In the late 1800s night spies in colonial Calcutta wrote about deviant women ~ their characteristics and where they went.
These spies clandestinely surveilled and wrote about any women, European or Indian who ventured out in public at night without a male relative. Victorian moral code expected women to be at home serving their families. It was only fallen women who went out to the theatre or to a social gathering without a male escort. These male spies, who embodied the male gaze, mapped their voyeuristic spying for male audiences under the guise that men needed to know the physical characteristics of these women, what they did, and where these deviant women went so that respectable men could avoid them.
Of course the cultural integration of these writings by men furthered the erroneous projection about women decreasing women’s freedom even more. It socially corsetted women by tightening the already restrictive norms of the day by labelling any woman sexually deviant who tried to enjoy herself by simply going to the theatre or meeting up with friends. So rigid was the thinking of the upper classes that being social as a woman was viewed as sexually deviant demonstrating well the splitting of ways of being a women into the virtuous versus whore stereotype (see IW Episodes 4,5)
How did this come about? And, why was it considered appropriate for men to hunt vulnerable women and write about their physical characteristics? And, why was it alright for respectable men to consume these texts? The strong Victorian cultural shadow around sex, gender and women led to a rise in this type of voyeurism and entertainment for men. Its consumption was a direct result of individual/cultural shadow being projected onto women even though it was the men who were being disrespectful, invasive and crass. Deviant behaviours arise collectively and find a way to be acceptable through the defence mechanism of projection when cultural norms are off balance with normal embodied and instinctual ways of being.
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