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Old November 19, 2009, 11:42 AM   #51
Gaxicus
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Freudian slip

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Great Freudian slip there, Gaxicus.
Is my skirt showing? Sorry........ Just kidding. I fixed it. Thanks.

Perfect place for it eh?
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Old November 19, 2009, 12:10 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by BillCA
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.
I wish that were always true. From my perspective, a lot of guys who say they want their wives, girlfriends, female friends able & willing to protect themselves, aren't quite so enthusiastic when the women really become self-aware and self-protective.

Oh, that sounds awfully negative and cynical. Sorry. An example from my own life: fairly early in my shooting experience, I took a firearms class with a family friend. He and I had been shooting together many times, in company with a group of us that would go out into the woods to shoot targets together. Keep in mind I'm an old married lady, so there's no romantic involvement here. Just an old friend we'd known for years. Anyway, we ended up in this class together and really had a ball. Stood next to each other on the line all weekend, visited between drills, learned a bunch. Toward the end of the class, the instructor had all of us shoot a police-style qualification on a scored target. When the scores were tallied up, my target had a few more points on it than his did. I didn't say anything about it or think anything of it, but he went kind of quiet. And from that day to this, our old friend has never gone shooting with me again.

Just coincidence. Or maybe just his problem. But I've seen the same reaction from other guys on the range too, not in relation to me but in relation to the women they come with. It's okay for a guy to brag that his wife or girlfriend is a better shot than he is, as long as he knows in his heart of hearts that she still "needs" him to fill her magazines or rack the slide or clear a jam or in some other way is still dependent on him. But as soon as she becomes really competent, some guys do get threatened -- and some of them to a remarkable degree. I'm remembering one particular fill-in-the-blank who stomped to the back of the range and began throwing around the plastic chairs when his wife outshot him during a shotgun qual.

Nor is that the only thing, just the physical skills. Some guys are threatened by the emotional shifts necessary for a woman to defend herself. Right now on another board, I've been watching and participating in a thread discussing an article written by a woman that obviously threatened some of the men. The female writer's stated awareness of her surroundings and of the potential threat posed by unknown men kicked off a firestorm of negative reaction on that board. These are all guys who would tell you that they strongly support women being armed & interested in self-defense, but they still react very negatively to the discovery that for a woman, being aware of her surroundings includes being aware of the potential for violence from unfamiliar men.

Another example, this one from a long time back on another board: http://www.thehighroad.us/showpost.p...6&postcount=15 -- "...if ever confronting a possible threat while in the company of a lady, do you stand beside her, or in front of her??? I can't imagine even the most PC man 'suggesting' that she help fight the ensuing struggle."

So it's okay for her to learn to shoot, but expecting her to participate in protecting herself when there's a man around to do it for her? That's just beyond comprehension.

What I'm getting at is that there are still an awful lot of cultural barriers on a woman's journey to armed self-defense, and that some of these barriers come from guys who would adamantly tell you they support a woman's right to make that choice for herself -- and, as Erin pointed out in her OP, some of these barriers come from other women who would tell you they strongly support a woman's right to be independent, strong, and capable of running her own life.

Obviously, of course, we aren't talking about "all men" or "all women" or even "all feminists." But people are complex, and not always aware of their own mixed messages or tangled motivations.

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Old November 19, 2009, 12:31 PM   #53
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Circumstances

It is one of my jobs to protect my wife. That is why she was encouraged to learn to shoot and fight. The difficult part was to convince her to quit provoking violence. She would fearlessly confront anyone before she learned the discipline of self defense. She had to experience first hand how murderous people have become in this age of political correctness.
Big strong male bullies agree with their counterparts, the petty tyrants who inhabit all spheres, that they would rather prey on the defenseless.
The woman who chose to have nails so long that she sacrificed manual dexterity is an extreme example but she has every right to be that way. Apparently, she was able to receive some instruction. Some would be uncomfortable at the range wearing anything less than a bomb disposal suit. I ride a bicycle without a helmet but I like to have glasses and ear plugs at the range.
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The Sun can burn you but not as bad as people do - Don Van Vliet
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Old November 19, 2009, 01:47 PM   #54
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Obviously, of course, we aren't talking about "all men" or "all women" or even "all feminists." But people are complex, and not always aware of their own mixed messages or tangled motivations.
+10. I'm rather poor at seeing my own tangled motivations without doing a lot of not-always-fun work to sort them out. That's a common problem, and it causes all sorts of trouble.

