Not a "Women in a Boy's Club" Community

#1

We’ve briefly touched on sexism in the firearms community over the last week or so (in the thread What's the worst advice you've ever gotten?) and I just came across a blog article from Beth Alcazar titled Women in the Boys Club.

While the USCCA Online Community has a lot more men than women at this point, I want to give everyone here some major kudos on the positive, respectful, educational attitudes you’ve displayed when answering everyone’s questions and posing your own questions.

It’s great to know that our conversations can be frank and from opposing viewpoints, but they’re always held to a higher standard of respect and wanting to see the other’s point of view - no matter what someone’s background is!

Thank you all for the amazing conversations! Keep them up! And invite your friends who would enjoy these conversations!

PS - did you read that blog by Beth? I’m shocked at the “professionals” in the industry who would act like that! :angry:

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Scare Tactics?
#2

That’s horrific. I always have talked to any woman I meet at the range like I would anyone else. I think that what the guy in the article stated was true, we need to unify the 2nd amendment community, but maybe he projected that idea rather than doing some soul searching to realize that as a man, I need to unify the community by my actions and and how I speak to women at the range, and do on the spot corrections when I see behavior that is unbecoming. God made man, Sam Colt made 'em equal. A bullet from my wife’s gun is just as deadly as one from mine.

Just my 2 cents.

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#3

Oh and that said, I don’t see why anyone would have issues with a group of women only shooters.

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#4

I’ll steal a sentiment from Jeff Foxworthy. You would much rather deal with me than my wife. I’ll shoot ya. She’ll shoot ya, then kick you, beat you, spit on you for messing up the carpet, then shoot you again😁.

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#5

So I was just having this conversation… @Nathan asked me if I’d had much negative interaction because I’m female. I’ve been in and around the firearms community since about 1978 and I have to say I’ve seen very little of it. Not zero, but less of it in the firearms world than in the world around it.
Partly it may be that I don’t look like the sort of person who would put up with it, but even when that wasn’t yet true I didn’t see much of it.
I’ve had incidents like the ones in Beth’s article a few times at work, but fewer on the range.
Its my opinion that the firearms community does this better than most.
That doesn’t mean I’m giving a pass to anyone who’s badly behaved, I’m perfectly willing to step up if it’s called for, in my own defence or someone else’s. Just like with CC.
I think maybe my point is that i don’t think the firearms world is particularly different than other parts of the world, and shouldn’t be thought of as if it was. That being said, if we’d want to be proactive in making our part of the world way better than other parts, I’m all in.

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#6

On all-female groups: I think its a fabulous idea. Here’s why: women, on average, have a different learning style than men. In an all female class I can adapt my teaching style to what works better for more women. Women have, on average, different worries about firearms than men. Women, on average, support each other differently than men do. In an all female group, many women are going to feel freer to ask their questions, express their fears, encourage each other than they would in a mixed gender group. They are going to take confidence from seeing other women who are confident. It is a successful environment for many women. Once they feel their competence there, they move into the mixed community with less trepidation.
I believe if we want to build the female membership of the 2A world, we should do it in the way that works best for… women.
All of my trainers have been men. Good bless them, every one, for their patience, generosity, skill, willingness and effort in teaching me. And there are things about my experience learning to shoot as a woman that they do not anticipate and sometimes do not understand.
My first three scuba instructors were men, my fourth was a woman. She taught me things about diving and handling the equipment that made the sport so much easier and more fun that it was a revelation. If my male teachers had taught me that it would have been awesome, but I think they didn’t know the things she taught me. And they didn’t know I needed to know those things. Or that there were alternatives to what worked for them that would work better for me.
I find learning, and teaching, shooting is very like that. Most women can learn in a mixed group using techniques that are highly successful for men, however many will learn faster and get to confidence quicker in a setting where the techniques and environment are tuned to women.
Just my opinion, but it is what I have seen.

If I were going to write a prescription for getting maximum horsepower on the problem of 2A support it would be for every shooting club and organization to build a women’s-only division, do whatever is needed to make that a raging success, growing women teachers and expanding the female student base, and then fold those women into the larger 2A community and let us put our power to work.

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#7

I am always looking for ways that I can help bring more women into the gun and 2A fold. The biggest liability for me is that I am a man, and I probably just don’t comprehend the very best way to help teach most women. I can help with the basics, but beyond that, I have to tell my friends to seek out female instructors. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any in my area at this time. As far as the sexism part, I mentioned to @Zee that I had not personally witnessed any at the ranges and shops that I frequent. That does not mean that it hasn’t happened, but just that I have not observed it myself.

