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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Why So Few Women?

    I don't think I need to mention that the female is perhaps the most selected target of opportunity by the Bad guy, and all the usual stuff we hear.

    I have a question, and please don't think I'm playing the over-stuffed traditional male "firearms rangemaster" with the half smoked stoggie hanging to the lower lip, but why are there so few females (in comparison) attending shooting courses?

    Sure, goofy gunfighting academies have all women classes all the time, but these are populated by their own in-house staff or by the wives or daughters of its male staff. Rarely are these classes taken as anything other than a headline grabbing publicity stunt.

    I'm referring to the everyday training class. Why are there so few THERE? And, perhaps just as important, what can be done to change this?
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    dgg9 Guest
    I have no numbers, but I would think the number of male gun owners outnumbers female gun owners buy a large margin. There's definitely a huge margin in online gun forums.

    And, too, I wonder how many women are scared off by the prospect of being the only female in a probably otherwise all-male class. I.e., just the shyness/discomfort factor.

    There are more men than women in most martial arts classes too, but the ratio is a LOT more even. Makes you wonder what the difference is.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Tennessee
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    It's social conditioning.

    I've also spoken to many women who feel like they have a tough boyfriend or husband to protect them.

    How do we change that?

    Well it's not easy because we have to change the way society raises women.

    Women simply don't have equality in society. They have equality in the legal systems, but not in society.

    There are even Christian sects that do not allow women to be pastors. I'm not going to argue about what the Bible says, but just by the pure fact that there are groups who believe the Word prohibits women from holding any kind of office demonstrates the kind of difficulties we have in this area.

    And this is just in the United States.

    The rest of the world? Forget about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    3,102
    I will offer a couple of observations on the women I've seen in these classes FWIW.

    1) Women who take shooting classes tend to be both better educated and more liberal than the men at these classes.

    2) Women who take the classes are career oriented. Mommy trackers don't take them.

    3) Women who take the classes on their own seem to have a fair amount of money. More so than the men.

    4) Women who take the classes do so because they are seriously interested in defending themselves. They do not see it as a chance to play with guns or go shooting with neat targets.

    Not sure what it means but I figured I'd throw it out there.

    Now I've got a question for you guys. Do your wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers take these classes?

  5. #5
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    Jan 2004
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    Default Women In Class

    Gabe, for what its worth, here are some observations. My wife and I exercise to various exercise tapes. One of the tapes kept bugging me, because the people in the tape just seemed so different than any of the other tapes. Took me about six months to realize that the exercisers on the tape were all female. There was no male in the room for them to react to.

    I had already observed that the dynamics of a group of men changes immediately and drastically when any female, age 1 year to 101, is present.

    I am a teacher, so I get exposed to a lot of results of studies on learning, etcetera. It is clearly established that females learn faster, better and retain more when they are in all-female clasees with a female teacher. The differences are the most striking in those areas considered the province of males, such as math, science, etcetera.

    The immediate thought is well then, let's have all-female classes taught by female instructors...not so fast. Women do thing for a variety of reasons. They may like guns because the fellow they like likes guns, they might want to meet guys who like guns, they might not enjoy the company of non-warriors and would undertake any sort of hobby as long as the company included warriors. So, trying to enlist women students by assuming that they are universally motivated by the desire to excel at arms probably wouldn't work very well.

    My wife, who fits into all of the categories described above, took a 2-day Defensive Handgun at a Front Sight. She enjoyed it, was amazed at how her accuracy and skill increased through the two days, but she got bored very quickly, and has no desire to take another course. She had also been there for one of the free subgun courses, and samo samo, had fun, loved shooting the Uzi, but got bored quickly. There is a certain level of social interaction that is missing from shooting courses that may be more important to women than seeing who can get a gold seal on their certificate. Certainly the edge of sub-surface competiveness among a group of men probably does not amuse women.

    Oh, one more thing..the bladed stance just does not work for many women for what should be obvious anatomical reasons, and insisting that they adopt it no matter what is seriously stupid. What a wonderful way to throw away your credibility right off the bat.

    One thing we know for sure. The ideas that have been tried so far don't work. I wish I had a good one..the vision of thousands of soccer moms packin' works for me!

    God bless and y'all be careful out there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Deep in the Rockies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer
    Took me about six months to realize that the exercisers on the tape were all female.
    You must be really getting old Geezer! :D

    Actually I have taught quite a few women to shoot, but almost always because their husbands were shooters and brought them along to matches, where my wife talked them into taking one of our classes.

  7. #7
    Now I've got a question for you guys. Do your wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers take these classes?[/QUOTE]



    My wife will be starting level one of three classes offered. These will be at a local range, taught by active duty police officers. Each is approx. 8 hours and builds to approx. 500 rounds fired, with simulator time on level 2 and 3. Do I, or her for that matter, think they’d be on the level of a course like Gabe’s or TR etc., in a word, no! Do we think they’ll help, yes, unless the instructors are complete idiots and only time will answer that question. I think the last count was 98% male. Females that my wife has spoken with feel classes are for males. They can’t become good enough or they aren’t good enough to take it to the next level and beyond.

    My wife couldn’t care less what the “rambo/dirty Harry” types might say, much less think. Although we both agree, that for females this is a problem. My wife has been in a male dominated field her entire career, so classes with possible attitudes are of little concern. We have heard of classes for women only. I can’t give you numbers, but I hear they do very well as far as attendance. She doesn’t feel like waiting for the next “possible” class to form.