The one guy in my life that most exemplifies the Type-A, macho, traditional male, however, is not even remotely threatened by women who outperform him, even in a field where he (correctly) views himself as an expert -- shooting. I've known Mike since college. Back then I still had my vision in as good of shape as it ever was (correctable to 20/20) and often outshot him at the range with a .22 rifle. (My small muscle coordination is quite good, better than his.) I also once hit a long-range rifle target he was shooting at with his Colt .357. One of his teenage daughters now outshoots him regularly. Of course, he taught her to shoot, so he still takes some credit for her shooting. ;-)

From what I've seen in my life, you just never really know how somebody will react til you try it. For a lot of women, me among them, that makes us a bit cautious especially around men we care about. While I don't like it when a guy can't handle me beating him at some competitive thing, I also have my weaknesses and don't like to rub someone's nose in theirs.

I wonder how many women are hesitant to *really* get good at self defense because they don't want to hurt a man they care about?
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Old November 19, 2009, 02:02 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by sakeneko
I wonder how many women are hesitant to *really* get good at self defense because they don't want to hurt a man they care about?
Many, I suspect, and it doesn't have to be a man they care about.

Girls are taught at an early age that it's sort of impolite to do certain things better than boys. In primary schools, girls and boys test about equally in math and science, but by high school, girls typically don't do as well. Not because they've become dumber or the boys have gotten smarter, but because around puberty, they start getting messages that boys won't like them if they get better grades. ("No one wants to go out with a 'brain'...")
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Old November 20, 2009, 11:04 AM   #56
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I wonder how many women are hesitant to *really* get good at self defense because they don't want to hurt a man they care about?
I suspect, none. There are infinite rationalizations for why someone does something or not. One needn't create an alternate universe to justify their aptitude. No righteous person wants to hurt anyone.
It's been said that an armed society is a polite society. Some think that's true because they are afraid of each other. As far as it is true, it is out of respect not fear. Mutual respect is what makes the armed society possible. Where fear reigns, disarmament prevails.
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Old November 20, 2009, 04:20 PM   #57
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Our socialization as men and women, and how it is appropriate for us to behave, is not some kind of rationalization. It's real. Real for men and real for women, regardless of our orientation. ETA: people who violate it, particularly transsexuals, are at extraordinary risk of violence.

It's why we look down on male designers as men--even though they have more creditability than female designers--and the military uses women in more combat roles than they will ever publicly admit, while refusing to admit women fully to the profession of arms. It's why quite a few of us get bent out of shape about men wearing pink and lavender (I once worked for a very dignified older gentleman, heterosexual, whose favorite color was shades of lavender, which he wore with wry bemusement). It's why women will grow nails so long they interfere with their everyday life (Kathy, my hat is off to you for working with that woman; I'd have been terrified to be anywhere around her) and wear shoes that will, as Vanya pointed out, cripple us. It's why women often torment ourselves about our weight and every other aspect of our physical appearance. It's why women will prefer broken bones--even crippling or fatal fractures--to lifting weights. It's why we do not take crimes against women anywhere near as seriously as we take crimes against men and why we do not take intimate violence, largely committed by men against women, as seriously as public violence, which is largely committed by men against men. Never mind that intimate violence is the growth culture for conventional violent crime, and to a far greater extent than I ever thought until now: cite here, see section 1.8.2. And its why women who do fight back face standards of doubt and evidence that men do not often face, because they are fighting back against a domestic abuser.

And not all of this pressure comes from men. Yes, some of it does. But a lot of it doesn't. And some of that comes from women who self-identify as feminists--ETA: meaning they say they support women's integrity and freedom.

And as I've been working through this thread and back channel correspondence, it's that that becomes more and more the focus of what I plan to write. Why do we do this to each other? I get why some men batter and abuse women, and I get the biological root of that, which is that historical maternal mortality rates made it impossible for either men or women to value women as human beings and citizens. What I have struggled with is, why do we women, especially those of us who, whether we self-identify as feminist or not, say we support other women leading strong, active lives, make it so hard for others to do so?

I'm going into draft, now.

Again, many thanks to all for their serious participation and allowing me to learn from your experiences while organizing my own thoughts. I'll be contacting some of you with permission to quote you.

Thank you,
Erin Solaro

Last edited by WarMare; November 21, 2009 at 10:17 AM.
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Old November 21, 2009, 12:13 PM   #58
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Too Much For My Mirror

< snip> - Sorry, trying to keep us on track.

