The recent Super Bowl ad “Like a Girl” has a well intended message… I’m sure. I see and understand what the creators of the ad are trying to do, which is to boost the confidence of young girls. I agree with the intention, but I can’t say it’s convincing. It appears to assert two things: don’t let “like a girl” insult you because girls are not bad (agreed); the rest of you out there, don’t hurt a girl’s feelings by using the “like a girl” phrase or you’re a mean jerk.
Pat yourselves on the back all you like, oh, maker’s of “Like a Girl” Super Bowl ad. You succeeded in getting a lot of buzz. However, I can’t think of a better way to boost confidence for girls, or for anyone, than to learn how to shoot.
Whenever I’ve taken people to a gun range who have never held a firearm before, they walk away literally high, smiling, and excited. They talk in terms of how powerful they feel, between the adrenalin rush of harnessing something so scary to them, to the thrill of hitting the target. I have yet to see a newbie walk away saying, “Aw, that kind of sucked.”
School and society teach children to play nice, share, be polite, and never ever hurt someone’s feelings! Don’t say anything mean to people, or we’ll shame you to death. Unfortunately, that sets young people up to become victims of crime.
Regardless of their sob stories, there are predators out there, and the only defense “polite society” has to offer is hope… hope that a predator doesn’t smell your fear and choose you as a target. Thugs aren’t polite, they’re opportunists. I doubt they could be shamed into stopping.
Imagine you just came from the ATM at a well lit grocery store. You’re headed back to your car and the parking lot is also well lit.
“Excuse me,” a normal-ish looking guy calls to you, “but could you help me out? My daughter is sick and I have to take her to the hospital, but I have no money for gas.”
You wince with sympathy at the sad scenario. Yet your heart races, part of you is suspicious. But you can’t hurt his feelings! If it’s true, certainly, you’d want to help. Now the guy is four feet away… and you’re his victim. There’s a multitude of ways this ends badly for you.
Gun training is a profound way to start the discussion of how to not be a victim. The purpose of possessing a gun puts the concept of predator versus prey front and center. The targets you’re shooting often depict a human assailant. This is not an exercise in playing with things that go boom. This is all about being pro-active in stopping an attacker and not being a victim.
Being pro-active… being conscious of the perils out there, and being prepared to defend yourself. Just being in mindset of defending yourself may spare you from being chosen. Whether you have a gun or not, the way you carry yourself, on the watch, ready to fight and defend, can deter an attacker. Predators are looking for easy prey, and may skip you and look for an easier mark.
I’ve taken a number of defensive courses with women in the class. In an “unarmed self-defense” class, the first lesson they taught was to not be polite when you sense danger. Politeness can kill you.
In the parking lot scene above, you have a wallet full of cash, someone approaching you with a line specifically to get your sympathy approaches out of nowhere.
Trust your instincts. This means danger. Verbally warn them, “Stay away! Don’t come near me!”
Any well intended citizen would back off and apologize.
A predator will not.
They’ll play the sympathy card again to get closer and closer.
“Stay away! Call 9-1-1! Stay away from me!” If he gets within 20 feet, alarm bells should be going off in your head and you have a variety of defensive options: run, hit, kick… in drastic situations, perhaps even shoot.
The more a girl trains with a gun, the more confident and conscious of danger she becomes. And, not just in the dark alley scenario, but in dealing with bullies and opportunists in everyday life. She knows she can defend herself. She knows she can be dangerous too, when necessary. That will add some swagger.
Be prepared. Defend yourself. Don’t be a victim. That will boost any girl’s confidence.