We here at See Jane Fights Back would like to issue a heartfelt apology to our readers. (“Sorry! Sorry, sorry, sorry…) We have thought, we have pondered, we have watched the presidential debates, and now, finally, we get it – women are neither capable of resisting violence nor able to advocate for themselves.
We thought we were, you know? There’s that data – ALL that data – that says self-defense works, that training women in self-defense can reduce the risk of sexual assault by up to 40%, that there are added benefits in areas like self-esteem, self-confidence, empowerment, and personal freedom.
But those are just facts, and when people hold those facts up against how they feel, what they believe to be true, it doesn’t always add up. Like how some people don’t believe in global warming. Or evolution. Or equality. Or racism or sexism or homophobia or…well, you get the idea, right?
So what happens, when the facts conflict with our beliefs and behaviors? We get cognitive dissonance, and that just feels…well, uncomfortable. And who wants to feel uncomfortable? So while we COULD adjust our beliefs and behaviors, and acknowledge that 1) violence against women and girls is a global public health crisis, and 2) gendered notions of vulnerability and strength do not solve that that crisis, AND 3) acknowledging effective resistance and offering self-defense training are two important ways to address that crisis, that’s just so HARD. Like Barbie said math was.
And we don’t like to do things that are hard, do we? It’s just easier to accept the status quo, to believe violence against women and girls is inevitable, to wait for the knights in shining armor (“Yoo hoo! Over here!”) to come save us.
So data be damned. We’ll just go with what makes us comfortable. Or more accurately, what makes lots and lots of other people comfortable. Because women being powerful and self-determined and safe is so….so….what’s the word? Unattractive? Unreasonable? Discomforting?
Oh wait – we’ve got it. Reasonable. It’s just so reasonable.
Happy April Fools Day.