I don't believe guns are the answer to your conundrum.

Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 21, 2009 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Nice poem, I think - not relevant.
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Old November 21, 2009, 12:44 PM   #59
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I had all kinds of stuff to say, then I got to Vanya's post and everything else is flying out the window.

ACK!

I WEAR HIGH HEELS!!!

I WEAR LONG NAILS!!!

I'm not crippled. I'm not helpless, though I confess I don't really think I should have to do things like change light bulbs, let alone defend myself. Sadly, I'm not really a princess and sometimes I even have to kill spiders.

I do think men should be the protectors and I prefer more traditional gender roles in addition to preferring more traditionally feminine clothing and other gender "markers", makeup, heels, hair, etc.

I also identify as a feminist. I've seen glass ceilings, I've seen a time when job listings noted appropriate gender for applicants, and I've seen a world where women in abusive relationships couldn't get a divorce because it was a sin. Yes, the term may have baggage, and no, I might not be old enough to have fought for the rights women have gained....but I'm old enough to remember a different world.

I have more to say, but I had to shout a little bit first.

p.s. my nails are not dragon-lady length, but yes, I usually have a perfect manicure and pedicure.

p.s.s. My Krav Maga self defense class, has street-clothes week coming up, and I will be wearing my heels and have a change of sandals. My wardrobe should not interfere with my ability to defend myself.
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Old November 21, 2009, 01:01 PM   #60
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I took my BF shooting. He has experience with long guns, but had never fired a hand gun before.

I am a better shot and know more than he does...at this time.

I'm also studying a very nasty form of self-defense called Krav Maga. I've been trying to get the BF to come with me, but he hasn't so far.

We frequently joke that it's me that would defend us if we found ourselves in a bad situation. But joking aside, I'm better trained and probably really am more capable of defending us at this point in time.

His nickname for me is, "Princess Ram Tough", which suits me.

But yes, I still look at him as the protector and I want to feel that the male in my life is the protector even if I'm the one packing.

Intimate Violence


It might not be headline making news, unless someone dies....but it is taken VERY seriously in my city and my impression is that my city isn't alone on that.

If police here, go out on a DV call, someone WILL be arrested. And it is seriously prosecuted.

I can't envision any mechanism by which DV isn't handled very seriously.

Hesitation About Self-Defense

Self-defense capabilities do not fit my "image" of myself. As I've already noted, I do prefer traditional gender roles, even though I'm educated, childless, single, and make a decent living on my own.

I perceive self-defense abilities as male-gendered and I'm not drawn towards stereotypically male activities. If anything, I tend to move away from such things.

Before self defense became an obvious necessity, I was already picking up some male gendered things like driving a pickup truck, because I have horses. I also need to move 50lb feed bags around on a regular basis, in addition to things like mucking stalls. None of that really fit my princess image either. (Poor me, lol!)

I also had a deep fear of guns. They signified violence. They seem manly. They are noisy. They were unpredictable. They can hurt you. And I have lots of associations to guns and rednecks, uncultured, uncivilized people.

"Thinking, intellectual people don't use guns."

"Women don't use guns."

We use our brains to avoid conflict and use negotiation or discussion to resolve problems, not violence.

This little part of my universe came crashing down hard, when I was confronted with an unknown home intruder (home invasion?? that always sounds so dramatic), not once but 3x, while home alone.

Since my college days (awhile ago), I've never been an anti, as I believe in our constitution and the rights and privileges it gives us.

But guns were for 'other people.'

I cannot even find words to express how life-altering this journey has been for me.

But I didn't want my life altered!!!!

Yet, I've had to accept that in order for me to feel safe in my world, I could not continue with the attitude that it was up to strong males to protect me.

And here I am.
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Old November 21, 2009, 01:51 PM   #61
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Phoebe, I'm sorry if you you were offended by what I wrote about nails and heels.

The point isn't that ALL women who wear high heels and long nails are helpless and should make other choices, but that in general, the effect of these things, and others like them, is to make the wearers less able to do things for themselves. It's just the way it is, and it's no accident that in this culture, these "fashions" are imposed on women, but not on men.

[DIGRESSION]This can vary from one culture to another, and the meaning of this stuff can be quite complex: it can also signify high social status and/or wealth, for a privileged class that doesn't have to do manual labor. For instance, in Imperial China, the men of the Mandarin class wore their fingernails so long that they wore specially designed cases in order to protect them; the message was very much "I do not have to work with my hands!"

