Carrying on with the feminism trend, I saw this image on Facebook a few days ago with some guy named Greg Gutfield supposedly quoted as saying: “A Smith & Wesson does more for empowering women than feminism ever could.” First, I had to look up who this guy was. It turns out, he’s a Fox News personality. This fact gives him zero credibility in my view. Second, I said “supposedly quoted,” because so many quotes on social media are not by whom they say they are. In this case, however, Greg Gutfield really did say that on The Five on November 1, 2011.
After overcoming the initial outrage sparked by this quote, I tried to make sense of it. (In the transcript from the show featuring this quote, Mr. Gutfield talks about how women should get a permit for a concealed weapon and carry one, because a rapist would rather go for an unarmed woman than an armed one. This begs the question, if the gun is concealed, how would a rapist know not to mess with said woman? Anyway, he also says this misogynistic gem: “The fact is, keeping a piece is the only way to keep the peace. So, get one to match your shoes.”)
The problem is as the problem always is these days. The assumption is that men are going to rape. You don’t know which men, so you best just protect yourself. Take self-defense classes. Don’t go out at night. Don’t wear [insert type of clothing here]. Don’t go anywhere alone. Carry a gun.
I do not doubt that a gun can make a woman feel safer and even feel more empowered (especially after feeling a loss of power due to an attack or the threat of an attack). However, feeling empowered is not always the same as being empowered. Is having a gun more empowering than having the right to vote, to make the same wage as everyone else, to run a business, to be recognized as a human being? It might help protect one’s bodily integrity and might help alleviate fear. However, wouldn’t it be more empowering if society recognized and protected a woman’s right to her own body and her right to exist? Or, how about if society condemned rape/sexual assault flat-out, instead of continually sending mixed messages about how rape is wrong, but it’s the victim’s fault?
Perhaps Mr. Gutfield is saying women should seize their rights with guns. After all, politics seems to be a hit-and-miss mish-mash of rights and rights violations. Maybe, in that way, a gun would make women more empowered.
Please note: In the event that it is not obvious, I am not encouraging anyone to engage in any violent action to achieve recognition of their rights.