Friday, June 5, 2009

Annie Get Your...

Randy Cohen, who writes the "Ethicist" column for the NY Times, has a modest proposal: keep men from openly carrying guns as we do today (in most places, ducks, in most places) but require women to carry them. It's mostly facetious, but he does touch on the usual statistics: 90% of all gun violence is committed by men, and strangely (but rightly) hits on Susan Faludi's observation (without referencing her, though) that occupations once considered high-status when dominated by men (secretary, frex) become low-status when dominated by women. (Ah, that's the answer to the American epidemic of gun violence: sexism! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!)

The comments are more interesting. The old canard (ahem) about guns solving the problems of 2,00,000 violent crimes. (Really? Think it's that easy to shoot someone? See, for example, this, as well as S.L.A Marshall's contention that only 25% of soldiers fired their weapons during WWII.) A surprising number of women write about their experiences owning weapons. One woman hopes that this will lead to guns in designer colors. Then there's this charming passage:

Before you recommend to arm all womyn and unleash them on mankind please remember the import of the following two words:

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

Ya know, folks, I happen to have pretty first-hand experience in the differences between male and female hormones, even if I don't and won't ever cycle. But given the disparity between male and female violent crimes, given how often men come to blows over minor disagreements (I saw two guys nearly get into a fight just yesterday--in the middle of the sidewalk. At 9 AM.), given how the culture of masculinity celebrates testosterone-soaked rage--why is it always women who are supposed to have the hormone problem? Don't they also say that women are better at social networking? Shouldn't we be telling guys to stay out of politics because their brains just can't deal with the complexities of international diplomacy? Shouldn't we tut-tut men for getting into a fight over who was the better hitter in 1939 by saying that they shouldn't let their hormones get the better of them?

Yeah, probably we should. If arming women helps to bring that about--well, Mr. Cohen, sign me up.

1 comment:

  1. I've been lurking here for awhile, enjoying your writing and I have to say thank you for pointing out that hypocrisy of dudes and their sexist ranting about women and hormones. I can't believe I've never thought of it that way -- and that no one ever belittles men and their testosterone-induced rage fits.