Friday, 31 July 2009

Women and Guns

Ilana Mercer quotes Sarah Palin appreciatively:
"Hollywood needs to know: We eat therefore we hunt."
While I agree with what this quip is supposed to convey, (as I perceive it), namely that meat does NOT come out of the deep freeze and that we, as a society, have to kill to eat, there are several things that can be (and ARE) said about it. One of them is that animals ought not to be killed for fun and that farm animals is all we need to supply us with meat. Wildlife numbers, members of that faction argue, can be controlled by professionals. Of course, the stench of the Puritan surrounding this statement, who will sniff out if anybody anywhere on the globe has fun and will try to stop it at once, is overpowering. I just quoted it to show that we do NOT have to hunt to eat and that Palin's statement stripped to its bones, catchy as it may be, is simply wrong.

Of course, everybody who knows the first things about animals and wildlife will prefer game to meat from domestic animals, for both, animal welfare and reasons of edibility. Wildlife had had a good life in its natural surroundings when it finally meets its maker. It doesn't know what has hit it, it hasn't been raised on "hygienic" concrete floor, hip to hip with other poor critters, without a look at the blue sky ever, possibly even in the dark, fed with doubtful, chemically "enhanced" food. It isn't beaten into a butchery where it will be forced to smell the fear and the blood of all the animals slaughtered before. I'll gladly grant the guns their fun in exchange for providing me with meat that is not like that. Hey, I even know a farmer/butcher who shoots his free-ranging beef in the field, so that they'll never know what hit them. Meet from animals that haven't experienced stress before they died tastes better as well, a simple matter of chemistry.

I realize that German shooting and American hunting are very different. While I'm known to be a scourge of my own people, and while the eternal and spiritual values Germans tend to foist on that sport (ooops... of course it's no sport, it's a semi-sacred endeavour to better the world) go sometimes seriously on my nerves, at least our pork chops aren't tormented to death over a longish period of time and we don't see a point in chasing a terrified tame animal within a manageable enclosure while blowing holes into it. If that makes us leftist pinko commies or treehuggers -- so be it.

But I digress. The question I'd like to answer is: Now we know that "we", the members of a post-modern society, do indeed NOT "need" to hunt to eat meat, does a hunting woman really convey the proper image for a traditional, conservative society? Ilana Mercer seems to think so:
Palin is a terrific specimen of a woman. Would that there were more disciplined, gun-toting, hunting, energetic local leaders like this lady in my state. She’s not a philosopher or a thinker; but she should be the Gold Standard for the all-American archetype of a woman (and not the vacuous California toothy booby bimbo).
And while I largely agree with her assessment of Palin's good qualities, I once again challenge Palin's qualities to represent truly conservative and traditional values. It may be a matter of taste, but I don't think that the demonstrative wearing of weapons for other purposes than self-defense, befits a woman. I don't think, either, that women, on a large scale, can handle the responsibility that comes with it, and while it is the height of hypocrisy to revile Palin because she kills wildlife but not her unborn child, it is not very wise to promote a gun-toting Palin as a female role model fit for emulation.

Did you watch "El Dorado"? It can be seen, I think, as somewhat emblematic for women and guns. Where does the trouble come from? From a gun-toting, irresponsible girl who refuses to listen to her father. (I wonder whether they wore jeans that looked as if the wearer had been poured into them and such carefully dishevelled manes in the old West, but that's beside the point here.) And nothing will outline the nature of feminism better than her quip: "They haven't gotten around shooting women yet," when a man offers to escort her in a town highly charged with hostility. So it is alright for HER to tote a gun (and shooting men in the process) while she takes it for granted that no man will shoot her. Sheer and undiluted feminism. American men, you've brought it all upon yourselves!

If you look at the scene where that girl "Joey" comes to the prison with her sister-in-law whose husband has just beed kidnapped by the bad guys, the difference between a woman carrying a gun in self-defense and one who does it aggressively becomes quite obvious. There is nothing boastful, warchick-y about the other woman. She just does what she has to do.

I shoot as well, although I haven't killed anything yet, I am the holder of a shooting license, to be precise. Shooting in Germany is a largely all-male affair and I have yet to meet a woman who complains about it. I like to attend the annual general meeting of the regional guns' association because I and another woman of my age are usually the only ones present and among the youngest attendees to boot. I can't think in a hurry about any other venue where that would be the case. I know quite a few women who have, like myself, undergone the lengthy and expensive process to acquire a shooting license and who will reply, when asked why they have done it, to help their husbands, or to be licensed to lead dogs at gundog trials. I know very few who actually enjoy the stalking and killing bit. Not that I blame those who do, it just doesn't seem to be the norm and I think that tells its own story.

So this German challenges the lippy American "war chick" and "gun toting women" culture as something that may be very American but can in no way be called "conservative".

Like Sarah Palin, really!