While reading about these gangs of radical fundamentalist Kashmiri women who sport around raiding restaurants, ratting out teen "snuggling couples" to their parents, bitching at oenophiles, and calling for more stringent adherence to some psycho-puritanical version of Islam, the words Stockholm syndrome began dancing the limbo in my obstreperal lobe. A couple of perspicacious patriarchy-blamers recently alluded to the popular brainwashing phenomenon in some discussion or other, and ever since then I’ve been contemplating it in relation to the seemingly baffling paradox of women’s complicity in our own oppression.
I cannot lie; Stockholm syndrome is my all-time favorite syndrome. It’s from the 70’s, like I am, so it has no small nostalgic kitsch appeal. Plus, it’s complicated enough to explain why the aforementioned sorely oppressed women, in a move many would consider counterintuitive, would whiz through town crying "More oppression! More oppression!", yet is simple enough that even a spinster aunt can understand it.
Stockholm Syndrome Refresher Course: Captive fears captor because captor wields life-or-death power over captive. Captive sucks up to captor as survival mechanism. Captor responds to sucking up by slight loosening of metaphorical thumbscrews. Captive’s extreme duress morphs original sucking-up into true emotional bond. Thereafter captor kicks captive’s ass occasionally, as reminder of who’s wearing the pants. [see also Wikipedia]
We’ve seen the term applied to battered wives, yes, but generally such cases describe a psychological attatchment to a single abuser. The idea of Stockholm syndrome as the global explanation for women’s fervent and irrational attatchment, en masse, to the much more nebulous ideology of male dominance, makes so much sense to me that there’s probably something wrong with it. But how else to explain these squads of veiled vice patrols hot-rodding around Kashmir giving hell to swinging singles? Or, for that matter, how else to account for women who sing paeans of joy to their "empowering" boob jobs? Or even, as Jeffreys suggests, how to account for women who rag on their daughters to sit with their knees together?
Why, in other words, would women voluntarily sign themselves up for this crap, cling to it maniacally, insist that it is "right" or "natural" or even "fun," unless they had come to identify dysfunctionally with their oppressor?
Stockholm syndrome is, like, the definition of patriarchy.
Meanwhile, back in Kashmir, maybe the veiled morality vigilantes should mosey on over to the Line of Control in Mendhar, where male cops are feeling up women villagers whenever they leave the house, the fucktards.
[The photo is of the Norrmalmstorg robbery, which as everyone of a certain age knows,
turned into a great big lovepile of hostage-on-captor action and gave Stockholm syndrome its name]