Confronting the Spatiality of Women's Fear, and Why It Matters

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This work deals with the problem of women’s fear and its spatial dimension. Women’s fear in and of the urban space may only be properly discussed with a return to their everyday lives and experiences as women. Looking more closely into women’s lives, we find that their fear issues from the conditions that surround their embodiment. Building on the work of Gill Valentine, Leslie Kern, Iris Marion Young and Simone de Beauvoir, this paper seeks to prove that the mechanisms which objectify women in their experience as embodied are precisely what drive them to a state of fear. In turn, such fear also holds the power to shape women’s space, thereby accounting for how the feeling of not-belonging in the city persists in women. To address women’s fear and to build more inclusive spaces, therefore, requires that our recognition of women’s oppression take on a spatial dimension, and our construction of the city seriously consider the women who inhabit it.