A Feminist View of Guns

Somehow, I don’t think this talk will be pro-gun.

Senior Lecturer Caroline Light, who is Director of Harvard’s Undergraduate Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will give a historical view on visual depictions of armed femininity and discuss her writings on “America’s love affair with lethal self-defense.” Light refreshments will be served.

Whaddaya think, should I attend?  Go for the light refreshments and stay for the visual depictions of armed femininity? Sounds kinda hot.

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Author: drlorentz

photon whisperer & quantum mechanic

27 thoughts on “A Feminist View of Guns”

  1. I say yes (!) because I am, admittedly, far too intimidated to own a gun and admire both males and females who are comfortable handling them.

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  2. EThompson:
    I say yes (!) because I am, admittedly, far too intimidated to own a gun and admire both males and females who are comfortable handling them.

    Agreed but I don’t think that’s where the speaker is going to go with it. And there will likely be the compulsory OrangeManBad.

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  3. drlorentz:

    EThompson:
    I say yes (!) because I am, admittedly, far too intimidated to own a gun and admire both males and females who are comfortable handling them.

    Agreed but I don’t think that’s where the speaker is going to go with it. And there will likely be the compulsory OrangeManBad.

    Then no need to aggravate. You can always leave that up to my posts. 🙂

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  4. EThompson:
    I say yes (!) because I am, admittedly, far too intimidated to own a gun and admire both males and females who are comfortable handling them.

    Well, GIT you a gun, gal!

    I wish I could attend!  See, guns are the greatest thing that ever happened to women! a lethal projectile that can be launched from a safe distance, where the predator or the bad ol’ man can’t reach you, and which, unlike a spear or even arrow, (at least those big bows the yeomen wielded) doesn’t require superior physical strength!  Shooting sports are the only ones in which men and women can compete together.  You’d think feminists would be all over guns!

    But sounds like this lecturer,  though, may be going for the idea that even women (although in general: women good, men bad) with their superior tendencies, have been seduced by “lethal self defense”. Well,, see above: they need self defense more than men do, it’s no wonder if we find it a “seductive”idea: the increased chance of avoiding rape and grievous bodily harm.

    Or maybe she’ll just be goin’ as drL’s comment indicates, for the ways in which image of the “warrior woman” has been used to titillate men?  If that’s the case, yuh, GO, Doc!

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  5. I agree with you Hypatia, but in the interest of protecting my civil rights, I don’t want to own a gun and I don’t want to feel like I have to for protection. After all, this is why I pay taxes. Think about the money we pay for police forces, the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, etc. Yes, they can’t be everywhere all of the time but I sense there is more our govt can do with our hard-earned money.

    Extreme example: Clinton had the opportunity to take out bin Laden years before 9/11 but whiffed on that one despite extensive CIA warnings.

    I know this sounds ironic as many fight to protect their right to own a weapon, but I aim to protect my right to live in a safe society without having to carry. It goes both ways.

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  6. EThompson:
    I agree with you Hypatia, but in the interest of protecting my civil rights, I don’t want to own a gun and I don’t want to feel like I have to for protection. After all, this is why I pay taxes. Think about the money we pay for police forces, the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, etc. Yes, they can’t be everywhere all of the time but I sense there is more our govt can do with our hard-earned money.

    Extreme example: Clinton had the opportunity to take out bin Laden years before 9/11 but whiffed on that one despite extensive CIA warnings.

    I know this sounds ironic as many fight to protect their right to own a weapon, but I aim to protect my right to live in a safe society without having to carry. It goes both ways.

    After yesterday’s post, I’m sure you don’t want to hear this, but: shooting is fun!
    And, (as I know you know) , you CAN be safe without carrying , as long as there are enough  “good guys with guns”, i.e., legal gun owners!

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  7. Several of the ladies in my church are range buddies.

    Some of them were talked into a carry weapon by their husbands.   Others just grew up with guns and like to shoot.