And for a long period, the Chinese also bound the feet of little girls, compressing them to the point that as they grew, bones were broken, and the women ended up barely able to walk on tiny, hoof-like feet. (I've seen the shoes they wore: they can be two or three inches long.) And this was seen, again, as a mark of social status. These women were made completely dependent on other people -- men or servants -- in order to make a statement about the status of their fathers, or, later, husbands.

(Bound feet were also excruciatingly painful. If you think bunions are bad, imagine being forced to walk on broken bones in order to affirm your family's social standing.)[/DIGRESSION]

You're right, domestic violence is taken much more seriously now than it was a few years ago, and it's high time. But it's still fairly common for women who kill their batterers to go to jail, and many people still have trouble with the notion that "wife-beating" isn't, well, sort of a boys-will-be-boys thing, rather than an actual crime. A (male) friend said to me a few years ago, "Well, we don't have much crime in Vermont, we just get drunk and hit our wives instead." (He then looked at me with fear and horror on his face as he realized what he'd said -- but he did say it.)
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Last edited by Vanya; November 21, 2009 at 03:02 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old November 21, 2009, 02:17 PM   #62
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Vanya, I wasn't genuinely offended. I just wanted to make a point that these choices don't inherently conflict with SD.

I think it's wonderful to live in a time period and place where women can make these choices out of freedom.

And I do think long nails signify some social status because it's hard to do real work and maintain a manicure. But fake nails can help us fake it!
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Old November 21, 2009, 02:53 PM   #63
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DV/SD

That I know of, our case law, culminating in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, establishing no particular individual has a right to police protection is drawn, to the best of my knowledge, from intimate, usually domestic, crimes. As I noted above, all but one victim was female; he was a juvenile male brutalized by his father, which meant he was socially and culturally female. I cannot stress enough that in these cases, the police did not engage in good-faith attempts to stop the criminals and simply could not get there fast enough. They behaved in horrendously bad faith, and the result was women maimed, tortured, their children murdered, and so on. One of those cases was in DC, which until the Heller verdict meant that it was a crime for a peacable citizen to have arms even in her home---and so was horrendously disadvantaged against a criminal, regardless of relationship.
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Old November 21, 2009, 08:51 PM   #64
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I've come out of lurkdom and registered in order to respond to this thread (I'm 3KillerBs -- a reference to my favorite Nascar drivers -- on some other forums but it wouldn't accept my name here).

I have a great deal of difficulty relating to many of the discussion points I've read. I'm really quite baffled by the idea that anyone could consider shooting incompatible with femininity.

I'm a short, overweight, greying, middle-aged woman who chooses to wear skirts at least 90% of the time and who has a taste for pastels, lace, and more frilliness than suits my dumpy figure. I'm a happily married mother of four who has been blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom (though the economy may change that), and am very conservative in my religious and social beliefs. I advocate Christian submission as a wife (in the properly understood form as a purely voluntary act of faith which is coupled in a reciprocal fashion to my husband's willingness to love me as Christ loves the church and die for me if necessary), and expect both my husband and my now-18yo, adult son to take the lead in the defense of our home because that's one of the jobs of the man of the house.

BUT, and this is a very large BUT, I don't see what any of that has to do with shooting or self-defense.

I draw my inspiration from the strong, capable, competent country, farm, and pioneer woman of American history and legend. Women who were fully ladylike and undoubtedly feminine yet totally capable of doing what needed to be done when it had to be done. Molly Pitcher who took her husband's place on the gun crew when he dropped, John Henry's Polly Ann who drove steel like a man when he fell ill, Annie Oakley who supported her family with her hunting, and the millions of ordinary women who have picked up a gun to defend themselves, their children, their property, and their livestock from predators -- 2-legged or 4-legged.

I am Kipling's female of the species who has, quite literally, faced death by torture for those 4 lives I've brought into the world* and who has neither doubt that anyone who wants to hurt me will be resisted to my full capability and that anyone who wants to hurt one of my kids will have to kill me to get to him/her nor pity for the human predators who die of meeting a person who refused to be victimized.

I find myself totally incapable of grasping any disconnect between self-defense and femininity. To me, part of being not just female but a lady is to have enough self-respect to know that I have a right to say NO and make that NO be serious. Part of being a lady is the self-assurance to know in my bones that anyone who lays an unwanted hand on me has forfeited his right to continue existing.

