On the serial murder of women

A more personal ramble in relation to the Parlor Discourse on The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo that may or may not be of interest to you.

By way of personal disclosure, I feel I should mention a certain early molding of my self which is deeprooted.

In my young womanhood I insisted on wandering my town Seattle, and it was still something of a town then, doing and catching this or that of a day.  And of a night.  What a woman was conceived as being then, or could be, was undergoing a spurt of radical opening.   She was an exciting human to be, you see.  (V. Woolf’s Shakespeare’s sister, called Judith, let us say, standing by the stage door and all that.)  And I was, from my current perspective, rather naïvely claiming what I thought of as a new female self who could go and be whatever I willed.  This sounds a bit like an iPad commercial now, but it hadn’t been capitalized upon (its own kind of framing) beyond all meaning, then.  And certainly because of my middle class foundation I was some protected by my resources.  And yet…

“Maids in a Row” Artist: Gloria Bornstein(c)1984 Photo Credit: John Stamets

My reality when I walked a street at night, or talked to an unfamiliar guy in a bar was shadowed by Gary Ridgeway, known then only as the Green River killer because he dumped the dead bodies of women he’d desecrated in a Northwest river of that name which as consequence flows still to this day, in my mind, desecrated, too.  And Ted Bundy, the killer of co-eds, which I was.  If you were a young woman then, you stayed alert, had your keys in your hand, etc.   Didn’t matter the long shot odds of actual personal danger.  The damage was done.  Reports of their ruinous presence stalked our fun and the defenseless, silenced remains of the women left as evidence delivered the message, served the purpose of the larger culture – to slap constraints on my life as a young woman. Because…

A young woman fully experiencing her life, her being, becoming, is a dangerous thing from a certain point of view, you know. So the reverberating threat of unimaginable violence afloat ethereal reminded me to not step too far afield in the real, to claim anything too extreme or else…

That’s how power over, how control works.  That looking over your shoulder, those close calls with creeps, it changes you.  And you carry that change forever forward.  Just how it is.  Fortunately, it works this way with fine and positive things too.  Only different, how your heart carries it, a closing not opening….

Which is all rather neither here nor there except as explanation for why I can watch these stories with their graphic depiction of violence to women.  Because I know it to be real and want it to stop.  And since I believe in the power of stories to help us, us all together, to figure it out, I watch and root for our gal who tries as best she can to look it all straight in the eye.  And keeps going  forward, toward its end, whatever that turns out to be.  Cause there’s no turning back and cause, in my way, I want to be that capable in the face of fear, too.

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