Things Nice Girls Don’t Do
I was on my knees in front of her, my wife of (then) several years. We had talked about this, walked through this moment in concept. In theory, it was simple enough. She could slap my balls, squeeze my balls, hold and punch my balls, and now she would kick my balls. But when she swung her foot, it just stopped, like someone reached out a hand and blocked it. Not through any volitional cause; my tongue was almost hanging out in anticipation, and she was really intrigued by the sense of power in that moment, and yet …
I read months ago (and ever since have not been able to find) a post about women who can’t, who want to but literally are unable, to scream when raped. They want to, need to, and their survival may depend on it, but conscious mind and rational calculus be damned, rote learning of social rules takes over. These mental blocks can’t just be discarded. They can sometimes be unlearned, overcome, broken: but they cannot be ignored. Just because they are in women’s heads does not make them any less real.
I’ve heard (and probably read, but again I can’t seem to find where) that one of the toughest things for many women in self-defense training to overcome is the reticence to make noise. The socialization of the good-girl role, the selfless role, the not-making-trouble, not-taking-up-space role, starts early and never stops and that conditioning runs deep. (Harriet Jacobs’ original post is great, but I believe it is now behind a wall.)
Those blocks are real.