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Old November 15, 2009, 11:46 AM   #26
pax
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We can't change anyone, all we can do is offer to help if they decide to change themselves.
True. However, people do have an effect on other people. We are social creatures and we do respond to our social environment. So it is quite possible to either place hurdles in someone's path, or to help remove hurdles from their path, as they consider taking the personal journey to armed self-defense.

***

To some people, particularly those who've been hurt by sexual violence of any variety, any discussion of prevention just smacks of naming, shaming, blaming the victim. Understandably so; there's a very fine line indeed between "doing this thing created or contributed to the circumstances that allowed the criminal to attack her" and "doing this thing caused the criminal to attack her." As a result, it's almost impossible to use any type of sexual criminal assault as a learning situation.

I've lost track of the number of times I've heard a crime victim say, "There wasn't anything I could do." When you hear someone say that, you know that thought is important to their personal healing. They're saying that they were without blame in the situation, that it wasn't their fault it happened, that the other person was entirely in control of the flow of events. All of those things are perfectly true.

On the other hand, every situation has variables that, if changed, would have created a different situation or a similar situation with a different outcome. Playing with those variables is one of the ways that we learn from other people's experiences -- and from our own. But because "there wasn't anything I could do" is so important to a victim/survivor's healing, when we start playing with those variables, talking about them or discussing them in any way, our victim/survivors almost inevitably get hurt or angry (or both), thinking that we are removing their blamelessness and denying the thought that has allowed them to heal.

That's why survivors especially become so viscerally angry at the suggestion that we'd like to see more women armed. If being armed would prevent other crimes similar to the ones the survivors went through, then maybe their own criminal encounter was preventable too. That's an unacceptable, unbearable thought, because it means that they themselves did not have to be as powerless, as helpless to control the flow of events, as they perceived themselves to be -- which in turn leads to the unacceptable but almost inescapable feeling of, "If I could have been in control, but wasn't, I was in part to blame for what happened." That's utterly unacceptable, so the entire train of thought gets viscerally rejected at the outset -- often with white-hot anger.

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Old November 15, 2009, 12:42 PM   #27
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That's why survivors especially become so viscerally angry at the suggestion that we'd like to see more women armed. If being armed would prevent other crimes similar to the ones the survivors went through, then maybe their own criminal encounter was preventable too. That's an unacceptable, unbearable thought, because it means that they themselves did not have to be as powerless, as helpless to control the flow of events, as they perceived themselves to be -- which in turn leads to the unacceptable but almost inescapable feeling of, "If I could have been in control, but wasn't, I was in part to blame for what happened." That's utterly unacceptable, so the entire train of thought gets viscerally rejected at the outset -- often with white-hot anger.
This kind of touches (in a roundabout way) on what Glenn said about people seeing fighting back as 'evil responding to evil'. We've become SO entrenched in the 'conflict avoidance at all cost' mentality that we shy away from saying the hard things that need to be said.

I can really see where there's a point where you make suggestions to a crime victim, who then becomes shrill and the person trying to help backs down rather than press forward with the unpleasant reality in the face of conflict. We've resorted to 'interventions' because as a society we've gotten to the point where we need superior numbers just to muster up enough courage to say 'dude, you're screwed up' to someone.

Until we're willing to say hard things to people willing to have the courage to listen to hard statements about their abilities and mindset, nothing is going to change. GIGO.
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Old November 15, 2009, 02:52 PM   #28
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Esmerelda's grips

are beautiful!

Pax, what you wrote, especially in your last paragraph, tracks so much with my experience. Even thought I have never (nor would I ever) write or say, if only s/he had done this/had done that/had had a weapon/had not done this/had not done that. I've been more focussed on why are we, who call ourselves feminists (however defined---mine is, equal human and civic worth, equal worth and abilities and rights and responsibilities as human beings and citizens) so reluctant to encourage women to defend their lives by force of arms when they know they are in danger?

In other words, trying to make the question as "political" as possible in an attempt not to rub salt in wounds that, in the kind of culture we live in, are not really allowed to heal. (Think Roman Polanski and his defenders.) And we are very far from the worst on the planet.

I'm going to try to make what follows somewhat coherent.

Vanya, yeah, when I think of mainstream feminism, not that there is any anymore, I think of NOW or for that matter, Seal Press. I do not think of Andrea Dworkin, whom I loved for the clarity and compassion, the dignity and the sheer amazing beauty of her writing. (I know I'm not supposed to say that, any more than I'm supposed to say that two of the other people I most admire are George C. Marshall and Georgi Zhukov. So there ) And who wrote in "Trying to Flee" for Nicole Brown Simpson,
Quote:
A woman has a right to her own bed, a home she can't be thrown out of and for her body not to be ransacked and broken into. She has a right to safe refuge, to expect her family and friends to stop the batterer--by law or force--before she's dead. She has a constitutional right to a gun and a legal right to kill if she believes she's going to be killed. And a batterer's repeated assaults should lawfully be taken as intent to kill.
I think that right there is a statement that could transform the world if it were acted upon on a large scale.

One very clear, significant cause of crime is economic and educational deprivation: people need meaningful work under humane conditions that enables them to support themselves and their families in a dignified and decent manner. People need education because when we are dumbed down intellectually, we are also dumbed down emotionally. We're angry but we don't know why, so we (at best) rant.

But I believe another significant cause of crime is cruelty, particularly within the home. I do not mean that everyone who is abused grows up to be an abuser. That's not true: the military (and in my experience, particularly the Marine Corps) often seems to specialize in taking such young men (and maybe increasingly women?) and offering them a positive image and definition of manhood. I do know that people who are abused are angry and have issues and act out. When you fuse that with the common belief that to be male is often to be aggressive and violent, and when acting that way, even if you're only picking on people your own size, you have a recipe for violent crime. Also, what you learn at home becomes normal to you. You may hate it but it's...normal and you take that sense of normality out into the world.

To turn to Glenn about changing the culture and active defense: if you encourage women to arm themselves, to defend themselves against intimate cruelty, you change the culture. Not completely, not perfectly---I'm not offering either monocausal explanations or solutions. But by beginning to reduce the huge traditional physical impunity that men who engage in profound, severe, long-term cruelty towards women have had, we raise the costs of that cruelty. And maybe we remove some of the incentive it provides males to "act like men" in ways that are really bad for them, as well as the folks around them. Of both sexes.

It also means that abusers and would-be abusers might think, if I do this, she might hunt me down and kill me. I don't think that's a bad thing. And I hope that's not read as a call for vigilante justice: since it is very common for a woman's perpetrator to threaten her with further attacks, I don't think it's wrong for the perpetrators to fear their victims' ex post facto response and decide, maybe not. (ETA: that thought owes a lot to my reading of nuclear/strategic deterrence literature, rather than, say, feminism or sociology or... I've been reading Soviet Military Thought from 1981, lately.)