    I remember Dad was awfully proud of my little sister when she won the Jaycees target shoot for our elementary school (pellet rifles), when she was only in fourth grade.

    I got a kick out of a news story about a young woman who shot a burglar who was fighting with her boyfriend (they had walked in on him looting her apartment).   There were a half-dozen articles, and every one included the detail about “her pink .38.”   That was a phrase that knocked the journalists for a loop.

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  8. I know shooting can be fun for many but the first time a friend’s father showed me his extensive antique gun collection and handed me one to examine, I freaked. I just don’t like them but I would never compromise the right of other responsibles to own one.

    At least I have a good right hook and I can run fast.

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  9. EThompson:
    I agree with you Hypatia, but in the interest of protecting my civil rights, I don’t want to own a gun and I don’t want to feel like I have to for protection. After all, this is why I pay taxes. Think about the money we pay for police forces, the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, etc. Yes, they can’t be everywhere all of the time but I sense there is more our govt can do with our hard-earned money.

    This is a serf/peasant view of government, a view our founders rejected.  It is fundamentally collectivist and statist.  The cognitive dissonance required to write this while holding conservative/libertarian opinions on other topics is staggering.

    Cops and government cannot protect you.  Not personally. Statists cringe when gun rights proponents point out that when seconds count, the police are minutes away.  Because even a little reflection on violent crime reveals that an unarmed person in the midst of a crime in progress is pretty darn helpless.  If this makes you cringe, and want to reject the point, it is your inner statist begging for someone, somewhere, to relieve you of responsibility for your own safety.

    Police and the justice system can only reduce the odds of you needing to protect yourself, by confining the bad guys they catch, so they cannot repeat their crimes.  Unfortunately, every violent criminal has a first offense, and government basically cannot prevent these.  Vigorous prosecution can deter some of them.  But low intelligence is correlated with crime–a bad guy that is too stupid to foresee how they might be caught is undeterred by others’ prosecutions.

    Police are not liable if they fail to protect you.  Even if they have foreknowledge of a threat against you.

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  10. There is a photo of Harriet Tubman with a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other.  Bitter clinger!  I wish I could find it now and send it up to you.

    Here are her personal pistol and her ivory-handled sword.

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  11. Phil Turmel:
    This is a serf/peasant view of government, a view our founders rejected.  It is fundamentally collectivist and statist.  The cognitive dissonance required to write this while holding conservative/libertarian opinions on other topics is staggering.

    My identity is a hoax indeed; you caught me red-handed! I am a collectivist peasant indeed. (Just don’t tell my mother.)

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  12. God created Man; Sam Colt made him equal.

    Hypatia has it right. You are responsible for your safety. Cops are there to catch the BG after he commits a crime – say, eg. rape. You, at 5’3″ and 100 lbs or less, are not going to stand much of a chance against even a 200 lbs. perp, much less one intent on doing you bodily harm. BUT you at 5’3″ and <=100 lbs with a firearm are distinctly capable of standing up to said perp.

    Different viewpoint. Tennessee requires you go through the whole class on Concealed Carry every 4 years. One guy pretty much does all the classes in the area around Memphis. In his years of teaching, he has had 56 students involved in gunfights. 52 lived, 4 died. Those that died ALL had ONE characteristic – they didn’t have their gun with them. Think about that. You now even have a friend nearby who runs a range. I’m sure he/she would be happy to help you learn how to shoot.

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  13. Devereaux:
    God created Man; Sam Colt made him equal.

    Hypatia has it right. You are responsible for your safety. Cops are there to catch the BG after he commits a crime – say, eg. rape. You, at 5’3″ and 100 lbs or less, are not going to stand much of a chance against even a 200 lbs. perp, much less one intent on doing you bodily harm. BUT you at 5’3″ and <=100 lbs with a firearm are distinctly capable of standing up to said perp.

