Last night I watched the old Twilight Zone episode “The Chaser“, in which a man, smitten by a woman who wanted nothing to do with him, slipped her a magic love potion that made her fall, forever, madly in love with him. He finds her relentless ardor too much to bear, and considers killing her, but can’t go through with it, once she tells him she is pregnant.
Think about that for a moment.
The story was about his tragedy – poor guy! – condemned to live with a woman who loves him too much. Nothing about her loss, having had all the consent she would ever have erased by a lifelong date-rape drug. Her existence as a person was never considered. Whatever she wanted out of life (and that was for her to determine, not him) was simply swept aside.
I’m not blaming the Twilight Zone here; it’s a great show, and has many episodes where the woman is the protagonist. But it reflects a culture in which the woman is simply not a person. That culture goes way, way back to stories in the middle ages, and probably earlier. How much better if we can at least see it for what it is.
And see women, at all.