Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by often to read what I’ve posted on this blog. I hope new readers will continue to find us and enjoy the stories that have been posted here, but I’ve started a new blog for my group, Heritage Family. You can find it by clicking here. I will post more on the Rounds and Roses page when I have time, but will be writing primarily for Heritage Family in order to build up readership and spread the word about that organization. Please come over when you can, and check back often. That site will focus on learning and passing on to future generations those skills that have been lost in recent generations, such as firearms proficiency, hunting, camping/campfire cooking, long-term food storage, etc. So thanks again for reading, and I hope to see you over at Heritage Family!
After over five months away, I am back to the blog – five months that I am calling “the summer of my discontent.” I intend to go into more detail about this over the next month or two, but for now, let me just ask a question of all those women gun lovers out there:
Ladies, have you run up against discrimination at a gun club, specifically with men not allowing enough time/space for women’s activities at the range, or with trying to break through the existing “good ole boy” system?
This will probably apply more to women who are leaders in trying to get activities booked at ranges, or trying to make changes as a member of the board of directors.
Truthfully, I had no idea this type of discrimination existed until a few months ago. In fact, I had always been pleased with the attitudes and behavior of the men I had met out at the range. They often seemed surprised that I was there by myself and that I knew what I was doing; but they were also very supportive and encouraging – and more likely than not, said they wished their wives would take an interest in shooting, as well.
Things changed, however, when I got on the board at my local range – the only woman on a 17 “man” board. After about six months of scheduling women’s activities, I was told by one Director that, “The women are doing too much out here,” to explain why I was beginning to get resistence from some board members (all I had scheduled at that time were a couple of six-week leagues) – and it has all gone downhill (translation: gotten really ugly) from there.
The rest of the story will have to wait, but for now, please forward this link to your friends who are involved in women’s activities at their ranges so I can do some research and find out how widespread this problem is. Anyone wishing to send details (much appreciated) can email me directly at CathiBray@gmail.com, instead of posting a comment.
Thanks for your help, and trust me, the saga will continue/is continuing/may never end… :/
So I was in the gun store last night, buying a loaner for my ladies steel challenge club, and as I approached the counter, the guy behind it looked at the quarter hanging from a chain around my neck and said, “Somebody shoot your quarter?”
I was a little taken aback, but said, “Yeah, I did.” He snickered and said, “You did?” I was a bit more irritated now and said, “Yes, I shot it. That’s why I’m wearing it.” He didn’t say anything, so I added, “…one-handed, at 20 feet.”
His eyes got big and he just looked at me a minute, I guess trying to see if I was kidding or not, but then he grumbled, “Good shot,” and went off to help someone else.
I was offended at first, because I know if my husband had walked in with a quarter on a necklace, the question would have been, “What did you shoot that with?” But I had to realize that at least I had opened the guy’s eyes, both literally and figuratively, to the fact that yes, women can shoot, too. Guess that makes it a good day for everyone.
I wrote the following on a facebook page today: “I was talking to a woman recently about firearms training, when she said, “Oh, I’m afraid of guns.” Now, I’ve had women tell me that before, and I haven’t said what I would like to, but this time I said, “You know, I’m more afraid of a bad guy than I am of a gun that is in my control.”
I was hoping she would realize that the only reason to carry a firearm is because there are bad guys out there, that might be planning to harm us. I have zero control over what someone is out there plotting to do, and when the opportunity might arise for him to do it to me, but I do have control over the level of my preparedness to handle that threat in the best possible manner. We (women) need to stop seeing the tool as the threat, and realize that learning to use the tool properly will enable us to defend ourselves better against the true threat – the bad guy.”
It does seem that many women fear the tool, rather than understanding that the tool is what you use against the actual threat, but a firearm should not be the only tool in the toolbox. If we believe that using a firearm is the option of last resort when faced with a threat, then we need to also learn other skills that we might employ first, such as situational awareness, self-defense, even knife fighting skills, all of which might prevent us from having to employ the firearm tool.
I would love for some of the women I come across to stop thinking they will never be in a life or death situation and to plan for the day that they might. If we are trained and prepared, but are never placed in that situation, that’s awesome; however, if we are untrained and unprepared, but our life is threatened at some point, then we are basically helpless. I’d much rather prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
We had an awesome day with 19 young ladies and their families this weekend for our National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day. The girls were able to try their hand at pistol shooting, rifle shooting, and archery, and even got a hands-on lesson in wildlife identification from a representative of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
They enjoyed gun-shaped cookies with pink camo icing from Qtzie Cupcakes, won some cool door prizes, and most importantly, learned the basics of safe gun handling.
Volunteers braved the blazing heat – and being in southeast Texas, it was HOT – but they said it was worth it to see all the smiles on the girls’ faces when they made a good shot. And let me tell you, these girls were good shots! It was amazing to see some of them blow the center out of their targets, and was really encouraging when they started off far from center, but walked it in until they were inside the bullseye – that’s when we knew they had it.