Stopping people from engaging in brutality does not mean turning around and brutalizing them. It can mean, after you stop the perpetrator, you turn around and figure out what the hell is going on in his life and society helps fix the problems. (I also believe that some criminals are so dangerous and so motivated by cruelty that they should simply be euthanized.)

Sakeneko, your thoughts as a human rights activist?

Hope these thoughts are not off-topic.
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Old November 15, 2009, 07:25 PM   #29
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That's why survivors especially become so viscerally angry at the suggestion that we'd like to see more women armed. If being armed would prevent other crimes similar to the ones the survivors went through, then maybe their own criminal encounter was preventable too. That's an unacceptable, unbearable thought, because it means that they themselves did not have to be as powerless, as helpless to control the flow of events, as they perceived themselves to be -- which in turn leads to the unacceptable but almost inescapable feeling of, "If I could have been in control, but wasn't, I was in part to blame for what happened." That's utterly unacceptable, so the entire train of thought gets viscerally rejected at the outset -- often with white-hot anger.
Wow.... Pax, you really nailed it here.

There's a reason that, when I was responding to Erin at first, I said I had never been the victim of a violent crime "as an adult". :/ I grew up in an alcoholic and abusive home. I was a victim of many violent crimes as a child. I never understood why I reacted so negatively for so long to the idea of self defense and why I felt such an emotional attachment to pacifism. My reaction to this suggests the answer loud and clear.

Of course, a child (especially a pre-pubescent child) actually can't do a great deal to protect themselves. However, the mindset equating self-defense with "you are a participant in your own victimhood" is real. We really do need to do something about that mindset.
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Old November 15, 2009, 11:01 PM   #30
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In other words, trying to make the question as "political" as possible in an attempt not to rub salt in wounds that, in the kind of culture we live in, are not really allowed to heal. (Think Roman Polanski and his defenders.) And we are very far from the worst on the planet.
<nod> This is all part of the "blame the victim" response that is so common worldwide, especially with sex crimes or crimes of violence against those who for whatever reason cannot defend themselves. Not all of the responses are as direct (and as nasty) as those who blame women for dressing provocatively or going to places where men hang out.

Many of the responses of this type are actually reactions against the tendency to blame victims. Among them are laws and codes of conduct (in journalism) that forbid naming victims of sex crimes. The intent of these laws and codes of practice is to spare the victims further victimization from a public that often blames victims of sex crimes or violence for "provoking" the crimes. :barf:

I've taken some steps to prevent being a victim of a sex crime now. :-) If (God forbid) I am ever the victim of such a crime in the future, however, I will use my name publicly and give the press permission to publish it. The *perpetrator*, not the victim, of a crime is the one who should be ashamed and should hide his or her face in public. The victim has nothing to be ashamed of and should hold his or her head high.

While I don't blame victims who are unable to do this, I've always been encouraged and frankly delighted when one does. For example, when I first read that the woman who was forced to marry her first cousin at 14 years of age by Warren Jeffs, leader/"prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, had gone public with her name and story, I jumped up from my desk shouting, "You go, girl!" I then had to explain to my poor, confused husband who Elissa Wall was and why I was shouting about her. ;-)

Victims who can't get beyond being victims are *not to blame* for their victimhood, but they're still trapped by it to a greater or lesser extent. The Elissa Walls of the world were victims, but they aren't victims any more because they found their way out of the trap they were in -- they no longer blame themselves for what happened.

Quote:
"A woman has a right to her own bed, a home she can't be thrown out of and for her body not to be ransacked and broken into. She has a right to safe refuge, to expect her family and friends to stop the batterer--by law or force--before she's dead. She has a constitutional right to a gun and a legal right to kill if she believes she's going to be killed. And a batterer's repeated assaults should lawfully be taken as intent to kill."
Quote:
I think that right there is a statement that could transform the world if it were acted upon on a large scale.
It could. I'd say this is equally true of a man or a child who is battered repeatedly. The main difference is not in the gender or even age of the victim, but in the options the victim has for protecting themselves, and (even more) in what our attitudes as a society are towards them and the situation.

The right to self defense also applies well beyond the boundaries of the United States, so "constitutional right" is more limited and limiting than I like. The right and responsibility to protect your own life and the lives of innocent others isn't something granted by the U.S. constitution or *any* piece of paper anywhere. A constitution or legal system can at most *recognize* a right; it can't create a right or confer it on somebody. The difference between recognition and creation/conferring is important because the whole point is that a real human right exists whether it is recognized or not.
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Old November 16, 2009, 02:14 PM   #31
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I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I see some thoughtful posts that make me wish you (WarMare) were working on editing a book instead of writing one.

To be a girl in our society, often means feeling helpless, scared, and victimized, even in small ways.

When I was 14, someone tried to rape me. If he'd succeeded, it would have been stranger, not date rape. I was grabbed and dragged into the woods. I responded like a deer in the headlights. I couldn't move or do anything.

There were people around. I could have shouted. But I let him move me.

I'm lucky. He was so drunk that he got up to throw up and I ran.

But I am certain of what he intended.

And that feeling of utter helplessness has been an intermittent part of my teen and adult years.

Catcalls because I walked down the street.
Men who feel it's okay to grab my breasts because they feel like it.

These kinds of things are terrorizing.

I have felt vulnerable for my entire life. Vulnerable to men who are larger and more powerful than me. Vulnerable to men who can rape me, take my purse, or just simply beat me because they feel like it.

I have spent much of my life living in low fear.

Finally, something happened to make me decide that I was going to equalize things. And I've been determined to stop living in fear and find my own power.

I strongly believe that guns are not the only answer. They aren't magic. And in my recent studies, I'm finding how easy it might be to grab a gun away from someone.

I'm learning that my self defense strategies must be layered.

I enrolled in Krav Maga (Israeli Army self-defense system geared not towards competition, but to straight up survival.)

I'm studying force-on-force situations involving knives, guns, and bare hands.

I got my CCW but more importantly, I'm learning to use my gun effectively and efficiently.

I wish I could have come to this point years ago.
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Old November 16, 2009, 02:42 PM   #32
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WarMare wrote:
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One of the larger questions I have is, Is for women the decision to own and use and bear arms for self-protection---knowing that in the remote likelihood we have to use them, it will be against someone with whom we are at least on good social terms
Not relevant for me. Not even a tiny bit.

If I use a gun on a person, it will be a stranger. I'm certain of this.

I don't put up with abusive men or abusive relationships, nor do I have psycho people in my life.

In my life, in any situation where a gun would have made me feel safer, or where I might have actually drawn, involved a stranger.

I know this may vary for other women. But I wanted to make a strong statement that your thoughts above don't apply to all of us.

