Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Oh, and one more link for today!

Because I just happened to follow this link from Twitter to this article, and DO I EVER AGREE WITH THIS OR WHAT.

This article, by Nicole Lisa at Reading, Writing and the ‘Rhythmatic of Life, is about how passive women can be on television and in movies — how they just cower in corners while the serial killer breaks down the door to get at them.

This is so true! And it drives me NUTS. About the worst offender I EVER saw was the movie “Scream”. Over and over, someone knocked the killer down — and then ran away. I kept yelling, “He’s DOWN! What do you think that chair right there is FOR? Hit him with it, you doofus!” It would have been a much shorter movie, or at least a very different movie, if anybody had had the guts and basic common sense to bash the killer’s head in when he was sprawled at their feet. I actually think male characters also showed this run-away-screaming reaction, not just the female characters, but I’m certainly not going to suffer through the movie again just to check. I do think there’s this weird omnipresent assumption these days that it’s just wrong to defend yourself against violent attack, and WHERE DID THAT RIDICULOUS IDEA EVEN COME FROM?

I would like to try a five year experiment: for five years, have every woman attacked on tv and in a movie fight back! Have them beat the tar out of their attackers at least a third of the time! And see what happens in the real world. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Incidentally, in Nicola Griffith’s wonderful, intense book ALWAYS, there’s a woman’s self-defense class integrated into the main plotline. I really need to read that book again! Because it’s a great antidote to this awful passivity of women victims on the big screen and on tv.

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4 Comments Oh, and one more link for today!

  1. Elaine T

    I’m one who freezes when shocked or scared, then I go onto automatic. So I can understand people who don’t act immediately. But I don’t get those in shows (or books) who don’t pull themselves together and defend themselves in such situations.
    When I remember (I lead a pretty safe life, except for a tendency to take nighttime walks) I run mental drills to remind myself that if I ever do get into such a situation, to fight intelligently, not wibble. But also to be alert so as not to get into such situations.

    Ever read Gavin deBecker’s GIFT OF FEAR?

    There is definitely a weird assumption these days that self-defense is wrong, and it’s in all the schools we experienced. Forex, Don’t fight back when bullied, tell an adult who is totally useless and will generally punish both, or the teller. it is the sort of thing only an extraordinarly sheltered culture could come up with, and in the real world it will be a disaster. We suspect it is partially linked to ivory tower nonsense, partially a female thing – my husband remembers being at a school run by women with terrible discipline and bullying problems, and switching to an all boys school staffed by men, where they didn’t put up with any nonsense. And we’ve noticed a clear ‘male effect’ when it comes to discipline with our girl and friends.

    We’re online & private schooling now, for various reasons.

    oh, he didn’t like the Patrick Lee – ‘too violent’ . Unfortunately he took it on a trip and the bookstore at his destination was full of stuff that doesn’t interest him, so he may be stuck reading it anyway.

    In the Sarah Addison Allen I just finished there’s almost a scene of girls locked in a bedroom with bad guy trying to get in. But not quite and I think the character would’ve fought.

  2. Rachel

    Oh, well, I have to admit, the Patrick Lee is indeed pretty darn violent. Though no one can deny that plenty of things happen. For me personally, violence in print form can get pretty extreme before it’s too extreme — visual violence on screen is harder for me to handle, even if it’s objectively not as bad.

    Your comments on the don’t-defend-yourself philosophy are interesting. You’ve been a lot more closely exposed to that kind of thing than I have, because I don’t have kids. That observation about female-run vs male-run schools is interesting.

    If I did have kids, I’d homeschool ’em, for any number of reasons. (Math education today is BEYOND dismal. WAY beyond.) But preventing my kids from being exposed to the don’t-defend-yourself thing would be adequate all by itself, too.

    When I got my concealed carry license, they showed a video recreation of a woman who had a gun, but the guy who broke in told her she couldn’t shoot him because she’d get in trouble since “he hadn’t done anything yet.” She apparently found this persuasive, because in the real-life incident, she was tortured to death. I thought it was absolutely unbelievable. I would have been totally incredulous at the “You can’t shoot me” line, as I shot him.

  3. NicoleL

    Eeee! I hope it’s not too late to comment on this old post. I somehow got here by looking for a post by Julliet Marillier about self defense (which I still can’t find). I never got a trackback that you linked to my post, which is too bad because I’m a fan of yours. I loved The City in the Lake! /fangirling

    I so agree with the 5 year experiment of having women and girls fight back. It would be amazing. And it wouldn’t have to be physical, because self-defense is about using your brains as much as your muscles. It would be as much of a game changer as if there were equal numbers of men and women on TV and in the movies instead of the 3:1 ratio we have right now.

    I will have to check out Nicola Griffith’s book. I’m so glad you mentioned it and enjoyed my post.

  4. Rachel

    I bet you will love Griffith’s trilogy! There are also nice but much briefer scenes dealing with self-defense classes in Greg Stolze’s book SWITCHFLIPPED — which also had excellent female pov characters, though the most important pov character is a guy. Anyway, you won’t have heard of that one, I bet, so I just mention it. Though Griffith’s the better writer, but then she’s better than most people!

    Yes, every time I think of running that experiment, I like the idea more. Too bad I’m not in charge of Hollywood!

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