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#8

@Nathan you just keep teaching them and ask the women on here anything you want to know more about our perspective on. I dont want to get you over thinking it, just stay tuned in to how your student is doing and processing

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#9

I agree, the firearms community in general is pretty good about polite behavior. I’ve seen the attitudes and interactions improve over my years of carrying and working at the range.

There are those certain people who will always have the “women shouldn’t” opinions, but they’re the minority and have the occasional loud voice.

I’ve learned from male and female teachers - and I learn best from certain teaching styles that I’ve seen in both sexes.

And yes, I still want my boyfriend to open the door for me and bring me flowers from time to time. And I’m more than happy to make him a cocktail as he’s making dinner (he loves to cook) and do the dishes.

We can embrace and celebrate our differences or we can use them to alienate others. I vote for celebrating differences!

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#10

Were all there for the same purpose. No one should treat anyone any differant then they want. If someone needs help and Range Officer doesnt mind? Then help out. Treat each other as equals. Same agenda!!

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#11

And @Nathan happy to tell you about the things I’ve learned that may help any time :slight_smile:

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#12

Thank you @Zee! I will definitely reach out as I come up with questions :slight_smile:.

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#13

I honestly think USCCA has done more to make the “shooting club” as inclusive without regard for gender as any group out there. The women’s section that’s published in the Concealed Carry Magazine is a huge resource IMO. And if I recall from the Expo in Louisville last year the women’s discussions with Beth and others had some of the largest crowds the day I was there.

IN the self defense world and in the shooting world in general there’s no room for that kind of boys club silliness…especially when there’s many women…my wife included…who are better shots than the guys.

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#15

I have to admit too that when we started looking at guns when we returned from Germany…the guys behind the counter would kinda and snicker and look at themselves when my wife would ask to look at the S&W 686 + in the display counter.

They wouldn’t laugh if they saw her shoot it at the range.

She stuck with it because she knew what she wanted and the reasons why she didn’t want what she called a “girlie gun” (even though she owns one now LOL!)

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#16

@txradioguy I think the NRA women’s programs are pretty good too - I’ve volunteered for a couple of the Women On Target training events and they’ve been well run, well organized, well attended, and really do a good job of putting new women shooters at ease while they’re learning. Been through a bunch of NRA classes where I wasn’t the only woman, and a bunch of NRA teacher trainings where I was the only woman. From that perspective, I think they could do a better job of engaging women to advance, and of involving new women shooters, but I’ve never felt any discouragement or dismissal. My experience in the NRA environment has been pretty much 100% polite, respectful, welcoming.
I’m rather new to USCCA, but it’s been pretty awe inspiring here too. The USCCA CC course I took was more than a quarter women (out of about 30 students), and the advanced CC course I just took was 20% women … ok there were 5 students and I was the only female :wink:
I haven’t done a lot of NRA stuff since about 2012, so I don’t have as contemporary a view on their programs as I do here. Gotta say I’m really appreciating this community :smiley:

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#17

yeah, that can happen…
My first hubby and I bought our first firearm after being burglarized. We had that same sort of experience… we were looking at a 12ga pump. The very nice man behind the counter was all “Yes you could buy a 12 gauge, but really you should get a nice ladies gun. A 410 is best for girls.”
I was 18 or 19 at the time and I was NOT AMUSED.
My husband said “buy what you think is best”
I bought the 12 gauge.
magnum.
:laughing:
In retrospect the magnum part was a bit much, but hey, he ticked me off.
I got pretty good with that shotgun :smiley:
Honestly though, I don’t think the guy behind the counter meant anything by it. I think he was really trying to give a not-very-big definitely-very-young first-time shooter his best advice.

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#18

I have been trying to avoid commenting on this but I just can’t.
I understand and can back men or women only classes or training because it might make some more at ease BUT, as soon as it starts getting men or women only leagues or clubs I start to shiver.
All to often I see this type of thing turn negative.
I understand in some things there should be a separation of the sexes, boxing comes to mind (even though I am sure 95% of professional women boxers would knock me out). When it comes to skills where physical attributes do not come into play why the separation? Why exclude those that enjoy the same things you do and may give you a new perspective?
As in all things there will always be those few who will always be an ass, but the larger the group the less you see it (or at least that has been my experience).

Just some things to think about from a different perspective.

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#19

hey @DBrogue, I think it’s not so much about women assuming that the guys at the boy’s club are going to act like asses. I think there are parts to this perspective you might not yet be seeing.

