Twitter, as we all know, is packed with subtle humor as much as with tales of daring, of personal feelings and emotions, of fear and fun. It can be light, it can be dark and deep, all in 140 characters. It can also be very boring, when someone merely posts ‘blah’ or similar, but this is much the same with any social media service: status updates are there to express feelings and moments, and sometimes are merely used as an outlet or to show we are still alive, even when there is nothing to say.
The humor, however, often has its dark side, a side which we don’t necessarily wish to admit but which is constantly there. Using Craigslist as a dating medium, for example, has its downside as much as its moments of excitement. What we can see as humor in a short Tweet is, for some, can be a matter of life and death for others. We do not know what is on the other side, whether it is a real advertisement or a trap, whether what is on offer actually exists, or whether those making the offer have completely different motives.
Much the same as with any dating or sex site where meet-ups are offered, where services are offered, where a sexual adventure is hoped for. There are dangers, but these dangers are also there in real life, on the streets, in our neighborhoods.
No amount of warnings can prevent some from taking that one chance. Make sure that someone knows where you are; never meet in private always in a public place first; protect yourself. But what when the public place is also not enough to scare off an adversary? What when the public place is exactly what turns the other person on, or when they can project such a safe and assuring image of themselves and their intentions that our guard falls, that we do not follow this good advice and take care?
It is impossible to anticipate everything that could happen, impossible to react to everything that occurs no matter how much we plan, how well protected we feel we are. The level of danger is always going to be high, especially for women and especially in societies where it is normal not to get involved, not to help others when they need it. There are too many stories of a rescue attempt, an intervention going wrong, of someone dying because they did the right thing.
And how can you react to everyday sexism, to the comments and catcalls on the street? Are they serious, are they threatening? Can we just walk on as if nothing has happened? Do we have to go out in groups to remain safe or stay at home rather than enjoying the nightlife in case someone has other intentions?
I must admit, I ignore the catcalls and comments. I know that I dress well and I know that I look attractive. That is the whole point of fashion, of what we do and what we wear. We want to show ourselves, but not as objects, not always as someone who is ready and willing to take up any offer at any time. There is a difference, though, between the catcalls, the wolf-whistle and those who become more physical and bring real fear into our lives. A whole industry has sprung up based on fear, on the worry that something might happen even on an open street in broad daylight. It takes the fun out of living, traveling, experiencing, but that is no reason not to go out, not to live and enjoy. After all, the majority of people we meet or walk by keep their thoughts to themselves, are normal on the outside. The good outweighs the bad, until something happens. And then we are scarred for the rest of our lives.
There is a dark side to everything, we just need to be aware that it is there and know how to react, how to protect ourselves, how to show that, no matter what anyone says or does, we can get over it or over them. Inner strength and an ability to overcome, physically and mentally. Even so, it is sad that we need all this, sad that we need to hide our true feelings behind humor, behind a facade of well-being.
Love & Kisses, Viki.