Though the discussion of women and self-defense is old hat, it often crops up on any given moment.
If anyone has dared to venture through the SJW cesspools like Tumblr and Jezebel, you’ve probably heard about how women live in total fear of being attacked all the time. I’m not here to write or debunk or trivialize the issue, I’m more concerned with the attempts to decry any attempt for the market to respond to these issues.
Danger is a fact of life, as is risk. Everyone is faced with it. Most kids, not just females, are taught at an early age about being aware of strangers. Anyone that has taken a self-defense class is taught to be aware of your surroundings. It’s horrible and callous to say, but assaults can happen to anyone. If you can’t prevent it, it’s best to also know how to deter or stop it.
So like I said before, there is a market response to this. Companies have created tools and gadgets for self-defense, a lot aimed at women too. The device that Jezebel and The Verge seems to have a problem with in their articles is the one called the Guardian Angel, a pendant designed to give a call to a designated person as a sort of “help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, get me the fuck out of here.” It’s made for a situation like a drunk guy getting maybe a bit too damn touchy. Okay, it’s not as brazen as tell the handsy bastard to go pound sand somewhere else, but I suppose that’s a good step. So what’s the problem?
“Things like the Guardian Angel are different. They’re promoted not as tools but as highly gendered lifestyle products, to be purchased by women and put on day after day. They’re fashion. In the promotional video for AR Wear, a woman strikes a pose to check out her anti-rape underwear before sliding on her little black dress and doing her hair, all in one seamless process. Split ends. Deodorant streaks. Sexual assault. How terribly inconvenient.”
Does it really though? Does it normalize it or make it seem like a part of day to day life? I suppose that when I strap on my gun holster when I’m dressing in the morning, I’m normalizing the fact that there’s a chance –no matter how small– that I may be facing a dangerous situation.
“In fact, the techie-tinged products Robertson outlines are just the tip of the bullshit iceberg. Who hasn’t been given a brightly colored rape whistle? There’s a whole cottage industry dedicated to marketing pink “self-defense” shit; take this entire section at Walmart.com tagged “pink guns,” which also includes stun guns. There’s plenty of pink pepper spray out there. Here is a pink keychain shaped like a cat face, except the ears are for stabbing attackers; it regularly comes up with you search “women’s self-defense.” You’ll also be offered up this stun gun, shaped like brass knuckle and, you guessed it, pink! Glock has an entire “GlockWomen” page. Here’s some pepper spray disguised as lipstick.”
Yeah, I also hate the cutesy pink weapons too, but that’s probably because I’m a dude that doesn’t like pink. Meaning, it’s not marketed to me. That’s the entire point of marketing. They have to find a way to appeal to an audience. I mean, you really think most women are going to find some 5.11 tacti-cool rig appealing? As yes, the black and rugged looking objects are totally going to match Jennifer’s style of Ugg boots and yoga pants. Right.
I don’t see anything wrong with this. People are offering ways of other people to protect themselves, and are having to market it. Do you think that companies are going to appeal to your normal suburban women with the same market ads that appeal to your Second-Amendment enthusiasts?
“There’s a difference between noting a problem and naturalizing it. In our cultural scripts, crimes against men can be explained by any number of individual factors. Crimes against women are explained by the fact that they are women, and therefore naturally victimizable. If men are threatened and defend themselves, they’re tough. If women do it, they’re lucky. The Guardian Angel is a pretty, technological token that underscores this connection. It is the aestheticization of female fear.”
I can see where they are going, and while I understand, I have to disagree. While I think the Guardian Angel is a bit of a hokey solution in comparison to maybe more direct routes, I don’t think it’s an aestheticization of female fear. Sure, it’s designed to be appealing, women are often more fashion conscious than men. I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly certain wearing a flak jacket and a chastity belt may be a bit conspicuous on the first date.
I honestly see it as the opposite. Stuff like this can be empowering. A gal kicking a dude’s ass with a hot pink stun gun? Whatever happened to celebrating girl power? It’s a way to level the playing field.
“Lots of people got mad about that headline. The point was to get you mad—but let’s get mad at the right stuff. Let’s get fucking livid about the fact that society treats fear for our very lives as a natural, normal part of the female experience. I don’t want cute rape-prevention accessories. I want to feel safe walking down the street.”
I don’t think society treats it as normal, and certainly not for just females. Or else companies that also market to men are just superfluous. Taking precaution is not a sense of normalcy. You know what is treating it like a normalcy? Not fucking doing anything about it. Does a company that is actively trying to do something about it really seem worse than “Oh, a woman got raped? Oh, that’s too bad, but that happens every day so it’s no big deal. Carry on.” Maybe point your anger at something else.
I too want to feel safe. I want everyone to be safe. However, we unfortunately don’t live in a world that is 100% safe. Natural dangers aside, people are not always kind. They don’t always have the best teaching or upbringing. Bad things happen to good people. Until everyone and everything on the planet magically becomes kind and altruistic, being prepared is par for the course. I’d like to know that my car isn’t going to break down, but I’ll stick make sure to have some tools handy just in case. I’d like to know that I may not be robbed, but I’ll carry something for self-defense just in case. Maybe that’s normalizing it, but at least I’m trying to do something about it than getting mad at someone trying to market their product. Articles like these don’t help, they hinder.
If you really want to get mad, get mad at laws that actually prevent people from having any chance of self-defense. For instance, New York does not want you to have a stun gun, and they make obtaining mace, much less a gun, very difficult. Want a concealed weapon in NY? Good fucking luck. A knife? What are you, Hitler? Do you think laws like that will help women defend themselves?
Be angry, but be productive about it.
H/T: Jezebel and The Verge