First, let me state that I like John Scalzi and his work. I think some of those who generally share my opinion about the foolishness of women electing to engage in hostile physical interaction have gone overboard in slamming Krissy, and that many of those who disagree with me are attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole by asserting that this has anything to do with mysogyny.
Second, I don’t condone groping or any other form of unprovoked social crudity. I don’t even permit male bullying in my presence; I once bounced a very irritating man named Buzzy’s head off a brick wall when he slapped a friend of mine that he was dating in front of me. Clearly, the guy provoked the encounter and deserved the humiliation that Krissy meted out to him.
However, remember that celebrating physical violence in response to unwanted physical overtures goes both ways. If Krissy has the right to “kick the ass” of a man who grabs her, so do I. It has happened on occassion, I mean, I have a gay fan club, for Travolta’s sake! And it means I also have the right to punch out every woman who grabs my arms, pats my pecs or whatever… is everyone okay with that, really?
However, John is simply incorrect about this:
My wife is tremendously strong and more than capable of handling herself physically. My ex-girlfriend from college has a second-degree black belt in karate. I have another woman friend who was Special Forces. Any three of these women I would wager would be as capable as most men in a physical situation. Any three of them, I can confidently state, can probably kick my ass without much problem, and by height, weight and strength I am pretty much exactly the average American male.
You might say that the average woman is no match in a physical altercation with the average male, and you may be right. But in all cases? Bullshit. There are lots of women who are strong, there are lots of women who know how to defend themselves, and there are lots of women who have the will to dominate a physical situation. Lots of women are some combination of all three.
All of this is either irrelevant or largely incorrect, excluding a few rare exceptions. The comments about the black belt and special forces is simply an unfortunate lack of direct observation and experience. Black belt women only fight high-ranking men in the dojo, not because they can beat the inexperienced fighters too easily, but because they don’t want to get hurt by guys who can’t control their power. Fighting a female black belt falls somewhere in between fighting a complete beginner and a gold belt… their techniques are often quite good and their kicks are beautiful, but when you fight them it feels like they’re moving in molasses.
Seriously, I once asked a very pretty kickboxer with a black belt if she was injured, as she was taking all day to come in when she tried to attack. She was so slow that I started playing around and seeing if I could beat her jab with rear hand counters without anticipating. Not only could I do it, but it wasn’t even close.
I’d encourage John to visit a full-contact dojo or a boxing club sometime and talk to the three or four women who train seriously there. He’ll likely be surprised by their opinion on the matter, as well as their open contempt for the paper Amazons from the belt factories. At our dojo, Penthouse didn’t even fight a woman for her first three years and when she did, she left a trail of tears, black eyes, bloody noses and very short fights behind her. She was simply in shock at how easy it was, and was practically in tears herself at how much devastation she’d wrought.
The problem here with all this patronizing “oh, your wife is lucky” talk from you and others is that it generally underestimates my wife’s intelligence, which I find annoying. Krissy is very smart, and determined what the best course of action was in this particular event. It’s possible my wife was lucky; it’s rather more likely that she was intelligent and acted with thought and intent and from the knowledge that she was acting appropriately.
It may surprise some to know that I totally agree with this. John is a smart guy and I presume he’s capable of ascertaining if Krissy is too. I’m not objecting to Krissy’s successful handling of a particular situation, I’m merely attempting to dissuade those who would enthusiastically attempt to draw a general conclusion from it.