I think that my husband would be equally baffled by the idea that self-defense is somehow unfeminine. After all, for one of our first dates he borrowed his mother's .22 -- the one my MIL used to keep lying on the deck rail while we ate picnic dinners so that she could shoot the groundhogs that raided her garden -- and took me can plinking. In the discussions we've had, its his job to protect us and my job to back him up if he's not there or if the first line of defense fails. He can be more secure about doing his job knowing that I'm well-prepared to do mine.

I have a great deal of difficulty getting my head around the idea that anyone -- male or female -- would do anything other than fight back if attacked. To me that's a basic condition of human self-respect which has nothing whatsoever to do with age or chromosome complements.

I hadn't seen this perspective in the thread so I thought I ought to introduce it.

As for issues of caliber and performance and training, DH is larger, stronger, and better coordinated than I am so he will beat me at nearly everything. Though I do have complete confidence that I can fire any gun that I can hold securely (I'm hoping to borrow a .44 from a friend next weekend), I don't have the control that a larger and more athletic person -- male or female -- would.

*For the benefit of the children I forgo medication, one of the pregnancies was high-risk, and the one that required a C-section birth required me to voluntarily submit to making my worst nightmare come true since the idea of being cut open while awake reduced me to whimpering terror.
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Old November 21, 2009, 09:13 PM   #65
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Hi 3KillerB's.

I'd guess you probably grew up with guns or at least around them?

I'd also guess we grew up in very different universes in a bunch of other ways too.

I understand the view you're presenting, but am not sure why it would be so baffling to you to see other views expressed here?

FWIW, I grew up in a Vietnam era home with a hippy mom who was hugely anti gun at that time. I wasn't even allowed to point my finger at my brother and say, "bang."

I was taught that the proper way to solve problems is to use brain, not brawn.

I certainly was not taught to fight back. And in fact, at about age 14, someone nearly raped me and I froze like a deer in the headlights.

If you raised girls and taught them differently, good for you and them!!! Every girl should grow up knowing that it's okay to say no and okay to defend herself.

But I'm baffled that you're baffled about it not always being that way.

p.s. I still see combat, including any kind of physical fighting (even self defense) as a male activity. That doesn't mean females can't participate in fighting, nor does it mean a woman can't take care of her own defense needs. But it seems inherently male to me.

Sorry.

ETA: my mom has been a gun owner for years and years and can't figure out why I grew up so afraid of them. Gah!

Last edited by Phoebe; November 21, 2009 at 10:06 PM.
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Old November 21, 2009, 10:39 PM   #66
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No, I didn't grow up with guns. My Dad had his hunting guns in the closet, but we weren't on the farm like the uncles and cousins and dad had never been a real enthusiast. He just didn't see guns as suburban tools so my sister and I didn't get the same introduction our rural cousins got. Chainsaws, splitting mauls, the tiller for the garden, electric drills, and the difference between metric and standard wrenches yes, guns no.

What baffles me is making any kind of connection between self-defense and Y-chromosomes. Standing up for oneself and one's rights is a human thing, not a male thing.

Mom and dad both always taught my sister and I that if you're pushed you stand your ground and push back if appropriate, that the sure way to stop a bully was not by giving in but by giving him/her a bloody nose, that while we had to respect legitimate authority we didn't have to bow to anyone, and that if anyone ever dared lay hands on us they were fair game for any damage we could possibly deal to them.

Initiating aggression was absolutely forbidden, but standing firm against it was just as absolutely required. To this day my mother's greatest mark of contempt is to call someone a "doormat".

When I was in high school a guy pinched my backside in the public library and I chased him around the corner of the stacks and hit him on the head with about 400 pages of oversized hardbacks. My mother scolded me -- not for hitting him but for not also reporting him to the staff at the desk so he could be dealt with by the police.

Fighting -- coming to blows in an argument -- isn't ladylike, but defending yourself isn't fighting, its asserting your rights as a human being who is just as good as any other human being.

I think that my generational sisters and our daughters are missing something very valuable in the loss of the ladylike slap that our mothers and grandmothers understood was their absolute right to deal out to any man who "got fresh" (and the equal understanding among the men that anyone who wished to call himself a gentleman would, first, refrain from ever giving a woman cause to slap him and, second, intervene on the lady's behalf if a slapping situation was obviously developing).

I can understand that a person growing up abused, physically or emotionally, could get all the self-respect knocked out of them so that they don't know anything but the cringing of the helpless victim. I can't get my mind around how a normal person from a normal background could get into the state of thinking that having 2, X-chromosomes instead of one X and one Y means not having the human right to not be a victim. There's nothing personal about it -- its just that its like reading about a completely alien culture with a mindset so foreign to me that I can't get it into my head.