Dragon - I have very small hands (size 5.5 or 6 gloves.) Honestly? It makes little difference for any semi-auto I've tried. Far more key is her willingness to learn and getting past an inherent fear of firearms.

But if she starts with a .22, it may help give her some chance to build competency without some of the stuff that can scare us about guns.

FWIW, I'm a total girly-girl. Or at least, I used to be! And now, I'm studying self-defense in FoF situations, guns, etc. And yeah, I even broke a nail.

How bad does she need to feel safe? If she needs it bad enough, she will do what she needs to do.

If she minimizes and discards risk, then she may not feel up for doing what it takes.
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Old November 16, 2009, 03:17 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Phoebe
In my life, in any situation where a gun would have made me feel safer, or where I might have actually drawn, involved a stranger.

I know this may vary for other women. But I wanted to make a strong statement that your thoughts above don't apply to all of us.
Phoebe, I'd say the same thing about myself. But in general, the statistics strongly support the notion that women are most likely to be assaulted or killed by people they know.

You may want to have a look at this report on female victims of violence, which is abstracted from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey for 2008.
Females are generally murdered by people they know. In 64% of female homicide cases in 2007, females were killed by a family member or intimate partner. In 2007, 24% of female homicide victims were killed by a spouse or ex-spouse; 21% were killed by a boyfriend or girlfriend; and 19% by another family member.

In an additional 25% of cases in 2007, females were killed by others they knew.

An estimated 10% of female murder victims were killed by a stranger.
The same report presents data showing that women are more than five times as likely as men to be assaulted or killed by their intimate partners, and in 99% of those cases, the perpetrator is male. (And just for the record, when men are the victims, the perpetrator is female in 83% of the cases.)

So for the majority of women who are actually threatened, it's probable that the threat is coming from someone they know; which must, it seems to me, hugely complicate the decision to prepare to defend themselves.
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Old November 16, 2009, 03:50 PM   #34
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Where, oh where, has common sense gone?

We can't prepare ourselves for the world that we wish we lived in (an ideal); we can only prepare ourselves for the world in which we do (the real).

And I typically abhor simple, trite "bumper-sticker/t-shirt" logic, but my wife pointed out the "Choose One: Victim or Gun Owner" t-shirt/bumper sticker quite some time ago.
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Old November 16, 2009, 03:56 PM   #35
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So for the majority of women who are actually threatened, it's probable that the threat is coming from someone they know; which must, it seems to me, hugely complicate the decision to prepare to defend themselves.
Of course. However, a non-negligible number of threats to women do come from strangers or simple acquaintances, not family members or close friends. For whatever reason (I like to think because I have good taste in my friends ), I have never had a problem with a friend, boyfriend, or husband who was violent towards me, threatened me with violence, or showed any propensity whatsoever to behave that way with anybody in his life.

Like Phoebe, though, I've had strange men behave in grossly inappropriate or threatening ways towards me on occasion. On one occasion when I was in college, a strange man came into my dorm bedroom at night. :/ Stuff like this doesn't happen often to me, but it does happen. Like many women, I've learned to avoid certain parts of town (especially after dark), and learned how to deal with inappropriate behavior when it happens. Those are survival skills women need in our society, unfortunately.

What I'm taking away from this conversation is the following:
  • For most men, violence or credible threats of violence usually come from outside the home and involve people that are not family or close friends. Dealing with this kind of violence requires a set of strategies that do not need to consider the complications posed by having a close relationship with the assailant.

    Owning and carrying a gun for personal protection is often helpful in these cases.
  • For most women, violence or credible threats of violence can come either from a close friend or family member, or from a stranger. Preparing for these two different types of violence requires two different sets of strategies. If the assailant is a stranger, workable strategies will probably not be all that different than those a man would consider and use. If the assailant is a family member or close friend, however, any set of strategies has *got* to deal with the practical and emotional complications caused by the existing relationship.

    Owning a carrying a gun for personal protection may not be helpful if the assailant is a family member or friend because the victim may not be willing to use it, and the assailant may know that.

Does this sound like a fair summation?

If I've understood Erin's questions and comments correctly, she is concerned about two things. First, many women are unwilling to consider using violence to protect themselves against a violent assailant, probably because we're socialized not to be confrontational. This affects our ability to defend ourselves against strangers who attack us, and even more against family members or close friends who attack us. Second, many of the people involved in preventing violence against women -- social workers, politicians, and some police -- are unwilling to support laws and programs that help women learn to use violence to defend themselves when the situation calls for it.

If that's what she's concerned about, I think she has a point. Gun ownership will help prevent violence only when the victim is both able and willing to use the gun. I don't think men and women differ significantly overall in their ability to use a gun: most adult men and women can learn to use a gun proficiently for self-defense purposes. Women often do face a bigger hurdle before they are willing to use a gun or other lethal force to protect themselves, however. This is true when the assailant is a stranger, because most of us are taught not to be confrontational and violent and internalize those lessons entirely too well. And it is especially true when the assailant is somebody we know.

So any efforts to enable women to protect themselves need to take into account, and deal with, these mental and social barriers.

Last edited by sakeneko; November 16, 2009 at 04:06 PM.
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Old November 16, 2009, 04:44 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Phoebe
I have felt vulnerable for my entire life. Vulnerable to men who are larger and more powerful than me. Vulnerable to men who can rape me, take my purse, or just simply beat me because they feel like it.
Proud of you that you've decided to find your own power -- and that you haven't shied away from using the tools that can help make that happen for you.

Although I've never truly been victimized, I'm not a large woman and I've always been uncomfortably aware that almost any adult male could physically overpower me if he wanted to do so. I think this sort of awareness of vulnerability is something that women just live with, and that it's something that men don't necessarily understand on a visceral level even when they do understand it on a logical one. And I also think that we all cope with that awareness of vulnerability in different ways, but all too often the coping mechanism is denial.

For me, knowing that adult males are generally stronger and physically more powerful than I am is an uncomfortable thing, so I can sympathize (but not agree) with a woman who wants to cope with that discomfort through attempts to decrease the power or the perceived power of the men around her. Although I don't share that desire in any way, I do understand the urge to lobby for strict firearms laws when it flows from that source. I understand why women sometimes look for ways to decrease the physical power men have compared to women.

At the same time, I'm too much of a realist to stand anywhere other than where I do: taking guns away from men -- even criminally aggressive men -- doesn't reduce women's vulnerability to those men. Because of the relative size and strength disparity, women's lives are at risk from dangerous and aggressive men whether or not those men have access to firearms.

