I remember in my teens when I first read about experiments women did where they forced themselves to walk for something like 50 blocks and not give way to any men in that time. It was really difficult for every woman to force herself not to step aside. And of course they just kept colliding into man after man, some of whom were enraged that the woman hadn’t moved. I later tried it out myself just for a block or two and had similar results. None of the men were outraged, but some did turn and look at me quizzically.

It’s still deeply engrained in me to give way to men on the sidewalk, as it is to most women. I read a quote recently by a black male comedian who said he visited a certain city and, “The white women didn’t step aside for me!” Well, I find it nearly impossible to believe that every white woman or even most didn’t step aside. It’s just against our conditioning. But he cited this as a sign of racism on the women’s part. I for one cannot imagine having an inner hierarchy where my conditioning makes me move for white men, but not black men. My social conditioning made no such distinctions.

Before this article I hadn’t thought to question whether smaller men go through the same thing. This is interesting, as is the effect of the Molly to expand how one perceives one’s inner space. I like the idea that a drug could reverse one’s socialization, however temporarily.

Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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