When you assume anything about the woman standing next to you at the gun shop counter or the shooting range…well, you know what they say about assumptions. You start getting paternalistic and condescending on her, or use the opportunity to “show her how to improve her stance”, you may just turn a novice off the shooting sports forever…or you may just find that the woman in question has not only forgotten more than you’ll ever learn about firearms, but can also outshoot you with your own gun on her worst–and your best–day.
The entire post is worth reading, and is 100% true. I have observed the behavior described in the above post more times than I’d care to admit, because it’s a poor reflection of the shooting sports. In fact, Tuesday night’s Gun Nuts Radio with Julie Goloski hit on much the same topic – that often men don’t even think about the inherently demeaning nature of the way they conduct a lot of their activities when it comes to getting women involved in shooting. This is why I’m such a big fan of programs such as Babes With Bullets, which provide a comforting and welcoming environment into the shooting sports, without having to worry about some guy offering to help “the little lady out”.
I will say this though in defense of the shooting sports – I’ve noticed a correlation between the level of skill that a shooter has, and their attitude towards women in the shooting sports. While my data set is small and probably not representative, it’s been my experience that truly skilled and knowledgeable shooters are extremely welcoming and open to bringing women into the shooting sports without being sexist about it. However, shooters who think they’re good (but aren’t) and think they’re really up-to-speed (but aren’t) are usually the worst about welcoming any perceived outsider into their little club. It’s sad, because turning people away from our sport and heritage makes it that much harder for those of us that aren’t dickheads to recruit new shooters. So like Marko says – the next time you’re typing into your browser from your double-wide about “wuts a gud gun fer mah little lady, she’s awfel smal and cant handel reciol”, try really hard to think about how you’d feel if someone asked “what’s a good gun for a morbidly obese redneck with early onset diabetes who is also functionally retarded?”