Put more personally: because I am a small woman, I know that if a large and aggressive man intends to harm me, disarming him will not do anything to decrease my risk from him. Simply because of our relative sizes and strengths, he is dangerous to me even if he has no access to firearms. Taking his firearms away does absolutely nothing to decrease my risk, if his intent is to attack me. Regardless of the tools he owns or does not own, I remain at risk from him because I can't disarm him entirely -- he will still have his own body, which is larger than mine and more powerful. That's the reality of the situation.

So I understand the urge for gun control, especially when it comes from women with a high awareness of vulnerability to male violence. But at the same time, I recognize that the urge is not rooted in physical reality, but in wishful thinking: we wish that by denying the aggressor one means to power, we denied him every means to power.

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Old November 16, 2009, 05:12 PM   #37
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That's why survivors especially become so viscerally angry at the suggestion that we'd like to see more women armed. If being armed would prevent other crimes similar to the ones the survivors went through, then maybe their own criminal encounter was preventable too. That's an unacceptable, unbearable thought, because it means that they themselves did not have to be as powerless, as helpless to control the flow of events, as they perceived themselves to be -- which in turn leads to the unacceptable but almost inescapable feeling of, "If I could have been in control, but wasn't, I was in part to blame for what happened." That's utterly unacceptable, so the entire train of thought gets viscerally rejected at the outset -- often with white-hot anger.
I've taught a few women who've been victimized, and this is absolutely true. The last thing I need to do is project an attitude that says, "darlin' you screwed up, and I'm a gonna teach you so's it doesn't happen again."

What I've heard are variations on, "I wish I could have done something." It's important to stress that, in the past, they could not have. They did not fail; they simply lacked the tools do do stop an attack at the time. The important fact is that they're alive today to make preparations to keep it from happening again.

That was then, and this is now. The past and present are two very different things.

The worst was a woman who'd been raped on her way home one night. She was trembling like a leaf, and her husband was (almost literally) dragging her in for lessons. He was doing all the talking, and she wouldn't even make eye contact.

He was very aggressive and he acted as if he was affronted somehow by the whole situation. According to him, she didn't need therapy, she needed to learn to "fight back." I ended up declining.

I've had women come in who seemed fine on the surface, then broke into tears on the range. Each time, it sends a chill up my spine. The worst part is that they almost always articulate some sense of shame that they "can't handle it," or that they'll be seen as weak. The last thing they need is someone who bullies them through it.

I'm not saying we need mandated sensitivity training, but we need to be aware when someone's not well, and we need to be willing to say, "hey, it's okay. We'll do this on your time, when you're ready."
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Old November 16, 2009, 05:15 PM   #38
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Interesting topic.
Comming from the view of a younger, male, military member...

Based on The Gift of Fear and On Killing, defending one's self against an intimate attacker is extremely difficult. The emotional (and perhaps physical) distance of the attacker is close to zero. I don't think most men grasp this influence, nor the societal rammifications.

I think most men visualize a SD situation primarily against strangers, and overlook almost all emotional issues.
Also, most men don't live with the low-level fear/concern over physical differences. I think most men consider vulnerability as a localized and situationally dependent thing. Personally, thoughts of physical vulnerability usually only occur after I've noticed multiple indications that another person is angry, has an advantageous position, or signs indicating gang membership, etc.

I think these factors may heavily influence how traditional gender roles have created differing outlooks on self-defense.
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Old November 16, 2009, 06:34 PM   #39
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Fascinating thread.

pax, that's a fascinating perspective on anti's. And I think you've nailed some issues that should get more serious consideration. I'd like to talk with some other women about the points you've raised.

sakeneko, I understand about the statistics. But want to make sure that other issues don't get lost in statistical noise. None of us are statistics. We are individuals.

In general, most people have greater fear over unlikely occurrences and less fear over what's more likely. We're way more likely to die in an auto accident, but way more fearful of flying.

But that sense of physical vulnerability has walked with me for my entire life. So much so that, in some ways, I barely noticed it existed. It wasn't possible to see the world any differently.

That's what's been so revelatory to me.

I never realized how much fear I lived with. It wasn't necessarily front and center, or directly on my mind. But it permeated everything.

Reading the books that raimius mentioned, "The Gift of Fear" (and same author, but different book, "On Combat" rather than "On Killing"), were life-altering books, giving me perspective on how I've lived my life. And opening up possibilities that I can live differently.

But it's Not Just Guns!!!

I don't know much, but I can't help but wonder if women who do learn to use guns, are overly confident. I hope they get other skills to supplement. I don't think guns are enough and I fear that too many will take them as sufficient.

Tom Servo, I've been in tears on the range. I've been out talking to instructors and ended up losing it some. I'm grateful for the kindness and patience that most have shown towards me, and the confidence they placed in my capacities to learn. They gave me confidence in myself, when I didn't have any of my own. You sound like a gifted teacher.
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Old November 16, 2009, 07:00 PM   #40
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One Step at a Time

Quote:
How has your experience with crime, particularly sexual crimes, to include gay-bashing, either directed at you or someone close to you, influenced your decision to buy or give and bear arms?
As a big guy, I've had very little concern about personal self defense. My small concern is further reduced by a strong faith; however, during the last couple of years I've been experiencing growing trepidation for my wife, who’s a bank teller, and my two beautiful single daughters living in an apartment. I wish they were each fully alert, armed and trained; not because of something which has happened, but because something could happen.
Pax has said, we can’t force someone to change their mind, which is true, yet I do have a large measure of influence with my family. I can talk with them about crime and violence directed toward females. I can encourage them to take more responsibility for their protection. I have recently obtained pistols, a concealed carry permit and training, mainly to impress upon them a different mindset, if possible, by backing my verbal exhortations with concrete actions. By my choices, I’m projecting to them the concept - “be prepared.” If something were to happen in the future, I want to be thankful my present choices helped shift them from the “I couldn’t do anything” column into the “I did what I had to do” column.
The next pistol will definitely be sized for my wife’s smaller hand.
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Old November 16, 2009, 07:15 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe
But that sense of physical vulnerability has walked with me for my entire life. So much so that, in some ways, I barely noticed it existed. It wasn't possible to see the world any differently.
Yes, me too. When I first began carrying a firearm, I was astonished at how freeing it was. It was as if I'd been carrying around a weight on my shoulders that I didn't realize was there, until it was suddenly gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe
But it's Not Just Guns!!!

I don't know much, but I can't help but wonder if women who do learn to use guns, are overly confident. I hope they get other skills to supplement. I don't think guns are enough and I fear that too many will take them as sufficient.
Software is more important than hardware and always will be.

On this aspect, I've been incredibly spoiled and that has probably colored a lot of my perspective. When I first began learning to shoot, I got involved with an excellent firearms training facility almost immediately, so I was never tempted to believe it was just about having the gun. So even if my own native common sense wouldn't have saved me from such a notion, I was also indoctrinated early to reject the gun-as-magic-talisman concept.

