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.