I've never heard of anyone calling a rural woman who could do any job on the farm/ranch -- including shooting the groundhogs out of her garden or the coyotes who attacked her henhouse -- unladylike or unfeminine. That's where I see the right model to point out as ideal for female behavior -- competent, capable, aware of her strengths and her weaknesses both, able to pull her fair share of the load, and yet unafraid to claim her femininity.
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Old November 22, 2009, 12:58 AM   #67
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Ugh! iam3KBs, I don't even know where to start.

I think two planets have just collided. Communication is likely impossible. And I also think there may be too much topic drift here if it's even pursued much further.

I'm NOT saying there is a connection between defending oneself and being unfeminine.

But if you look at gender stereotypes, which DO inform our cultural expectations:

Aggressive behavior is stereotypically gendered male.
Nurturing behavior is stereotypically gendered female.

We are thinking animals so we can make CHOICES about our behavior that fall outside of gender stereotypes.

Going back to some of the original thread, I think what you're not accounting for is that by biology, women are generally weaker and less physically capable. Part of the point of the entire thread was gun as equalizer. Guns don't win based on who is the beefiest or who has the most muscle. Guns allow women a chance for an equal playing field.

Yet women and men are physically different from each other. (And thank goodness for that!) In a hand-to-hand confrontation, the weakest man is likely to still beat the strongest woman.

That's our biology.

Thus, I believe, women have developed other coping skills -- not all of them to our benefit. But submitting, avoiding, de-escalating, are typical female strategies to avoid getting hurt.

If that's not what you grew up with...hooray for your parents!!!
And if that's not how you raised your girls...hooray for you!!!

More parents need to raise their girls to stand up for themselves.

But I remain baffled that what is as plain as day to me, so utterly baffles you.
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Old November 22, 2009, 11:02 AM   #68
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Just to be a professor - don't be fixated on one factor in determing behavior.

You have:

1. Genetics
2. Critical periods during which certain stimuli are needed to instantiate the potential of genetically programmed behavioral patterns.
3. Learning and esp. the establishment of social cognitive schema of behavior, esp. for gender roles.

All interact - differences in male and female behavioral characteristics seem pretty universal. Males being more aggressive and females being nuturant is one. It probably has a strong genetic base but that needs to developed by cultural exposure.

Also, while there are differences, there is also tremedous overlap in the distribution of characteristics such that a mean difference may not be that important for a given individual. So you can get a nonaggressive man and an aggressive women.

Thus, in some cultures or venues you get outdoors women. I know a woman from Europe who thinks gun culture is ridiculous but is a tough martial artist and strongly into self-defense training for women. I know men who cringe at guns. The distributional general differences are indicative but not totally determinant for a person and might be a small portion of the total package.

Individual cases are fun but can't prove a general point.
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Old November 22, 2009, 03:07 PM   #69
iam3KBs
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Quote:
But if you look at gender stereotypes,
Well, you see, I don't look at stereotypes. Stereotyping is lazy at best and lends itself to being a tool of outright evil. I don't look at people as group members at all. Group membership is meaningless and emphasizing it ranges from lazy to malicious.

Biology is real. Men and women do, on average, differ in size, strength, mental characteristics relating to the effects of testosterone or the lack thereof on a developing brain, and in the effects of hormones on our insticts and emotions.* But those differences have no relevance to the issue of self-defence.

Women are, on average, smaller and weaker than men -- which makes guns even more valuable to women than to men. But being smaller and weaker is not biologically connected with a lack of instinct for self-defense. The fight or flight instinct -- the instinct of self-preservation -- is universal.

A small, weak animal cornered by a large, strong one will fight even though it will almost certainly lose. That's instinct. No healthy animal will lay down and passively allow itself to be killed. As tool users we humans don't have to depend on physical strength when we refuse to be victimized but can choose to use appropriate equalizers such as firearms. And no rational person would condemn them for it on the basis of which chromosome set the un-victim possesses.

Dominance and submission are also universal -- but as a tool of social order in the herd/flock/community, not as a license for oppression and abuse. And humans, being driven by thought and reason rather than mere instinct, offer the opportunity to refuse submission -- a behavior that acts as a check on dominance becoming oppression.

And we are, after all, talking about modern-day, western culture rather than some hung-over-from-the-dark-ages, bastion of barbarism and enslavement.

