Security and Gender

I tend to consider myself a woman first. It’s the product of years of feminist reading and it’s not all bad. But there are times when I am reminded of just how cut-throat my gender can be. I could recount the high school incidents, the cheerleading escapades, but I tend to think of the things that have occurred since that time as being the more moving examples of gender bias I have been exposed too. So perhaps it’s not as ironic as I think it is, that I have really seen the tables turned on men in some critical ways.

For instance, the building I live in recently lost it’s security staff and only after a write in campaign were we residents able to get the company reinstated on an at least part time basis. That post can be found here. But only a few days later, a female resident STABBED her boyfriend for undisclosed reasons. He ran from the building, leaving a blood trail in his wake that has stained the concrete walkways outside. According to the janitor, there was a good deal of blood that he cleaned up from the floor outside the aggressors apartment.

Another gender bending situation occurred I was in massage school. All students rotated thru the schools student clinic to acquire hands on training. The Atlanta School of Massage Clinic by the way, has been consistently voted in as part of the Best of Atlanta Magazine for the price and overall quality of the Spa experience. Out of a class of 20 women and 6 men, not one woman REPORTED being sexually propositioned, or of having a client otherwise behave badly. But conversely, ALL SIX MEN REPORTED BEING PROPOSITIONED BY WOMEN.

So where was security? In the case of the male MT’s, there were teachers and a psychotherapist on staff to help them. In the case of the man stabbed, he ran from the building in fear and we have had no word on his condition.

When I first went back for my undergraduate degree in 2004, I thought I would be out of school by 2008. That didn’t happen and I ended up taking four years off. I lost my job at the end of 2007 and I have been steadily unemployed since that time. I thought it was the end of the world – almost. But today, after having re-enrolled, gotten my financial aid together and registered for summer classes, I can at least recognize that having been unemployed has allowed me to have the maximum amount of Grants that don’t have to be paid back, in addition to being awarded the maximum in repayable loans. The price has been living here and watching the measuring stick of morality shrink and wither away.

It’s given me a reason to consider anew, the arbitrary gender assigned to various social and political institutions.

So often, public social programs such as the section 8 housing in which I live, is considered and gendered in some discourses as ‘feminine.’ All too often single mothers are held up as the reason for social welfare, when there are just as many men utilizing the system and working it for their own ends. I have no idea what may have happened to create the situation that left a man bleeding last week. But I don’t think that stabbing him was the solution.

Luckily for all residents here at Courtview Towers, the owners of the building were willing to bring back the security staff at least part time. For the time being, Security is back on site, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. I don’t think that is enough but it  is better than no security at all.


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