Well, that’s part of it right there. As a woman shooter, I’m going to tell you physical attributes DO come into play. My strength is more in my legs than my upper body. My husband can hold a heavy handgun out at arms length for 10 times as long as I can… or maybe 100 times as long… I’ve never seen him actually lose accuracy because of it. I, on the other hand, will absolutely lose accuracy, both after holding that position for moderately short periods of time, and over the course of the range visit. It’s not just fitness and stamina, it’s understanding where my strength is, and where it isn’t. I can maximize my personal capacity, but I’m never going to have the relative upper body strength and stamina a similarly fit man has. However if I know where my strength is, and isn’t, I can adapt my training practices to minimize my weakness and maximize my strength. The way my husband drills is different than the way I drill because of it. The most effective way to teach me is different because of it.

There are other examples of where my female physicality matters, happy to supply more if you’re interested.

Setting the physical aside, what went on inside my head when I was first learning, and the heads of many other women I’ve taught, along with our emotional reactions, is WAY different than what any of the men I’ve talked with about it have experienced.

The mechanics of the gun are the same. The mechanics of our bodies and our minds… not so much.

In the long run, women will shoot equally with men, but we often have different things to address on the way to getting there. I’m not an advocate of long-term segregation, just of giving women - whom we really, really need to join us - the best possibility of learning quickly and effectively, and the least opportunity for being intimidated or simply not-effectively-reached and run off before they get comfortable. Once they’re comfortable, fold them into the general shooting community. Some women will always stay in the girl’s club… but I’d wager most won’t be exclusively there.

There are, naturally, women who prefer to play with the guys - but right now its still way more boys club with just a relative few of us playing there. If you want to get women to be fully represented in the mixed arena, start with whatever works for getting women comfortable in whatever arena they are comfortable in.

I’m going to challenge your perspective on that a little :wink: please forgive me for generalizing. It’s not that an all-women’s group wants to exclude you/men. Its that, in general, when women are in an all-female group, certain types of social dynamics can emerge. Add men and you alter that dynamic. If that all-female dynamic is useful in accomplishing something, it can be disrupted by the change adding men creates… some women will no longer participate effectively… they withdraw, hold back, won’t take the same risks, won’t be open to the same experiences.

Sometimes you need to let us get our own perspective before you try to give us yours :wink:
I’m teasing you a little here, but it’s really part of what we experience.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to say to my husband - who is an extremely experienced and knowledgeable shooter - “Stop, let me work this through for myself! Yes I know you know the right way to do all this, but I need to get comfortable with -this- before I can do -that-.”

Many times he doesn’t instinctively see the truth in what I’m saying… on his side of his eyeballs it makes no sense. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true for me. His perspective is extremely valuable, but I need to get my own control and understanding together before I can apply it. He wants to push to give me his perspective, because he knows it works. And it does… but only once I’m in a position to apply it, not before.

In the grander scheme, I think women’s classes and women’s leagues are the same thing - it lets many women get comfortable, competent and confident in the way that works best for them, before adding the additional pressures, and offering the additional perspectives, of training in the boy’s club.

Of course there are exceptions - some men can enter that all-female zone and not impact the dynamics. Some women are comfortable in the boy’s club (probably including your professional women boxers).

I see this as a question of maximizing our leverage. To secure what we want in 2A, we need women. And not just a few, but a majority. And we need them now, not 20 years from now. If women’s leagues and women’s classes increases the success rate of getting women trained, comfortable, and engaged in protecting our 2A rights, then we should be taking maximum advantage of every opportunity to apply leverage.

#20

I think there’s more to a league/club than just shooting. Or bowling. Or darts. It’s a way to get like minded people together and basically, have a good time. Guys want a night out with the guys to talk guy talk. Women want the same. I think leagues/clubs are a great way to offer this.

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#21

@Zee
You make very good points but to be honest I was talking more about the men excluding women more than the women excluding men. All to often men have a mine set they are better because they are men or something is seen as a manly sport. This is the type of mind set that has forced women to do things on their own. It has also caused a wedge in many cases.

@Kelly
I get the girls/boys night out but at the same time in leagues there are always different rules for men and women which almost always leads to adding inequality between them.

I’m certainly not trying to argue with any one here. It is just something I have witnessed a few to many times over the years. As in all things it takes great leadership to always mover things forward in a positive manner.

I am glad we have that here. I am also glad there are people on different sides of issues willing to put their thoughts into words in an effort to explain and teach and not attack just because they may not agree.

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