What Are Women Worth at The End of The World?

Many of the depictions of apocalyptic life we see are over the top and hyper-fictionalized.  In the few more realistic versions, there is a disquieting, reoccurring theme: women are weak and they can be broken, owned, and kept.

We see forced prostitution, the normalization of rape and capture for fun and profit, and maybe worse yet, women who stand up and act like people–especially strong people– are considered anomalous. If a woman speaks up, hunts, protects the group, or displays any skill outside of making babies, tears or meals she’s wowing the audience or they’re rolling their eyes.

The fact that a strong woman or girl invested in her survival is a novelty should be a red flag. If the apocalypse happened tomorrow, would the women you value today be seen as valuable people or just usable commodities?

Part of survival training needs to be not only developing the ability to stay alive but also the fortitude to fight for that life and your right to live it well and freely. I’ve mentioned before that part of a successful apocalyptic life, especially for women, will likely involve killing some jackholes who think they’re maleness affords them privileges to you femaleness.

I definitely see there being appropriate times to be a hooker on your own terms in the post-apocalyptic world. What is never okay is being used, abused, or manipulated into any situation be it sexual or otherwise.

So, Mitch has forty pounds on you and all the food. That makes you broke not worthless.

Kyle gets frustrated and takes it out on you because it’s hard being a survivor and you’re– anything that comes after that is bullshit. Kyle needs to get grateful about the fact there’s another person watching his back and not start handing out reasons for him to get got.

It’s more than a little disturbing that, in what is currently considered civilized society, on average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States1. Not by strangers or hobos, but by people who they welcome into their lives and promise to love reciprocally.

Image from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

One in five tweens—ages 11 to 14—say their friends are victims of emotional, physical or verbal dating violence and teenage girls are reporting dating abuse at rates higher than women, which makes them the most at-risk group for abuse in America2.

Today, it’s important to talk to teens and girls about becoming dual pistol wielding post apocalyptic Tina Turner style badasses before they become victims or see victimization as normal.

Video blogger, NinteenPercent, explains why girls, no matter how exciting Beyonce’s song is, girls do not actually run the world:

The Beyonce Video in Question:

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with or preventing post-apocalyptic domestic violence and violence against women?

tavia.

My parents let me watch and read way too much science fiction and fantasy when I was a child. Now that I'm grown, I'm bored and I can't wait for SkyNet to awaken or the super-virus to cull the human population. I'll be safe because I've learned to reason with robots from Data and the Terminator franchise... and I eat gummy vitamins by the fist-full.

12 Replies to “What Are Women Worth at The End of The World?

  1. While post apocalyptic life will give the utter bastards a chance to unleash their sick desires and beliefs upon the world, there is no reason we should be educating our young women – in 2011! – that they exist to be victims or saved by good men.

    Women. You need to train too. With weapons. There is nothing wrong with being a fit, strong, hard independant creature and let no-one tell you otherwise.

    Get to the point that you can easily hold your own post apocalypse.

    1. Also, maybe singly women should make networking with other single women part of their survival plan. If you’ve got the same to lose then you can not only be empathetic but able be all strength in numbers.

  2. Post-apocalypse, you’ll be living in a world where the constraints of civilisation have been removed i.e. law enforcement, military, etc. This leaves you in a world where many people will believe their actions to be without reprisal.

    Modern feminism would be radically outmoded in this environment so it’s near-impossible to try and ratify a woman’s worth in those terms. Two things matter in this environment: risk and power.

    If you publicly present yourself as female, you are advertising a commodity that has a value i.e. your reproductive ability and value as a sexual object. It would make sense to either a)stop advertising this commodity by disguising your gender, b)be willing to defend your ownership of that commodity frequently or c)advertise that you have the commodity but make it appear to be far more trouble than it is worth to attempt to take it by force.

    This is far less of a gender issue than it first appears, instead it’s an issue of being mindful of not exposing yourself to unnecessary risk. Weak, ill-informed men would be equally at risk if displaying their commodities (fuel, food, vehicles, etc) without due care.

    1. This is a very good point, Leigh. Just like weapons that aren’t currently equipped should be hidden from the sight line of bandits and pickpockets, so should lady parts.

      But it’s important that women know that a damsel in distress is just an easy target not someone who get hard work out of people for free.

      And, personally, I’d probably go with A but I’m way more “for” b and c.

    1. Thanks for leading the charge, Stacey. It’s one of those thing that people notice but don’t spend enough time discussing or thinking critically about, especially about how they might be able to effect it.

  3. The best way for women to protect themselves post-apocolypse is to start protecting themselves. Learn how to use weapons…great! But also learn to be self-sufficient: learn how to grow/store your own food, build a shelter, operate rudimentary operating devices, how to repair things, etc. If you were dropped into the wilderness right now with only a few supplies and six months to survive on your own, could you do it? Prepare now and be ready later.

    For the larger perspective, education and advancement of women all over the world is something we should all be working for now. IMHO, feminism has it right…empower women today and there will be a better tomorrow. Get more women in positions of power and perhaps we won’t have to worry so much about an apocolypse.

    Side note: I recently caught part of a story on BBC news about the vanishing women of China and India. Sadly, having less women available has not made them a more valuable commodity. 🙁 We must work to change this.

    1. I totally agree. Unfortunately, I can honestly say I’m not ready to survive on my own yet (I still feel proud of myself for killing my own spiders– did one in just last night).

  4. I think when it all hits the fan, most men will realise that they’ve led themselves into a false sense of masculine superiority, and with an army of the shufflers at their door, they’ll break. Here’s where the ladies step in, give them a patronising pat on the head and show the world why it’s the lionesses who hunt.

    1. Here, here. You’ve got some threat banging down the family door trying to eat the babies, Mom’s will step up and preserve some life (by extinguishing some other life).

  5. Part of what we need to work on now, regardless of whether an apocalypse ever comes, is teaching girls and boys that people in general and women in particular aren’t commodities and that no one should accept abuse, no matter how sorry the abuser says he/she is afterwards.

    Girls AND boys need to know that nobody is entitled to another person’s body without permission/consent. Self-esteem and self-respect are skills that are just as important as knowing how to dual-wield pistols because if you’re not confident in your abilities, you’re not going to plug the scumbags who think they can take what they want.

    1. That’s a very good pot you make; recognizing your self worth is skill and many people need to learn it and practice it.

      And your other point is also important, it isn’t just a matter of training one person to value themselves but to train everyone to value themselves AND others.

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