And if irrational persons should happen to condemn a woman as unfeminine for refusing to be victimized when she had the power to stop the oppression its of no consequence. A sane society does not allow the irrational to set the rules.


*Those who are interested in how male and female roles evolved in human history might find the book Woman's Work: the First 20,000 Years interesting. Sex roles are a secondary topic, but the way roles developed in accordance with the unbreakable connection between women and the care of their babies is very well explained as a corollary to the main topic.
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Old November 22, 2009, 11:51 PM   #70
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iam3KBs, it's not that I disagree with you.....but I don't think you're even trying to step outside of what your life has been like to see how it may be different from other women's life experiences. And so you end up baffled over something that, to me is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

Is it genuinely impossible for you to see anything other than your own experiences? You sound intelligent and articulate. Your points are well reasoned. So I can't see why you can't envision anything else. (and you sound a bit upset, but this is text and I may be misreading that.)

Glenn, I'm not sure if your post was directed at me, but I wasn't arguing for some monolithic explanation of all female behavior!! Just trying to point out to B that not all women come from the kind of background she has and trying to help her understand someone (me) who has had a very different background.

B, women willingly walk away with strangers and go like sheep to what is about to become a crime scene.

Yes, the ability and the reflexes to defend oneself are pretty inbred into biological creatures. Even flies scurry away when we swat them.

But some people, most often women, have developed other methods of attempted self defense, that involve placating, going along, etc. I don't think those behaviors are nearly as frequent in males.

If you want to relate it back to the animal kingdom, maybe "playing possum" would be analogous.

I'm simply asking you to step outside of what you think is how all people are....and trying to share with you that my experience, in no way, maps to yours.
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Old November 23, 2009, 12:23 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Phoebe
But some people, most often women, have developed other methods of attempted self defense, that involve placating, going along, etc.
That! Is a really good point.

I think a lot of times we get into this judgmental thing with people who are not firearms owners or who aren't interested in our vision of self-defense. And that causes us to kind of put our blinders on to a really crucial point: whatever these people are currently doing in terms of self-defense, even if it looks like "doing nothing at all" to us, it's a choice that has worked for them up until now. They're still alive. Therefore, their choices have worked and have been a successful strategy in their lives up until this point.

Any time we want someone to change behavior that has worked in the past, worked all of their lives, and that has worked without causing emotional or social upheaval in the way that firearms do, we really need to keep that thought strongly in mind. Their choices have worked. Talking people into throwing away behavior that has worked well for them is a hard sell, and an impossible one if you begin by insulting either that behavior or the person.

A better technique might be to explain the benefits of the change, building on the choices they've already made and that have been successful for them.

Gila Hayes, in her excellent book Personal Defense for Women, does a masterful job of this in her opening paragraphs:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gila Hayes in Personal Defense for Women

I grew up with my mother's repertoire of fears: attack by strangers, kidnapping, rape, and other violence by men against women. She warned my sister and me to avoid strangers, to keep window shades down and never go out alone at night.

Yet never was there any mention of fighting back. We were taught to behave quietly, dress modestly and pray that you do not attract criminal attention. Our training was in avoidance; we had no game plan if evasion failed. Girls weren't taught how to fight, even in last-ditch self defense. We feared violence but weren't allowed to respond in kind.
With just two paragraphs, Hayes acknowledges the game plan that has kept the vast majority of women alive: avoidance, evasion, misdirection. She doesn't belittle that plan in any way, but instead, she builds on it to explain why a woman might consider starting from there and taking the journey into armed self defense. She does this without insulting her readers and without belittling their efforts to date -- and without assuming that they are "sheeple" who have "done nothing" to defend or protect themselves.

Sometimes, I suspect that in our zeal to protect the people we care about, our sales jobs aren't always quite so masterful...

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Old November 23, 2009, 12:43 AM   #72
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3KBs,

I too grew up in a very traditional, conservative household. However, my experience and indoctrination about firearms was apparently quite different from yours.

My brother and my dad enjoyed hunting and shooting together. I was allowed to tag along, sometimes, but more often I was told, "Not today. Today is boys only." The message was clear: shooting was a boy thing, not a girl thing. Shopping was a girl thing, shooting a boy thing. Go be a girl.

When it was time to clean the game, if I asked to help, my daddy would always reply with a wink, "Just stand there and look pretty. That's what girls do to help!"

