Commentary on the crime has been wide-ranging, but one remark particularly stood out. A psychologist, Evelyn Field, was asked to explain the outpouring of public grief. One reason why she thought the case had resonated so strongly was that:
All the gains that women have made are suddenly stripped away - you need a man to protect you.
I shouldn't be surprised at this comment. If you believe that autonomy is the great prize in life, then a woman will want to be independent of men, which then requires that she not be in need of men's protection.
That explains as well why the more radically feminist Catherine Deveny wrote that she would aggressively reject a male offer to walk her home because she was perfectly capable of defending herself better than a man could.
But for women to reject male protection as a regressive thing, as anti-woman, has some serious consequences. The instinct to protect wife and children is one of the most powerful masculine drives leading men to commit in a stable way to family life. It is also at the core of masculine self-identity.
Men follow this instinct on the understanding that in doing so they are using their masculine strengths on behalf of women. If they are told the opposite is true and that they are harming women, then you can't expect male commitments to remain as high as they once were.
For women to identify the protection of men as dragging them down seems to me to be one of those wrong turns we have taken in the West. It means that ideals of political progress are set against what a woman needs for a successful marriage and family life.
So women are going to lose out either way.