Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has some thoughts on HOW THE VAMPIRE CAN DEFEAT BUFFY. She writes:

Long ago, in a galaxy that seems very far away now, SNL had a sketch with guest host Ellen DeGeneres playing the “Buffy” character. She had to fight a much larger, testosterone-laden being. And she not only lost, she got trounced. They used an Ellen rag doll dummy kicked and flung about the stage to dramatize just how badly she had lost. The hilarious, surprising sketch showed – to SNL’s credit – what would really happen in a confrontation between an unarmed small female person, no matter how brave, and a male more than twice her size.

That sketch not only could not be done today, because it would “condone violence against women,” but the narrative is just wrong, wrong, wrong! All science-y smart people know that men and women are EXACTLY the same.

Currently, virtually every comic book or movie superhero, every beloved sci-fi movie is being rewritten so that the only permissible hero is now AT MINIMUM a hefty woman of color, who may or may not also be a lesbian or a transgender. In other words, someone Joe Biden might consider for his running mate. Males in this brave new cinematic world are only toxic and evil and under no circumstances must ever be portrayed as heroic.

Ah, how far we have sprinted from yesteryear when we Boomer children gathered ’round the television set from the Test Pattern to the National Anthem to watch brave, moral, and strong, silent cowboys fight the lonely, good fight for truth and justice

Boomer Kids were raised on Westerns and their moral code. It never occurred to me those lessons were not meant for me because I was a girl. I too dreamed of being a hero. There were a couple of apprentice thugs in my neighborhood and I fancied myself the Defender of the Bullied. My super-powers were sarcasm and the sneak attack. Before the onset of puberty and the god-awful unfair advantage of testosterone, my win/loss percentage fighting bully boys was probably about 35/65. However, I retired at the end of 7th grade when the boys shot up a foot taller than me with a reach like orangutans. I did not stop fighting because of any evolving moral objections to violence, but because I realized I was going to lose every time. I was reasonably brave, but being the Nerd of La Mancha flailing impotently at windmills did not appeal to me. Like our President, I preferred to win.

A decade and a half later, I took karate in San Francisco. Before we sparred, we did exercises that included 40 pushups supervised by a former Army Ranger with a 10th degree black belt. Ten pushups were standard, ten were on our knuckles, ten on our fingertips, and the last ten, we had to bend over from a standing position and walk 5 hands out, make a triangle with our hands and put our noses into that triangle. It was for triceps. Most females don’t have any. We just have batwings that by late late middle age can knock a lady out while waving goodbye.

Yes, I realize that for soldiers or vets, 40 pushups would be a pleasant 2-minute workout, but for us young females, it was very difficult. Most of the girls were 12-16. I was definitely one of the oldest at 27. In addition to kicking and punching, we were taught a few practical tricks to escape from holds. Almost all relied on the element of surprise rather than brute force.

Fast forward another five years. We had moved to Minnesota and I was working third shift in a typesetting shop. Once on our lunch break, I decided to show off one of the tricks. “Go ahead. Grab my arm with both hands,” I offered confidently to a co-worker, who, unfortunately, went about 6’4” and 260 lbs. Remember that part about the element of surprise? Well, he wasn’t surprised. Not only could I not break the hold, but he lifted all 120 lbs. of me about two feet off the floor to the raucous hoots of my co-workers. Epic fail! And instructive!

In a curious cultural quirk, at the same time that it became mandatory for females to be portrayed as tough, strong, independent superheroes who need a man like a fish needs a bicycle, females were also encouraged to fall apart at the smallest real or imagined sexist slight and run to the nearest Safe Space. In contemporary culture, there are a couple of horrendous things that can bring strong, independent women to their knees – oops, bad metaphor – a couple of things that can bring them to weeping, wailing and suing for untold millions of dollars: first, the dreaded compliment on their appearance! Or, even noticing that they HAVE a pleasant appearance. Or, gazing at them for over 4 seconds in a workplace. Or, worst of all, asking them out! Oh, the humanity!

So we have a whole movement in which grown women relive decades-old bad dates and fumbling passes from inebriated teenage boys, taking upon themselves the sacred mantle of “Survivor,” usually applied to Holocaust victims or people who have fought and beat cancer. As if a grope at a drive-in movie, a purloined kiss from a co-star forty years earlier, or a pat on the rear from a Minnesota Senator were equivalent to months in Auschwitz or brutal chemotherapy. It is offensive to me in the extreme, a repulsive kind of Stolen Valor.

And yet, we are all supposed to kiss the ring of “#MeToo.” A bewildered actor accused of a single grope decades earlier will say, “Well, I have a dim recollection of that, and now I feel terrible, but I thought we were both just jokin’ around. But, we all agree this #MeToo movement is very important and it will surely make the world safer for women.” I disagree. It is a dangerous ploy to weaponize trivial accusations too old to be disproven. And also to replace “innocent until proven guilty” with “credibly accused” and trade due process for academic kangaroo courts and Twitter mobs. Due process is anathema to tyrants, who love mobs.

The only time I have said “#MeToo” was when someone else had been asked if she wanted ice cream. I will state for the record that as a teen I was once grabbed and kissed in a public swimming pool by an adorable teenage boy, and you know what? Not only did I not need a lifetime of therapy to recover from it, I LIKED IT. What do you think of THAT? Because I am a normal, healthy sexual being and not a mental case. Heck, he was kind of shy, I was wearing a tiny beige bikini that I considered to be a powerful marketing tool, and it’s possible I may have even encouraged him! In fact, I liked it so much that a few months later, I married him. He still grabs me and kisses me and I still like it.

So next time Gal Gadot or Buffy or any of the countless interchangeable super-heroines need to fight a big, strong, toxic male, clearly all it will take is a compliment, a blonde joke, or an invitation to meet for coffee to send her into a helpless tailspin, with Gloria Allred on speed-Dial. The Vampire or Bad Guy will win every time. You know what REALLY defeats a Bad Guy? A Good Guy. Especially with a gun. Even a woman with a gun. Teaching women marksmanship and gun safety would be one hundred times more effective than pretending Buffy’s little fists would be anything but mildly annoying to a predator.