Also, I noticed that as I became more adept with the gun, I also naturally became much, much more aware of what the gun couldn't do. For me, the progression was:

1) "I need a firearm."
2) "I need to learn how to use a firearm."
3) "I need some other tools too."

Firearms are great tools and great equalizers. But they are only tools, and they won't always be available. Further, they are tools that fit only a very narrow band of potential circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
What I've heard are variations on, "I wish I could have done something." It's important to stress that, in the past, they could not have. They did not fail; they simply lacked the tools do do stop an attack at the time. The important fact is that they're alive today to make preparations to keep it from happening again.

That was then, and this is now. The past and present are two very different things.
This is brilliantly put. Been sitting here re-reading it, and the more I read it, the more beautifully it is worded. Thanks for posting it.

As for the woman whose husband was dragging her along ... *shudder.* I've seen something like that too. It's very, very hurtful. Painful to watch, impossible to fix, harmful to her and shameful to the rest of us in the firearms community.

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Old November 16, 2009, 07:22 PM   #42
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I want to add a different note. As a part time counselor, I’m often surprised at the number of sexual abused people who actually do feel that in some way they had some responsibility for what happened to them. I’ve seen the white hot anger response sometimes overlaying the hidden self accusations and feelings of guilt. Both anger and guilt (whether real or imagined) can destroy a person’s life.

What I hear during counseling sexual abused people makes me weep, especially when I consider some of the abusers could have and should have been stopped.
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Old November 17, 2009, 09:33 PM   #43
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A thread done right.

A volatile subject demands a lot more from the staff and members and I am in awe at how well this thread has turned out so far. I am still re-reading sections of this thread and it gets better as I go.

Pax, Glen, others not only navigated a minefield of potential threadbusters expertly but provided some of the best writing and content I have ever seen in a forum.

If this keeps up you should make it sticky. It addresses a nagging debate superbly with facts, careful opinion, and a good flow of conversation. I’m not smooching any behinds here; I’ve butted heads with many of the contributors here. They know I have no qualms with taking a contrary position. I think it’s just as important to notice success when you see it and this certainly fits the bill.

Anyone thinking to post here should be just as careful to maintain the quality as the people who have contributed so far.

<golf clap>
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Old November 18, 2009, 12:26 PM   #44
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But....I think it's only volatile because it mentions politically sensitive issues that have been entirely ignored after the OP, and because the OP is coming from a left-wing pov not typically found on gun boards.

One of the things I've always greatly appreciated about this board is that the moderators are careful to allow room for all voices here, so long as it is gun related.

The particular issue that has been danced around is that anti-gun females and other disempowered groups of people, may in fact be looking at gun control as a way to level a playing field. (Disempower strong bad guys, and we will all be safer.)

What's been posited is precisely the opposite: guns don't require physical strength. A physically weaker person with a firearm vs a stronger person with a firearm, are more likely to be playing on a level field.

Though I've seen the level playing field argument many times over, this thread articulates it differently (and more strongly), because it considers the underlying motive for wanting gun control in a light I haven't seen before.

It may be the most persuasive fodder for helping anti's to see the other side of the gun control movement.

I can see, from a very personal pov, people with guns are scary.
Physically bigger and stronger people are scary.
I can see how very tempting it is to go from there to, "take guns away and the threat from those people will be more neutralized."

WarMare is addressing that in a way that is likely to speak to the disempowered antis on the left.

Fascinating.
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Old November 18, 2009, 10:15 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon55
You know..... based on our experience it is very hard to find a handgun for someone with very small hands. We must have checked 20-30.

Has this been a problem for any other ladies?
Yep. It's an ongoing concern for many small-statured women, if my email box is anything to judge by. And it's a very appropriate question for this thread because the gun manufacturers have just barely started to realize that women are a part of the gun-buying public. Hooray! Unfortunately, for the most part, those manufacturers have not yet realized or embraced the discovery that the average woman's body often differs from the average man's body in several important ways -- hand size being one of them. Instead, too many of them believe they can appeal to the female public simply by slapping a bit of pink paint on an existing (poorly-sized for small hands) product. I guess they figure little girls never really outgrow their infatuation with Barbie-doll pink.

Guns for small hands are available, though. Look especially at Kahr firearms, or at nearly any firearm marketed for explicitly for concealed carry. If she decides to go with a 1911 (a good choice for an experienced shooter with small hands), put a short trigger and slim grips on it and she'll be good to go.

In long guns, it's also an issue. Although short stocks are readily available for the most part, the manufacturers insist on referring to them as "youth" models. Years ago, I remember one firearms instructor of my acquaintance coming in from a day on the shotgun range. Sitting down with a sigh, the instructor noted that one of the female students had asked a very confused question in reference to the "youth stock" on her shotgun: "After I've learned to shoot this, will I be able to move up to a gun made for adults?" The instructor addressed the student's concern, of course, but I was left to wonder at the mild insult of the name. And the other naming option -- "bantam" lengths and weights -- isn't much better. Now she's a chicken?

In either case, the barriers to female gun ownership are not solely and entirely cultural. They are also often practical in nature: how can a smaller woman find a gun that fits her hands or fits her body? Where will she find an instructor familiar with adaptations suitable for those with small frames? So even when a woman has made the decision to journey into armed self-defense, she may find unexpected barriers blocking her roadway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarMare
ETA: I'm not sure how much is felt recoil and how much is, I'm pretty, I'm as woman, if I can do this, what does this mean for me as an attractive woman? I don't mean this as an attack, I mean this as, feminine attractiveness and weakness are significantly conflated and a lot of women who refuse weakness as central to their womanhood have to deal with this issue.
Yes. That.

One of the (many) reasons a lot of instructors split up bonded pairs during range time is simply because of this. I'm thinking of one particular couple that I've known for years, off and on, in a vague sort of way as they've cycled through classes I've been in or helped with. Both of them good people, both of them serious about learning to protect themselves. But I've long had the sense that she is afraid to become truly competent on her own, or at least more competent than he; in some sense, she needs him to be the expert and that means she cannot quite commit to reaching her own full potential. So she stays one step behind him, one notch less capable, one pinch less competent. As long as he continues to advance, so does she. When he stalls, so does she. And whenever there's a chance she might outshoot him or outshine him in some other way, she has an attack of airheadedness that would put Gracie Allen to shame. I suspect that for her, being an attractive woman means always and ever remaining less capable than the man she loves.

Perhaps slightly different from what you meant, that's what sprung to my mind when I read your words.

There's another student that comes to mind, this one from several years back. A beautiful older woman with perfectly manicured long fingernails. I mean long fingernails. The kind of fingernails that meant she did not, could not, wear clothing that required her to manipulate buttons. Looooooong fingernails. As you might imagine, competent (or simply safe) firearms manipulation was a severe and difficult challenge for her. Even getting her finger into and then back out of the trigger guard required her full attention and several moments of careful work. Feminine attractiveness to her meant that she was too helpless even to button a blouse ... or to safely use a firearm.