    Michael

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Washington state
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    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe Suarez
    I have a question, and please don't think I'm playing the over-stuffed traditional male "firearms rangemaster" with the half smoked stoggie hanging to the lower lip, but why are there so few females (in comparison) attending shooting courses?

    Sure, goofy gunfighting academies have all women classes all the time, but these are populated by their own in-house staff or by the wives or daughters of its male staff. Rarely are these classes taken as anything other than a headline grabbing publicity stunt.

    I'm referring to the everyday training class. Why are there so few THERE? And, perhaps just as important, what can be done to change this?
    Gabe ~

    Don't sneer at all-women classes. They fill a real need, and aren't only offered by goofy gunfighting academies. (Eh, I thought your charter was not to tear other folks down... was I wrong?)

    Fact is, for most the women shooters I've talked to (and I've talked to a lot of them over the past couple of years) taking a class is a very scary exercise. Not necessarily physically scary, but socially scary.

    Few women truly enjoy pastimes that they have to keep "secret" from their other women friends. So a woman who enjoys shooting (and especially self defense shooting) at all is often either a remarkable woman, or has remarkable friends. (Plenty of women shooters are neither, but also don't particularly enjoy shooting ... poor souls who are pushed, kicked, and dragged to the range by overbearing insensitive insistent guys... a tale for another day...)

    Socially, women are more likely to come willingly to class if they have a friend to come with them -- but how many women have friends who also shoot? A guy can ask around, casually, in his circle of friends, if he wants someone to come to a class with him. But he doesn't usually do that. Why would he bother? He only wants to shoot, after all. It's not a social occasion.

    For a woman, it's different. She's not going to be comfortable or happy as the only woman in the class, or amongst a group of strangers. She's not going to be truly comfortable talking to (or being ignored by) a bunch of guys she doesn't know. Sure, she wants to learn how to shoot, too -- but she wants to feel socially secure while she does it.

    Bringing a friend to class has drawbacks, too. The undercurrent of competition that many instructors encourage in their students is actually detrimental to most women students. "Omigawsh, everyone is going to think I'm an awful shot! They're going to hate me~! I've got the worst target here! Everyone must think I'm a terrible person...!" -- this is normal self-talk for an American woman pushed into a competition she didn't expect, doesn't want, and doesn't know how to cope with. And such self-talk gets even worse if she is pushed into competing with friends. Male friends compete openly with one another, but female friends don't. ("She'll hate me if I beat her!" -- and she will too.) So most women hate competition, and would rather make friends, build bridges, cheer on her fellow students.

    Women in general are far more sensitive to criticism than most guys are. If Joe is the slowest draw on the line, you can say to him, "Speed it up, Joe," and he hears, "Speed it up, Joe." If you say to Jane, "Speed it up, Jane," she hears, "You're the slowest person on the line, Jane, and everyone is looking at you and thinking about you and you're an awful shot and you're going to miss the next shot too..." This puts an enormous amount of pressure on women students that most male instructors simply aren't aware is there. Sure, women can learn to shoot under such pressure -- but they will rarely come back for more. They'll take a lower level class, realize that the pressure will only get worse, and never come back. An instructor aware of this can often soften his style for women students, but few instructors are even aware of it -- or aware of it for very long at a time.

    What can be done to change it? I dunno. Might want to take that up with the Almighty. ;)

    pax,
    ~Kathy

    Mr. Jones, has it ever occurred to you, the world being what it is, that women sometimes prefer not to appear too bright? -- "Ellie," in Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Beyond The Wall
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    PAX,

    I wasn't sneering at all-women classes with the tem "goofy", just a certain school in my state that makes a big marketing deal in the newspapers out of having such classes. Its the school with the "ultimate doctrine" who makes everyone shoot like the founder;), and culminates with a class competition (such as you described).

    My "charter" BTW, is to tell the truth no matter what or who it makes uncomfortable, not to refrain from "cutting folks down".

    In any case, I think that the material involved is important to women as much as men. And to a certain degree to young people (kids and teens and young adults). I think far too many women either never think about this stuff or at best buy the gun and keep it at home for an emergency. I think the more people (not just men over 35) who are actively involved in the study, the better off we will all be (politically, morally, everything).

    Again, thanks for all the info. Not sure what to do with it at this point, but it is very interesting stuff.
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 03-14-2004 at 06:18 AM.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    537
    Women certainly represent the great middle in the gun debate. As such we gunowners need to reach out to them. When Smith and Wesson reached out to women with their ladysmith line the Brady bunch was foaming at the mouth. The Brady bunch realizes most males already have set positions on gun ownership so women are the battle ground for the so called "hearts and minds" issue. So frankly if women feel more comfortable in an all woman class, fine set them up. Personally I think all women's beginners classes may make sense, but after that woman would want to go into mixed classes. Frankly I think many women may go into initial class with little knowledge of firearms and do not want to be talked down to by men who THINK they know it all. But after an initial class and some study I believe most women will be confident enough to attend mixed classes and in fact hold their own against men, and in many cases challenge men with their ability. But again I believe do whatever it takes as the future batteground over gun rights largely rests with a fight for the support of women to our point of view. I would like to see more women instructors in mixed classes. And I really think we need some top notch women holster makers. No its not a fashion thing, it is just that women dress different from us and are blessedly shaped different. Here I think woman holster maker has a real advantage.

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