    Different viewpoint. Tennessee requires you go through the whole class on Concealed Carry every 4 years. One guy pretty much does all the classes in the area around Memphis. In his years of teaching, he has had 56 students involved in gunfights. 52 lived, 4 died. Those that died ALL had ONE characteristic – they didn’t have their gun with them. Think about that. You now even have a friend nearby who runs a range. I’m sure he/she would be happy to help you learn how to shoot.

    You’d be surprised to know that I think you and Hyp are absolutely right and I am wrong. Still won’t arm myself but if anything ever happens to me, I realize I have only myself to blame. I’m not unlike the kid who won’t eat his vegetables even though he knows they’re good for him. 🙂

    I’m looking at the stats: safe and small neighborhood, extensive alarm system and a general predisposition to avoid crowded, dangerous places. I learned a lot in NYC from cops: body language, walk in the middle of the street as opposed along ill-lighted sidewalks and even learned how to handle myself on a subway at 2:00 a.m.  This does not, of course make me invincible but I still like my odds.

    Thanks to you both for your sensible advice.

    P.S. A NYC DEA detective (roommate’s brother) told me that aside from gangbangers, fearful and hesitant gun owners make the most dangerous handlers of all because they can often invite retaliation if they don’t have the bravado to follow up.

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  14. Phil Turmel:

    EThompson:
    I agree with you Hypatia, but in the interest of protecting my civil rights, I don’t want to own a gun and I don’t want to feel like I have to for protection. After all, this is why I pay taxes. Think about the money we pay for police forces, the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, etc. Yes, they can’t be everywhere all of the time but I sense there is more our govt can do with our hard-earned money.

    This is a serf/peasant view of government, a view our founders rejected.  It is fundamentally collectivist and statist.  The cognitive dissonance required to write this while holding conservative/libertarian opinions on other topics is staggering.

    Cops and government cannot protect you.  Not personally. Statists cringe when gun rights proponents point out that when seconds count, the police are minutes away.  Because even a little reflection on violent crime reveals that an unarmed person in the midst of a crime in progress is pretty darn helpless.  If this makes you cringe, and want to reject the point, it is your inner statist begging for someone, somewhere, to relieve you of responsibility for your own safety.

    Police and the justice system can only reduce the odds of you needing to protect yourself, by confining the bad guys they catch, so they cannot repeat their crimes.  Unfortunately, every violent criminal has a first offense, and government basically cannot prevent these.  Vigorous prosecution can deter some of them.  But low intelligence is correlated with crime–a bad guy that is too stupid to foresee how they might be caught is undeterred by others’ prosecutions.

    Police are not liable if they fail to protect you.  Even if they have foreknowledge of a threat against you.

    Every word of this comment is right on the money. It is worth reading more than once and absorbing its meaning. Not everyone is prepared to take on the responsibility of self-defense but those who don’t should be aware of the consequences of their decision, which are laid out in this comment. Alternatives to being armed include living in a low-crime area, installing technical measures in the home, and having a keen sense of situational awareness.

    I went to college in the South Side of Chicago, the baddest part of town. Several friends were mugged, one in front of the faculty club on 57th St. One was stabbed on the walk back from 63rd St. It was impractical to own a firearm as a student so I had to rely on good situational awareness when walking around at night. It’s an imperfect solution but it may be the only one open to you. Those skills have stood me in good stead ever since.

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  15. drlorentz:
    I went to college in the South Side of Chicago, the baddest part of town.

    I went to college in Cleveland between 1967 and 1971, and worked there for another year.  During that time I was held up three times, twice by the same guy (What do you say, “New gun?”).  One of my friends was held hostage in the lobby of his apartment by a guy with a shotgun who demanded everybody empty their wallets and throw their cash on the floor; this was around the corner from the police station.