I've lost track of the number of women who've appeared in class wearing inappropriate, useless footwear. Even knowing they're going to spend a day slogging around on an outdoor range, they show up in high heels. Or flip-flops. Or cutesy little clogs that fall off their feet the second they try to take a step back. Another manifestation of the same thing: useful, practical footwear is "ugly" and unfeminine. Only decorative but non-functional shoes are cute!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarMare
I've been more focussed on why are we, who call ourselves feminists (however defined---mine is, equal human and civic worth, equal worth and abilities and rights and responsibilities as human beings and citizens) so reluctant to encourage women to defend their lives by force of arms when they know they are in danger?
Quick comment here before responding further, just so you know where I'm coming from. I do not self-identify as a feminist, because that designate simply has too much non-useful baggage attached to it. If the word were not already in use for something else entirely, I might, perhaps, self-identify as a "human-ist" -- that is, someone who believes that all human beings everywhere have the same innate worth and should be treated as such. And I specifically reject the notion that in order to right the wrongs of the past, we must commit new wrongs in the present. Both men and women deserve equal protection and equal respect in the eyes of the law, in the court of public opinion, in the marketplace, and in the grand conversation of ideas that constantly flows between all thinking people.

Back to the discussion at hand.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard or read some variant of, "It's MY JOB to protect my family, my wife, my children..." from good and worthy men who absolutely wish their wives were armed and also able to protect themselves too. I'm not sure that these guys realize the mixed message they are sending their wives. Is it also her job to protect you, guys? If not, why not? More to the point, if it's actually your job to protect her, how can it be her job to protect herself? Someone has to take primary responsibility for her safety. If you claim that primary responsibility for yourself, you deny it to her. If you claim that her safety is your responsibility, you deny her either the means or the desire to grow into her own adult responsibility.

Traditionally, I think, many women rejected the notion of arming themselves because they still clung to the romantic notion that a strong man would come along to rescue them, a knight in shining armour on a white horse to sweep them off their feet and take care of them happily-ever-ever. This dovetails nicely with a man's heartfelt desire to be seen as the hero, as the rescuer, as the brave-hearted savior. The traditional view is that all women really desire to be loved, cherished, admired, and protected by a strong man. The romantic ideal of the strong man with his adoring wife really underpins much of our western civilized culture even among portions of the population that have specifically and deliberately rejected traditional roles.

This reiteration of traditional roles seems a far cry from feminist rejection of armed self-defense for women, but I think it may be related. Feminists have (rightly) rejected the notion that it is a man's job to protect "his" woman, but they have somehow failed to embrace the corollary that it is therefore her job to protect herself and the people around her. This might go back to the historical feminist preference for redefining female roles rather than simply appropriating male ones. But it is somewhat ironic to note that, by rejecting the notion that women should arm themselves and take responsibility for their own safety, feminists themselves have become the new guardians of the old social order.

Even more ironic and mordantly amusing, one specific reason so many feminists react so strongly against females being armed is because armed females violate traditional gender roles. The "masculine" way to settle a disagreement is through violence, we're told, while women "naturally" use more peaceful means of reaching the same goals. How, exactly, is this view any different from the one held by the stereotypical and possibly-apocryphal good old boy who proclaims, "It takes a real man to handle a forty-five"?

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Old November 18, 2009, 10:27 PM   #46
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Odds and Ends

One of the things I wanted, when crafting the initial post, was to make clear there weren't alot of artificial constraints on where this could go in terms of definitions. In other words, I didn't want people to think, this would apply if only...

Phoebe, I made a mistake when I wrote
Quote:
it will be against someone with whom we are at least on good social terms
: that should have been, will probably be, obviously. While purely stranger assaults (and assaults by men who are known but not close to their victims) on women are a minority, they are not insignificant , and I suspect that those who prey upon unknown women aren't exactly sweetness and light around the women they know. In other words, I think that if by bearing arms, women were able to only reduce the incidence of stranger attacks in their lives, doing so might well reduce the incidence of intimate violence in other women's lives. And I do not think for one second that no woman subject to intimate violence would ever use arms to defend herself. I know women who have.

I've also been thinking a lot about the larger issues that both you and Pax articulated in terms of strength and vulnerability.

I'm a very strong woman. At 66.5 inches, I am about in the 80th percentile of women---and the 13th or so of men, height being the best proxy for strength there is. I stack up well in terms of strength against men my height and weight and general body build---of which there are very few. Men in the 80th percentile are about 72 inches and of course, I'm just not that big and just can't generate that much force. I'm very aware of how different the world looks to me than it must to smaller women who are not as strong. So in addition to the other issues dealt with here, I was pondering why women are so reluctant to embrace an object that levels the playing field.

Until Pax wrote what she did about women thinking that disarming men legally would make them safer, I simply never considered that it sprung from wishful thinking about controlling physical risk. Crimes against women involving guns get a lot of press. There are some very ugly crimes that involve no more than the man's hands that don't get nearly as much press. (My understanding, based on a non-journaled article I read some time back---I can try to dig it out if anyone's interested---is that certain types of battering are extremely predictive of later murders and attempted murders. One of them is choking.)

I have never thought gun control was helpful to women per se. Indeed, I think shall-issue, concealed carry, castle doctrine (with no immunity for perpetrators who are living with the victim: i.e., a man's home may be his castle, but it may not have or be a torture chamber for the other residents; it is their castle too) and stand-your-ground laws are tremendously important for women. They do not appreciably raise our risk from men who are not otherwise inclined to hurt us. They do not appreciably raise the risk of men from men or women who are not otherwise inclined to hurt them. Their lack makes women almost defenseless against men who are inclined to seriously harm us. Most women are capable of far greater strength than they believe. However, the disparity in height cannot be trained away. Lack of these laws also makes us second-guess the legal consequences for defending ourselves, whether in the classic sense or in the very rare nonconfrontational killing or counterattack in the more-or-less immediate aftermath of an attack. As near as I can tell, if female violence against men, even when it is as severe as is common in male-on-female violence, tends to be pooh-poohed, women who defend themselves competently face more significant social sanction than men in the exact same circumstances.

I've long been aware of how ambivalent mainstream feminist thinking has been about women's self-defense. I've had some thoughts on why; now I have more.

I thank those who participated for doing so seriously; I was particularly moved by Tom Servo's thoughts.

