Friday, June 16, 2017

The Problem With Wonder Woman

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

With the Wonder Woman movie having recently come out and been very successful Hollywood is patting itself on the back not only for a job well done making a successful movie, but also for promoting “girl power.”  Having a strong and powerful female lead is said to be good for females, young girls especially, because it an empowering thing to see strong, capable, and all over empowered woman on the big screen.  Such a thing is supposed to send a message to young girls and older women alike that they can be strong, “have it all,” and if need be, kick a man’s ass.

While I have no problem with the character Wonder Woman, the concept of female empowerment, and I have no plans to see the movie these types of movies do make me cringe a little bit and in the end I think they’ll get women in trouble.  The problem is all these movies like James Bond, Jason Borne, Taken, Charlee’s Angels, Salt, and of course super hero movies show characters that are essentially human wrecking balls tearing through hordes of bad guys single handedly and this ends up distorting people’s view of reality.

This is especially damaging to girls because when boys see these movies and get the idea they might be able to emulate the things they see on the screen they have a feedback mechanism that brings them back to reality.  That feedback mechanism is other boys; if a boy sees a bunch of action movies and they try to emulate what they see they are quickly brought back to reality by getting their butt kicked by other boys.  Young boys do a pretty good job of keeping themselves in check because they are perfectly willing to smack each other around.

The problem is that girls really don’t have this same mechanism to keep their expectations in check.  Girls generally don’t beat on each other and guys are taught not to hit girls even if the girl hits them first so while most guys get physically put in their place at least once while growing up this often doesn’t happen with girls.  In fact, with a lot of young girls their physical equality is reinforced when they’re young.

There is video I saw of a 10 year old girl that is a black belt in karate and I believe she is the youngest person to ever get a black belt in that organization.  The video goes on about how tough she is and how when she goes to competition she is doing very well and even beating the boys.  This is misleading because girls mature faster than boys to so at 10 years old she probably is a tall and strong as most of the boys her own age, and she might actually be a little stronger than a lot of them.  This girl probably has little difficulty going toe-to-toe with a lot of the boys and this unfortunately can give her, and others, the impression that she is just as physically capable as males but this is only true for a very short time.  Once boys start developing they quickly become bigger and stronger and unless they fall victim to some type of sickness or disease this doesn’t change.

I don’t know how many young girls and young women I’ve trained over the years that have this idea that they are just as physically capable as men when it comes to inflicting injury.  One girl in particular that I worked with was in her early 20’s said she wanted to learn to defend herself and wanted to be a “kick ass female;” she loved kung fu movies and especially loved the Charlee’s Angels remakes and she felt that she was ready to pursue that sort of persona.  She was dripping with confidence and raring to go and I knew I had to bring her down to reality a bit before I could train her so I held a kicking shield and had her kick and punch it as hard as she could.

I really like using a kicking shield with untrained people because people really have an unrealistic expectation of what their blows will do when they connect.  While she really enjoyed hitting the shield I could tell that her hands and wrists were starting to hurt a little bit and when she kicked it she pretty much bounced off the kicking shield   I told her to kick it really hard and when she did I pushed the pad forwards a little and she was knocked backwards and fell on her butt.

I asked her how she felt about hitting the pad and I could tell she was a little disappointed and she even made the comment that it was not like the movies.  Girls see movies where some larger than life female hero kicks a guy and he flies backwards 10 feet and they get it in their head that they can do that too, and since most of the time they don’t have a feedback mechanism like boys do to bring the back to reality some girls grow up thinking that they are just as capable as men when it comes to causing injuries.

While a female who is properly trained can disable a man through injury the fact is that a lot of women simply can’t, at least no intentionally.  Men are generally bigger, stronger, and more aggressive which can mean quite a bit when it actually comes to a real violent encounter.  I’ve been punched in the face two times by women and each were real punches delivered with the intent to do me hard and neither one did more than sting a little bit.  The truth is the only thing they really did was piss me off and make me want to hurt them.

When it comes to self-defense a woman is just not on equal footing when it comes to a man and all the Hollywood movies and “girl power” can’t change that.  There is no way of getting around the fact that if a woman has to fight off a man she will more than likely be fighting someone who is bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than she is.  If a woman thinks she can punch a guy in the face or kick him in the stomach and drop him she is most likely mistaken; even a kick to the testicles is not always guaranteed to put someone down.  When I was 16 I intervened when a girl about my own age was picking on a friend and the girl turned around and kicked me in the testicles as hard as she could.  It hurt, a lot, but really it just made me mad.  The look on her face when I didn’t drop to the ground in pain was of pure shock.  When she saw that I didn’t go down and how angry I got she left in a hurry because she knew that was really the only move she had.

Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these movies or even with the concept of “girl power” itself.  I think boys and girls should be empowered to follow their dreams and blah, blah, blah.  My only issue is that I’ve seen firsthand that a lot of these movies give women a false sense of security that they can take down a guy if they have to and this is dangerous.  A woman shouldn’t try to fight a guy empty handed unless she has to because she is at a size and strength disadvantage.

Luckily, disabling injuries don’t care how they happen or who caused them so a woman can certainly injure a man and put him down but she is going to have to put more effort into it and work smarter.  When I see a woman who wants to learn to defend herself go to a gym and start learning how to box I cringe a little.  Sure, a woman who is professionally trained to box can knock out a guy…some of the time.  However, going force to force like that just isn’t wise.

There is a reason why a woman who wants to kill her husband shoots him in his sleep or poisons his food instead of challenging him to a fist fight.  Woman have to rely on intelligence, weapons, anatomy, and leverage a bit more than guys do if they want to disable a man and that is life but it is also perfectly doable.  Other than physical fitness or actually engaging in competitive fighting against other women there is no reason for a woman to ever throw a jab; after all if a right cross to a man’s face is probably going to just piss him off then throwing a jab is nothing more than wasted time (unless you’re trying to initiate a finch response to set him up for something else).

Woman need to realize that while, yes, they’re equal and just a “good” as a man they are not the same.  Men’s and women’s bodies are quite different and if a woman doesn’t plan for that then she is going to suffer the consequences when a violent act occurs.

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