Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9813053:

The ideal woman is fictional 3 4, 4:56am

I live in the USA and I've been to some different countries for both business and pleasure - Canada, Mexico, Belize, India, Egypt, England, France, Holland, Ireland, Greece, Bimini... anyway, my experience, for what it's worth - the US can be sexist but I don't see it as dangerous. In India, women in rural areas will go to the bathroom in a field rather than risk public restrooms because of the danger of being ambushed and raped. I've never had to worry about that in the US. When I was working on my degree, I would sometimes walk from the lab late at night and was never bothered, though if I had been worried, the campus police were available to escort women home.

Now, at the same university, there was a frat culture where we knew that the drinks might be overly-alcoholic, because frat boys wanted to get into girls' panties. So when I went to those parties, I went with friends, and we'd keep an eye on each other. This was over 20 years ago and there has been a growing awareness of how toxic that culture is. However, even back in those days, I never had any issues at dorm parties or other gatherings except for frat parties at a few of the frat houses - it wasn't even all the frat houses, just a few that had a bad reputation. And I would say 95% of the men were not that way - I dated a LOT in college and only had one incident where the guy was not respectful. Whereas from talking to friends from Islamic countries - the percentage of men who see women as prey is much higher and in places like S. Africa the rate of rape is much, much higher.

As far as traveling alone - I felt perfectly safe traveling all over the US, Canada, Greece, England, etc. There are places to avoid (such as the red light district in any large city or the South side of Chicago) but for the most part, I was never harassed or bothered. If anything, I'd find friendly people talk to me when I traveled alone in the US or Europe, never had problems when asking for directions or for a recommendation of where to stay or eat. However, from talking to friends, this is not safe when traveling in parts of Asia or Africa. In the US, I could also wear shorts or other revealing clothes and I might get a wolf whistle or some other annoying verbal attention but I never felt unsafe, whereas when I wore something a little revealing in Egypt I felt very unsafe.

I have driven my car cross country in the US as a single woman, no problems. Sorta doubt I could do that in most of the Islamic world. I have women friends who have hiked the Appalachian Trail in groups of just 2 or 3 women - no problems. So as a woman in the US, you can go backpacking, camping, etc. I also have been able to do all the stuff that independent women should be able to do - open a bank account, buy a house, etc. I did not face discrimination when hired for a job in engineering in the US but I did face some discrimination when it came to promotions... but that was in specific companies. When I changed to other companies, that issue went away.

I guess my point is - the US is not perfect, it still has a way to go, but overall I think I get a pretty fair shake as a woman. I feel safe except in a few places (where men would also not feel safe), I can go to a bar by myself, make and manage my own money, travel independently, and so on. There are definitely areas the US needs to become more equal but there are some really good signs that the US is pretty good - lots of women from other countries try to immigrate to the US, and will preferentially marry American men vs. men from their own country. It's because they have more freedom and rights in the US and because their American husbands treat women with more respect. For example, my American husband did more than half the housework when we were both working.

Having traveled in India and having friends and relatives from the Philippines, Pakistan, S. Korea, Japan, China, Colombia, Peru, parts of Africa, etc., I have seen the differences in the expectations of these cultures for women vs. my experience as an American.

One thing that should not be minimized - rape is probably reported more in the US than it is in places like India or the Islamic world. In places like Dubai, when a woman reports a rape, unless there are 4 male witnesses she could be charged with having sex outside of marriage. I was reading an article about a woman who was raped while working at a hotel in Dubai, she was an Australian - and her friends told her not to report the rape. She did, figuring, since she'd fought the attacker and had bruises and so on, that they would realize she was attacked and the sex was not consensual. But she ended up in jail. There are many reports of this kind of thing happening in the Islamic world.

In the US, it's bad enough for rape victims but at least you won't end up in jail for reporting a rape.

Again, not saying the US is the best. There are still areas the US can improve and should improve. There are still misogynistic men and bad attitudes. But I would really want to dig into the statistics of any survey that put the US behind most of sub-Sahara Africa and the Islamic world when it comes to treatment of women... and maybe I am wrong, not going to say I know everything or am an expert, just giving my opinion.