I was reading Sarah’sDaughter’s blog just now, and it reminded me of something that it’s important to tell women in our feminized society:
Men are stronger than you.
I know you’ve seen all the tv shows and movies where there’s a kickass chick smacking down dozens of goons at a time.
They’re all lies.
The truth is, men are stronger than you are.
Now, say you’re a woman who’s trained in the martial arts or simply particularly strong, you work out at the gym, whatever. You, as a special case, might be stronger than some weak men who don’t work out or have any training. If you are trained in combat, and you fight a man who’s not, you might be able to get the first strike in (because he underestimated you) and make it sufficiently damaging that he can’t fight back.
But if you go up against a man who has no trouble hitting a woman – you will lose. Because Men Are Stronger Than You.
You might not think that this is the case, because you’ve never experienced the full strength of a man before. You might remember times when you sparred with men and won. Women, if you remember play-fighting with your fathers (I pity you if you never had this experience!) or your husbands and winning… it’s because he let you win. If you escaped his grasp, it is because he LET YOU ESCAPE rather than hold onto you, because if he had used his full strength, you would have hurt yourself fighting against him. So instead, he let you go. Men are socialized FROM BIRTH to nevernevernever hurt a woman. Go find some culture where men are not socialized this way, and ask the women in that culture about the strength of men.
One day when we were playing, I pulled against my husband’s grip on my arm, and he simply didn’t let go – until I yelped “OUCH!” – and my arm hurt for days afterward. This was what happened by accident, with a man who was not even trying to hurt me. Rather than letting me escape, he simply held on, and since neither of us is a martial artist the combination of me pulling in entirely the wrong way and him simply holding on was enough to injure me. (Weirdly, no bruise, not where my arm hurt OR where he was holding me, which wasn’t the same place. But it did hurt a lot if I forgot and leaned on that arm for a while. Healed up just fine in a few days. I learned “don’t pull at weird angles hard enough to hurt yourself, stupid!”)
But this is the truth. If a man gets a hold on you and doesn’t WANT to let you go, you are not going anywhere, and unless you get very lucky, NOTHING YOU CAN DO will save you.
This doesn’t mean, “don’t fight back” – if someone tries to kidnap you or whatever, fight back – because it’s better to make a scene and possibly be killed fighting back in public than to be tortured and killed in private. And if you fight back immediately you might get lucky and escape, and he might decide you’re too much trouble. So always fight back. And if you feel able, get a gun and training to use it properly: they’re not called the “equalizer” for nothing.
But don’t think that you, little girl, with your grrrl power!, are going to win in any no-holds-barred physical altercation with a man. Because the only reason girls win against guys is because they let us win. As society demands that they do.
So don’t go crowing about how you can beat up lots of guys whose hands are metaphorically tied. And remember that this remnant of traditional sex roles has two parts: men don’t fight women the way they fight other men, and in return women don’t goad men into fighting with them. That means a woman should never hit a man (exception: cads making inappropriate propositions including unwanted touching, in which case an open-handed slap to the face is traditional) and should never use “fighting words” to a man.
And if you think that’s sexist, take it to the law and the culture, which still treat women with kid gloves and expect men not to hit back if a woman starts something. If you want the right to mouth off and behave like the worst kind of foul-mouthed uncivilized twit, don’t go around crying “violence against women!” when you get one-punch KO’ed after telling a guy to take his best shot. Because that’s a man treating you equally.