    I was never armed during those years, although I grew up with guns in the house, shooting, and was entirely comfortable with these tools of self-defence.  Had I been armed, I’m not sure things would have gone down any differently—I’d rather empty my wallet (which had, at the time, less than ten bucks in it) than try to respond to some guy probably on goofballs who may or may not have a gun in his back pocket.  But the point is that if the perpetrator knew that the probability that his prey would be armed was, say, 45% instead of 1%, he wouldn’t be there shaking people down.  The logic of deterrence can be subtle to understand, but it works very well.

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  16. drlorentz:
    It was impractical to own a firearm as a student so I had to rely on good situational awareness when walking around at night. It’s an imperfect solution but it may be the only one open to you. Those skills have stood me in good stead ever since.

    Isn’t that what I just said?

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  17. John Walker:
    But the point is that if the perpetrator knew that the probability that his prey would be armed was, say, 45% instead of 1%, he wouldn’t be there shaking people down.  The logic of deterrence can be subtle to understand, but it works very well.

    It’s a lot like herd immunity and vaccination.

    One of my friends had a job downtown and had to take the Cottage Grove bus from Hyde Park to work, meaning he was on the bus at night. The bus route ran through the worst part of the South Side. For a while, he was packing on the ride to and from work. After a while, he gained confidence and gave off the don’t mess with me aura to the extent that he stopped carrying. He never had any trouble.

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  18. drlorentz:
    After a while, he gained confidence and gave off the don’t mess with me aura to the extent that he stopped carrying. He never had any trouble.

    This isn’t a myth even for women. I once taught a community class on this.

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  19. EThompson:

    drlorentz:
    It was impractical to own a firearm as a student so I had to rely on good situational awareness when walking around at night. It’s an imperfect solution but it may be the only one open to you. Those skills have stood me in good stead ever since.

    Isn’t that what I just said?

    You appear to have difficulty understanding that people can agree with you on some things and not others. The point of my comment is that it’s simultaneously possible for Phil to be correct and that there are other measures open to a person who can’t or won’t arm up. As John pointed out, there is a benefit to unarmed individuals if many others are armed.

    None of this modifies or undermines the validity of Phil’s comment. The idea that the police and (especially laughable) the FBI are going to protect you is unrealistic. This is especially true in the case of natural or human disasters. A hurricane, earthquake, or large-scale power outage render impotent the state’s protection. Changing demographics also play a role. Compare the behavior during the Northeast blackouts of 1965 versus 1977 and 2003. But that’s a topic for another thread.

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  20. drlorentz:
    None of this modifies or undermines the validity of Phil’s comment.

    I suggested no such thing and perhaps you should read commentary a bit more carefully. All the carriers on this thread made extremely valid claims and I acknowledged them all as such. My only addition to the conversation was to suggest how somebody with my sensibilities can protect herself.

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  21. EThompson:

    drlorentz:
    None of this modifies or undermines the validity of Phil’s comment.

    I suggested no such thing and perhaps you should read commentary a bit more carefully. All the carriers on this thread made extremely valid claims and I acknowledged them all as such. My only addition to the conversation was to suggest how somebody with my sensibilities can protect herself.

    Lose the unnecessary hostility. It’s tedious and far too predictable.

    Apparently, I misinterpreted your response to Phil as sarcasm. If you’re saying that the response quoted below was sincere, then we’re in perfect agreement, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are a collectivist; Phil overstepped a bit. You just have collectivist leanings.

    EThompson:

    Phil Turmel:
    This is a serf/peasant view of government, a view our founders rejected.  It is fundamentally collectivist and statist.  The cognitive dissonance required to write this while holding conservative/libertarian opinions on other topics is staggering.

    My identity is a hoax indeed; you caught me red-handed! I am a collectivist peasant indeed. (Just don’t tell my mother.)

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  22. Yes, my comment to Phil was loaded with sarcasm but so is this one: I so appreciate your astute analysis of a person you have never met outside a couple of paragraphs.

    Carry on and enjoy yourself.

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