Phoebe, I don't know that this book will ever be published: it's a compilation of essays I wrote while working on The Doves, a love, war and politics thriller set during the Chechen War. (There were times when I needed a break from my intense Russians.) I want to work them into a cohesive form and make them available somehow. Commercial publishing---from newspapers to serious literature and general nonfiction---is very much committing suicide right now, and to a significant extent, it is taking the country with it. Editing is a skill all its own. I would not want to try to edit someone else until I've done a bit more writing. But I will remember that.

Erin Solaro

Last edited by WarMare; November 19, 2009 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Grammar and itty bitty mistakes.
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Old November 18, 2009, 11:19 PM   #47
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Quote:
Perhaps slightly different from what you meant, that's what sprung to my mind when I read your words.
Pax: Yeah, that was part of it and so were the nails and the heels.

Whatever form it takes, it's something I'm sensitive to as someone who likes to play pretty hard with kettle bells. I wish I knew how to deal with it better than I do. I clean up alright, but no one would ever mistake me for feminine, and I've always thought trying to look like the magazines said I should was an exercise in futility likely to lead to a head infested with demons. (One reason I love the Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga's work so much---besides the fact that he was simply a master---was that he designed for women with women's bodies, and he was very famous for hiring "ugly" models. Nicholas Ghesquerie, who heads the house now, does neither, and his clothes are ugly and inelegant. He ought to be ashamed of himself.) But it's clearly an issue for a lot of women and I work to understand it. Being physically strong and competent and brave for oneself and one's values (i.e., not a protective mother) are at such odds with how we concieve of femininity and how women are supposed to act and be.

ETA:
Quote:
Even more ironic and mordantly amusing, one specific reason so many feminists react so strongly against females being armed is because armed females violate traditional gender roles. The "masculine" way to settle a disagreement is through violence, we're told, while women "naturally" use more peaceful means of reaching the same goals. How, exactly, is this view any different from the one held by the stereotypical and possibly-apocryphal good old boy who proclaims, "It takes a real man to handle a forty-five"?
That. Drives me nuts. The more so because I do not find women particularly nice or peaceful. Often unwilling to engage in open, honest aggression, and sometiems even cowardly, yes, very often.

When I wrote what I did on women who self-identify as feminists, and in a certain sense, I obviously do, I wasn't referring to say, you or anyone else. I was more referring to how hot and sensitive the subject of self-defense is amongst women who do self-identify as feminists. Sorry for that confusion. I really don't think The Firing Line is a hotbed of feminist theory
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Old November 19, 2009, 12:12 AM   #48
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Erin,

Glad to see you back and using TFL as a resource for your articles. I would think and hope all of us are flattered that you're soliciting our opinions.

Interesting conversation so far.

The Gay/Lesbian community
Fifteen years ago I had a lady roommate who also happened to be a lesbian. You'd see a petite 5'3" attractive 28 year old woman with a penchant for dressing like a tomboy (almost never a dress or skirt). Yet still very feminine. I took her out shooting and she enjoyed it. She even considered buying one of her own if she could save the money.

I found it interesting that many of her gay/lesbian friends had certain hard-core attitudes. In fact, several lesbians said exactly the same thing when the subject of shooting sports or self-defense firearms came up. That men owning guns was to compensate for a small sexual organ and in women it was merely penis envy. I found it was their way of rejecting "male" oriented items of "power" as they referred to them. But I could not see how a tool like a revolver was different than the cordless power chisel used by a lesbian sculpture artist. Gay men rejected guns as "tools of violence" and "symbols of God-like power". Yet, in listening to conversations many of these same persons were heavily involved in a particular "kinky" lifestyle that emulates violence or dominates another person. Go figure. (Further discussion in this realm should be privatized to avoid complications).

I've also found that many "straight" women think that taking control of their lives and their own defense means they will not be perceived as "feminine" or "female". Terms like "redneck" or "sexless female" were applied.

Women & Awareness
How women actually think (from the male perspective at least) is hard to fathom. Women want their independence, equal pay and the respect from men for what they are capable of. However, they then turn right around and expect to be "protected" because all their lives someone - mother, father, brother, older sister - has been trying to protect them. Perhaps it is "inherited" because most mothers can't impart lessons never learned and fathers believe they or the young men in her life will pick up the job.

I have experienced this with a girlfriend who, despite her intelligence, refused to pay attention to her surroundings. It finally dawned on her one day at the bank. As we walked towards the bank, a sedan stopped in front and three men wearing beanies and carrying rifles paused near the door to pull down their ski masks. I grabbed her arm and said "Time to leave." She was confused. "We're evacuating the area." I said, figuring "evacuate" would give her a clue. Nope. She started arguing and struggling to go to the bank. I finally told her it was being held up. "How do you know that? We're still outside." Yes, she'd seen the men get out, but was "looking a SALE sign" at the store beyond the men and didn't even notice the rifles!

In terms of awareness, I think too many women operate in "condition white". This is where they are preoccupied with their own thoughts and actions and pay little attention to others around them. And who can blame them sometimes? Trying to be aware when the 2 year old is screaming in the near-ultrasonic in his car seat is not always possible. But too many let it become a daily habit.

Why? Again, because they were raised with someone else around them to "protect" them. It takes time to shed this life-long feeling and realize her protection is up to her now.

Some women think if they are capable of defending themselves they will be less attractive to a male. The old idea that men are the protectors of the family has roots in history and genetics. Men, quite simply, are expendable. The old phrase "women and children first!" reflects the racial preservation mechanism. The women are to be saved because they produce and rear the children. The children are the continuation of the race & bloodline. Save the men? What for? They're replaceable and life continues. Thus some women think that if they can protect and defend themselves they are "taking away" one of a man's principle reasons for existence. For feeling "manly".

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Most men would love the idea of a woman who can and will defend herself -- and the children. Even in a childless relationship, it eases the burden of worry if she is late coming home. Or has to travel alone. Knowing that if he's traveling that she can defend hearth & home gives him reassurance. And he, in turn, will more than likely treat her as an equal.

Spouses and lovers as aggressors
The sad part is that too often women are the victims of those who are supposed to be closest to them. Jealous lovers (either/same gender) lose control and inflict insults, torments and injuries. It's common in a domestic violence case where a woman calls police for protection and when they provide it, she turns against police for being "brutal" to the same person who brutalized her.

The complexities of personal relationships and the inter-dependencies of one person on another are beyond the scope of the conversation. There are many reasons people elect to stay with someone abusive.

One problem is, I think, that women recognize when a relationship is/will become abusive. They fear having weapons around that might be used against them. Let's face it, if you have or had deep feelings for someone for quite some time, the idea of having to shoot or kill them to save your own life is difficult to grasp. I think most people would initially think "What's wrong with them?" and later "what's wrong with me?" And fear of reprisals, stalking and more violence breeds fear of doing anything that will upset the person.

