, women are deemed more approachable than men, leading to unfortunate interactions between strangers.
Since people can be kidnapped and hurt, all strangers are seen as a threat. Of course, approaching a stranger might be questionable depending on the circumstances.
But in simple stranger situations, women are treated kinder than men.
As a college student, I have met people that had the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. They usually come back explaining how everyone is nice, as if they all were your friend.
In America, people love their space and privacy. We prefer to keep to ourselves and when our bubble is popped, especially by someone we do not know, awareness and anxiety levels shoot up. We don’t know whether it is OK to trust this person.
I catch myself being suspicious of others, even other students. Even after realizing that this person may just want to ask how my day is, I still have my guard up until after the interaction.
For over a century, women in America have been fighting for equal rights. But in these instances I have noticed that men receive the cold shoulder more often than women.
This could be due to the connotations that are associated with both men and women.
Media is a powerful source. The agenda-setting theory says that media is not telling us what to think but what to think about. Scrolling through Facebook every day I see story after story about who has been arrested or what crime was committed.
In a majority of these stories, men have committed the crimes.
Women commit crimes too, but it is men that are more often shown and what people are used to hearing and seeing.
In the back of our minds we form negative stereotypes of men. Not only do we read stories about men committing crimes, but stereotypes for men are created through advertisements, television and movies.
Media corrupts our image of both genders, but it is these stereotypes that explain why people will react relaxed or unalarmed if a woman were to ask where they can find the nearest gas station. It seems people even stop for women crossing the street more often than for men.
Not everyone does this, but there are a lot of people who will at least subconsciously do so.
Don’t just hold a door open for women; hold it open for men too. Do not just be courteous to women, but to men too, in any situation.
Safety is important and it’s necessary to be aware of your surroundings, but if you are going to be cautious of strangers, you should be cautious of men and women, not just one or the other.