Because I was a stubborn little thing, I somehow failed to fully assimilate these messages, and by the time I was in high school I was dad's regular deer hunting buddy since my brother had moved out. But the message was still there very, very clearly: this is a boy thing. When you shoot or hunt, you're not "being a girl," you're being a tomboy. Sometimes it's okay to be a tomboy, but you're not "being a girl" when you do that.

As for self-defense, that was never mentioned in our house. But we all knew that it was Dad's job to protect us. It wasn't our job to protect ourselves and it certainly wasn't Mom's job to protect us. It was Daddy's job.

How in the world that task could be the primary responsibility of someone who wasn't even there for at least 14 hours a day, I don't know. But it was.

So one of the hurdles I personally had to jump over, when I first considered becoming an armed citizen, was the deeply-ingrained idea that protecting me was "really" my husband's job. My husband is a wonderful man, a loving and caring individual who works hard to support our large family. But that doesn't make him Superman. He is, in fact, an ordinary person, not much physically stronger than I am myself. And -- I'm here, always. No matter where I go and no matter what I do, I am always here. But sometimes he is gone. So I jumped that hurdle. But a hurdle it was.

And a hurdle it remains ... I just worded the above paragraph very, very carefully, lest anyone here think less of my beloved and manly husband, simply because I have chosen to be the one primarily responsible for my own safety and the safety of our children. Does my ability and determination to protect myself and our children lessen him, weaken him as a man? Not in his eyes, not in mine. But perhaps in yours, or in the eyes of other people reading this. The cultural message is strong and very deep: a man who is not the primary defender, the primary protector of his family, is no man at all.

How then can it be proper or feminine for me, as a traditional wife and mother, to usurp that role and call it my own?

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Old November 23, 2009, 12:52 AM   #73
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Krav Maga is REALLY good fighting and SD training, imo. I train off and on with a judo club and my best friend adn roomate is a brown belt semi-instrutor. we work with scenarios, hand to hand, weapons (including drawing during a confrontation and weapon isolation/ disarming if possible) We all carry concealed, and drill on SD techniques with a former us judo alternate for the olympics who grew up on the streets of Algeria. He do a lot of free style on some nights, MMA, etc. But we also get a few women in who are usually ver concearned about their safety, and learn basic self defense. It's ver important along with defensive shooting training. Stay Safe! My mom had a terrible close call, and self protection is something we need to take seriously. Good Luck!!!
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Old November 23, 2009, 09:41 AM   #74
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"I don't think you're even trying to step outside of what your life has been like to see how it may be different from other women's life experiences."

I said that I can understand how someone who has been physically or emotionally abused could have all the self-respect battered out of her to the point that she becomes less than an animal by losing the will to fight in her own defense.

But when it comes to normal women in western culture who have not been abused -- in that absence of any cause to reduce her to a less-than-human state -- it baffles me.

Life in general and the human spirit in particular is a tough, resilient thing that is not easily broken.

The concept that woman who have never spent a day in their lives hungry or in fear of death, who have rarely encountered so much as a harsh word, who live in a culture where those who would address harsh words to a woman would be punished by society and sometimes by law even if those harsh words were actually deserved, women who have lived -- as the free and prosperous west permits -- in continual comfort with opportunities undreamed of by our hardier ancestors available at every hand for the taking could have their spirits broken and battered in a way not often seen even under the most brutal oppression baffles me.

I feel no shame in confessing that and no obligation to attempt to understand a point of view so contradictory to the experience of women I've known and to the evidence of my eyes as I look at the world into which I will soon launch my children.
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Old November 23, 2009, 10:00 AM   #75
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"The cultural message is strong and very deep: a man who is not the primary defender, the primary protector of his family, is no man at all.

How then can it be proper or feminine for me, as a traditional wife and mother, to usurp that role and call it my own?"

Again I point to the strong and capable women in our American history and legend. Settlers, pioneers, and farmwives who had their men's backs when danger threatened and who protected their homes and families when the men were away.

Did anyone ever say they were unfeminine?

Did anyone ever question the manhood of their husbands and sons?

I have no hesitation in saying that a man who tells his daughter that shooting is for boys and not girls is acting wrongly.

But I also see no reason for a normal adult woman, one who was not physically or emotionally abused so as to have her spirit broken, to fail to understand that some of what her parents, teachers, and peers taught her was incorrect and to make her own judgments on those issues. Making such judgments -- separating what one was taught and what was assumed without explicit teaching from what is right and embracing the right to go on with -- is an essential part of becoming an adult.

One can refuse to be a victim of the culture as well as refusing to be a victim of the predators who walk among us.
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