If women want an equal share, they have to take an equal share of their responsibility for protecting themselves. A woman who says "I'd rather be raped than kill someone" has (most likely) never been raped nor come to terms with just how brutal some people can be. Nor can she expect others to view her as "equal", for if she won't protect herself, what will she do for her partner or children? In these circumstances, hope is not a strategy.
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Old November 19, 2009, 01:24 AM   #49
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Stepping in it?

Quote:
I clean up alright, but no one would ever mistake me for feminine

I was raised about as old-school as you can get. Great and grandparents were farmers during depression, roles were fairly established....or were they?

I recall a story my grandfather told me when I was a kid that changed my thinking from that day forward.

Its the depression, my sweet grandmother (and I mean saintly here, practically worshipped by my family) got up to milk the cows while my grandfather was working in the cellar.

5 foot 2 and wearing 5 layers of clothes she went off with the buckets up the lane to the barn in a light but cold snow.

My grandfather (who told me the story) says he was rearranging some carrots or something when he heard two blasts. He, at first, though his wife might be chasing off rodents or coyotes with the shotgun they kept in the barn. Then he heard a blue streak of swearing first by my grandmother and then by male voices. He grabbed an axe and raced to the barn.

He saw 3 men running across the field, two of them limping badly and my sweet grandmother clutching a pitch fork yelling curses, ones he wouldn’t repeat (I asked). When he got to her she hugged him, started crying, and told him to get her to the house. She had been hurt.

They got into the bathroom and started peeling off all the layers, shot started falling on the floor. One of the three had found the shotgun in the barn and when he saw my grandmother approach, he shot her twice. Bad bruises and some tweezer work but she was OK.

Instead of running or dropping to the ground (like I probably would) she ran at him, grabbed a pitch fork leaning against the entrance of the barn, and messed him up bad. When his friend tried to stop her she put all four splines into his gut, the other just ran. She must have been very angry because she chased him. The other two ran away as she did.

Ya, its a cool story from my family history but more than that, I never viewed my grandmother as masculine. Quite the contrary. She was the sweetest woman on the planet, 5 foot 2 and stocky, quite pretty, and very well educated and mannered.

This story helped define femininity to me. I have never met PAX but after many conversations on this forum, I say she is quite feminine. The kind of person you see spoiling kids affection but as indomitable and ruthless as a cornered cat when she needs to be.

I don’t think any man that has had a relationship with a woman for any extended period of time looks at them as weak and frilly. We are the guys that make them angry the most. We see it...and we don’t want any.

On the other hand....

As a man, when you see Jessica Alba in a bathing suit or even a business suit, your first thought is WOW, and the rest is rarely printable. Then your brain kicks in and you realize you're a caveman. Its embarrassing for us men when that happens but it happens anyway. That stuff is as annoying to us as it is to women.

Women have every bit as annoying lapses. Its just as easy for a woman to criticize a man for his wondering eye as it is for a man to roll his eyes when we see a woman trying to make up her mind. Men and women are different. Not stupid. What the hell is wrong with different?

“Feminine” means woman to me, not babe, not Barbie, but woman, the whole thing. “Feminist” means something else entirely; more akin to black panthers and white supremacists. Whether it’s right or not is debatable but that’s pretty much how I see it.

Gun manufacturers, gun writers, and experts of all kinds are fooling themselves with their own self importance and cowardice.

I regret, and so does my wife, that American culture has stopped celebrating femininity and masculinity and has, instead, chosen to look upon it as weakness or barbarism.

Go dress shopping with your wife for big shin-dig, give her three hours to get ready, and when she comes out she absolutely glows. She loves it. She will tell you.

Go tool shopping with your husband and watch him get dirty in the garage. We love being men.

I guess where this ties into firearms is that from firearm selection to training methods, let women be women and men be men. It doesn’t have to make sense to the other.

Car manufacturers are way ahead of the game on this. Gun manufacturers, trainers, husbands, wives, and forum posters should quit trying to make one androgynous un-offended blur out of gun owners. We are different and it’s OK.

I am so sick of people spouting off stats and rules with the intent of establishing THE way. Regardless of the facts, laws, and credentials of some of the people on this board, it is you that has to find your own way to being a responsible, competent, and happy firearm owner.

Sure there are laws, but there are also juries. Know the laws, know the stats, but buy the gun you want, train the way you choose, and let everyone else do the same. It’s the American way. Be yourself. Expect that others respect that.

Last edited by Gaxicus; November 19, 2009 at 11:40 AM.
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Old November 19, 2009, 11:38 AM   #50
Vanya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax
...<snip> The kind of fingernails that meant she did not, could not, wear clothing that required her to manipulate buttons. Looooooong fingernails. As you might imagine, competent (or simply safe) firearms manipulation was a severe and difficult challenge for her. Even getting her finger into and then back out of the trigger guard required her full attention and several moments of careful work. Feminine attractiveness to her meant that she was too helpless even to button a blouse ... or to safely use a firearm.

I've lost track of the number of women who've appeared in class wearing inappropriate, useless footwear. <snip> Another manifestation of the same thing: useful, practical footwear is "ugly" and unfeminine. Only decorative but non-functional shoes are cute!
The point about fingernails and shoes is an important one. But -- I would never say they're "non-functional." They do have a function, which is to render women helpless. A woman with those long fingernails is severely handicapped in what she can do with her hands; a woman who wears those shoes can't run, can't maneuver, and if she wears them regularly, she'll literally be crippled by the time she's 40 or 50. (I remember, as a teenager, looking at my mother's twisted feet, and realizing that I never wanted mine to look like that. And the shoes my mother wore weren't that extreme by today's standards.)

A "feminine" woman is a helpless woman. She needs a man to light her cigarette, open the door for her, hold her arm when she walks down the street, change the lightbulb... and, of course, she needs a man to protect her from other men.

When you add in the amount of time and money a "feminine" woman has to spend maintaining the fingernails and a complicated hairsyle, buying makeup and putting it on, buying half a dozen different "outfits" every year where a man can get by with a couple of suits, it's no wonder women are "handicapped" in their economic lives, as well. But that's another subject -- or perhaps not, given that a woman's disposable income will have an immediate effect on her ability to afford a gun or two and pay for the kind of training she needs to use it -- or other weapons -- effectively.

None of this is random. This is a culture which is deeply ambivalent about the idea that women have a right to control their own lives, even their own bodies. And control of the body is very much what's at issue here: at a very basic level, we're talking about deciding who has permission to touch us, how, and when. (Many men, even fairly well-intentioned ones, simply don't get that it isn't OK to put a hand on a woman they've just met. Laying a hand on the arm of a stranger is a gesture of power and dominance, not one of "friendliness.")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaxicus
I guess where this ties into firearms is that from firearm selection to training methods, let women be men and men be men.
Great Freudian slip there, Gaxicus.
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