Many thanks to those who helped put on the event, and to Houston-Tactical for sponsoring it, and Lynne of Female and Armed for coming up with the idea and supporting all of us. Next year will be even bigger and better! For more information on NTYDTTRD, CLICK HERE, and see below for pictures.
I watched a video today that was shared on the GunDivas blog site, and I wanted to pass it on to you for a couple of reasons. The video was made by PatriotNurse, who has many more great videos that you can find on YouTube, but this one was called Firearms Training and Women.
In the video, PatriotNurse makes the point that women have a natural instinct to protect their young – the Mama Bear response that we’re all familiar with - but that young mothers are rarely taught how to defend their own lives, much less the lives of their children, when they begin to have young people whose lives depend on them.
In our American society, we are still very patriarchal, which is not a problem as long as the patriarch realizes that the primary care-giver in our society is still, the majority of the time, the mother. In that environment, the father is spending the majority of his day at work; and the mother is spending the majority of her day with the young children.
Even if the mother works outside the home, she is still – typically – the one that drops the children off at daycare or school and picks them up. She also tends to have the children with her more often at the grocery store on the weekends, and while running other errands or shuttling the children back and forth to extracurricular activities.
And of course, this does not apply to every family, but there are still many more families in America that it does apply to.
That being the case, would it not be beneficial for the father to make sure that the mother could protect herself and their children if dad is not around and something goes wrong? Granted, mom could take the responsibility of acquiring that training herself, but many men already have those skills, they just don’t always pass them on to their wives and daughters - and admittedly, some wives are not even interested in firearms training.
In the typical nuclear, patriarchal family, everyone tends to depend on the dad’s wisdom and strength to take care of a problem when it occurs. But what if dad is not there? What if mom and the kids are at the grocery store when it is robbed – and dad is miles away?
Just because one partner in a team is prepared, it does not make the team safe, unless that partner is covering the others 24/7/365, which is simply not possible. I like PatriotNurse’s concept that the protection of the family should be a team effort. Just as in many other areas of raising a family, one person should not shoulder the entire burden of any one area of responsibility.
Women are natural defenders of all they hold dear, and those bear claws will come out when lives are threatened - especially the lives of their children. I say it’s time we help train and equip them for that purpose.
(And, yes, I know I’ve made some blanket, and even stereotypical statements in this post, but I am often out during the day and I do see many more women with young children than I see men with children. And that doesn’t even count the huge numbers of single moms, who don’t even have the dad to defend them against harm.)
The Women’s Outdoor Media Association, WOMA, has a great post today by Julianna Crowder on “How To Get Women Into The Gun Concept.” Julianna makes many valid points in her post, but one part that I really like is where she says, “It is very important for women to have positive female role models in the firearms industry. I strongly encourage you when seeking out a firearms training course, that you look for one that has a female role model on staff rather than an overall male environment. Especially if you are new and feeling timid. Knowing that there is someone like you teaching from a similar perspective will ease the experience.”
Advising women to seek other female instructors is not anti-men, by any means; it is just an acknowledgement that many women will not go to a male instructor, especially one that teaches skills that may bring up many emotional issues from the woman’s past.
A lot of women are drawn to firearms and self-defense through painful circumstances in their past, and many times, those circumstances involved being victimized by a man. Those ladies are not going to feel comfortable putting themselves under the instruction of a man during a time when learning how to defend themselves brings up memories of a time when they could not do so.
Also, many women have been made to feel inferior, inadequate, dumb, clumsy, awkward, weak, etc., by men in their lives, either knowingly or unknowingly, so those women are more comfortable admitting their weaknesses to a female instructor, and asking some of the questions that they might initially be embarrassed they don’t know.
There are many reasons why women seek out other women as role models and instructors, and that’s perfectly fine. I instruct women in the use of firearms and am fortunate enough to have some extremely supportive men surrounding me and encouraging me. My husband is never intimidated by my ability to teach – and is even proud to tell others on those occasions that I might shoot better than him.
I also have men in the company that I teach for, who are so far above my skill and experience level that it’s crazy – I mean, these men have military experience and have attending so much training that it would take me years to reach that level, if I ever did; BUT they acknowledge that there are many women out there today that need what I have to offer – some skill, some training, some experience, but primarily just the fact that I can relate to them on a much different level than my male counterparts.
The men that I work with are happy to promote what I do, and they are proud of the fact that I, and the other female instructors I work with, are able to help women that the men may never be allowed to.
So while there are not nearly as many female firearms and self-defense instructors as male at this time, I would dare say that if you keep looking and ask around, you will likely find one in your general area. And after you get the training you need and become more proficient with your skills, consider paying it forward and becoming an instructor. We need more women out there leading the way, so come join us! The rewards are incredible as you help other women become more empowered and more confident in their lives.