I went back to the Pandagon post that inspired me to have something more to say on the subject of women hitting men and considered some more. It occured to me as funny that in the first snarkoleptics post I linked to before that twice someone brought up the lesson they learned as kids that just because someone hits you or says something bad doesn't mean it's okay to hit them. It is very often considered childish to lash out violently and be goaded into hitting back is shameful because you're lowering yourself to a childish level of behavior.
At Pandagon, Amanda quotes a Dr. Helen:
Scalzi shows a picture of Krissy with a baseball bat and a caption reading, “Respect me for me. Or because I will beat the holy crap out of you. Really, it’s your choice.” How charming. So the implication is that if one is a woman, she can beat the crap out of someone for “disrespecting her?” This regressive behavior is typical of the violent youth I see who have so little impulse control that they beat someone up for “dissing them.” I would hope a grown woman of Krissy’s obvious intelligence would have more sense than that. But no. She decides that a man in an open public place just trying to touch her warranted shoving him against a wall and putting her hand to his throat.
This quote reminded me of the same thing it did Amanda, it seems. Blaming the victim, especially in rape cases.
There are plenty of cases where I applaud someone for being "bigger" and finding a difficult but just solution to harassment or verbal assualt. But I can't blame anyone for wanting to scare the hell out of a jerk by reacting violently. Sure, it could instigate violence out of the jerk who was all talk until then, but if someone doesn't take you seriously, it certainly sets a different tone.
I remember getting in a bad fight in 6th grade. I was tiny and white and my bus to school was entirely non-white and had a lot of boys on it. So I got picked on since I was an "other" and things were thrown on me. What they didn't know was that I'd punched the one school bully at my elementary school in the gut and from then on, she'd left me alone and I was full of pride and vinegar. So when they threw an egg at the back of my head, I turned around and declared war. I lost the fight, but they didn't mess with me anymore. I wasn't worth the trouble.
What I remember was that they all stopped laughing when I formed my little hands into fists.
So maybe on that level it disturbs me that a woman being violent is funny. Because so often in real life a woman turns to violence to show how serious she is.
Of course, I still don't consider this admirable behavior. There's a reason why I didn't tell my parents about the fight and hid my one bruise on my face with makeup (oh, and it was right before the school Christmas concert, too! So I had an excuse to wear makeup!) It did feel like lowering myself. But I knew that telling on them would do nothing and I had no other choice for getting to school. The bus was seriously overcrowded (3 kids to a seat) and I was the last stop, so I couldn't hide or sit upfront. It felt like a last resort. And it certainly feels hypocritical to praise any sort of violence when I'm a NAPper. Throwing an egg at me and insulting me in languages I didn't know wouldn't have justified me kicking all their butts even if I'd been capable of that. So neither do I think threatening violence towards a friend, even in a joking manner, is an appropriate response to their saying something offensive. But maybe it's a learned behavior women pick up on - that guys will treat your complaint seriously if you threaten or use violence. Even if you're joking. Or half-joking.
If that's the truth, then, well, it's a shame.