The issue of traveller safety encompasses many topics such as sexual assault, robbery and scams, motor vehicle accidents, food poisoning, STD’s, animal bites, etc. Within the mainstream and online media however most attention is directed to sexual assault, and mostly focuses on threats to the personal safety of women. It’s as if males are immune from muggings, drink spiking, motor vehicle accidents, etc … or are deemed to be incapable of benefiting from advice.
Nevertheless, out in the real world, males are in fact just as vulnerable to these threats as are females. No one questions that women are deserving of support and advice in relation to the issue of traveller safety. But it would appear that men being men, well you know, they should just suck it up. Or something.
I read a post in a feminist blog that informed me that men don’t need this sort of advice because men “can look after themselves“. Well to the extent that men *can* look after themselves whilst travelling, they do so chiefly by following the same sort of advice that they offer to women (and then get called victim-blamers!). Funny thing that.
Aside from feminist bias I can’t think of a logical reason why journalists persist in compartmentalising their coverage of this issue along gender lines … that is unless the goal is simply to perpetuate a myth of eternal victimhood.
And so it is that much of the online discussion of traveller safety is devoted to women railing against the injustice of being unable to dress like a hooker – according to local mores – without being approached with offers of work. Oh, wait, perhaps the patriarchy made them do it? Just what is the big deal about briefly modifying one’s normal fashion style? Those people promulgating this crazy notion of polite compromise as being akin to outright capitulation, have a lot to answer for. (Refer to these posts for more on this issue: Post 1 & Post 2)
Guys, on the other hand, seem to be able to enjoy their holidays just fine without the need to show off their butt cheeks whilst shopping in the market.
No, no-one deserves to be harassed or raped. And in an ideal world we could wear whatever we chose, and go where-ever we wanted at any time of the day or night, without attracting judgement or a violent response.
But it’s not an ideal world, and it is foolish to ignore patterns of behaviour correlated to higher levels of threat, in favour of feel-good public rituals and esoteric babbling about the need to “educate” men and boys. Sounds a lot like comfortable insulated upper middle-class delusion to me. The criminal underbelly of society, along with the mentally ill, naughty boys (and girls!) one and all … they just need a good talking to, and a couple of polished Powerpoint presentations should straighten them out.
Christian schools have been teaching the ‘do not steal’ lesson for a couple of thousand years now, and we still seem to have a problem with theft. I am not saying that there is no place for education, but I sure wouldn’t be relying on it as the biggest stick in my armoury.
Oh, but heaven help any man who attempts to join the discussion and suggest tips like “don’t get drunk or take drugs”, “dress conservatively” or “don’t walk alone at night”, for they are immediately labelled victim-blamers and rape-apologists!
This theme, that the behaviour of women never causes nor contributes to the problems they encounter or anything bad that happens to them, is a feminist mainstay. And dare you suggest otherwise then you are the bad guy, even if you really don’t think you are … because your mind has been corrupted by “cognitive bias’ and ‘systemic sexism’. Move over Scientology!
An example of a recent article about traveller safety that demonstrates this narrow fem-focus can be seen at http://www.chiangmainews.com/ecmn/viewfa.php?id=3795
An alternative position is provided by this article – http://matadornetwork.com/change/travel-safety-is-not-a-gendered-issue/
Did you know that some airlines still have a policy of not seating unaccompanied minors next to men? I guess that haven’t read my post about female kiddy-fiddlers.
Airline discrimination table
And so in April 2014 a Australian feminist journalist by the name of Tracey Spicer wrote an article about how she didn’t want her children sat next to men on flights – see the article and related discussions here and here. This article in a feminist web site contributes nothing to the debate but there are some interesting points buried amongst the readers comments.
Yet despite the fact that men on planes are a cause for concern, on account of them probably being perverts, these men stepped in to help the flight attendants when help was needed.
Oh, but I love this article, it contrasts feminists silence about men being required to sit away from unaccompanied children, with the requests of ultra-orthodox Jewish men to be sat away from women.
On a positive note, in July 2014 an article by Amanda Blair entitled ‘We’ve become too paranoid about men in the company of children‘ highlighted the way many people assumed the worst when men were observed in proximity to children in playgrounds, shopping centres, etc. This UK newspaper article addresses the same issue, as does this item.
This blog post discusses an article by Wendy Tuohy on the same topic, but which in this case drips with hypocrisy bearing in mind the pronounced feminist bias of her prior repertoire of articles and offerings on social media.
This family-oriented tourist attraction in England has taken the step of banning unaccompanied adults from entering, though I suspect that unaccompanied women would not encounter a problem.
NFL player sues United Airlines, alleges woman sexually assaulted him on flight (21 May 2020)
Two ‘dirty’ female plane passengers leave social media grossed out (9 March 2020). Not so much a safety issue as one of empathy and respect for others around them.
Mum and daughter face court for allegedly attacking pilot in cockpit (4 March 2020) UK
Mother, 38, is spared jail for trying to commit sex act on male passenger on TUI flight after ditching her daughter, 7 (4 February 2020)
Drunk flight attendant busted after passing out for entire trip (10 August 2019)
Kind stranger comforts scared 96-year-old on flight (9 August 2019)
Woman smashes man with laptop during violent argument on aeroplane: ‘Just take her off the plane!’ (24 July 2019) USA
Drunk flyer kicked off plane, arrested for disgusting act (18 February 2019)
Women-only plane seating needed to combat sexual assault and midair ‘manspread’ (7 December 2018)
Air India starts selling seats in female-only section (17 January 2017)
Angry woman slaps airport worker in London after missing her budget flight with Ryanair (13 January 2017) UK
Businessman tests airline on gender discrimination by saying he can’t sit near men (25 October 2016)
Women-only train carriages? What a ridiculously regressive idea (4 May 2016) Australia. Pro-feminist article attracting more that 1,200 comments
City of Perth trials pink ‘female-friendly’ safe bays with better security (13 April 2016) Australia
Women-only ‘pink carriages’ idea for Aussie trains causes controversy (5 April 2016) and ‘Pink carriages’ for women only draws fire from feminists and commuters
Travel advice: Five places that women shouldn’t travel to (3 December 2014) The focus of this article appears to be mainly ideological dangers. In such places one might catch sexism from a seat in a bus.