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The Women Men Don't See - The Ex-Communicator

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January 11th, 2011


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10:20 am - The Women Men Don't See
I notice that the gunman, Loughner, in Arizona, was disarmed by an unarmed 61 year old woman, enabling him to be knocked down. The gunman who threatened a school board in the US recently was also knocked down by an unarmed woman. I know this is a minor issue in both cases, but I wanted to mention it because I think the actions of women, the way women behave in real life, are completely misrepresented in mainstream drama. Women are portrayed either as super-amazons or more commonly as passive victims. But in real life, women vary a lot, and some are quite brave and resourceful in a crisis. I don't even know this woman's name, she was briefly mentioned in a BBC report and I haven't seen any further mention of her.

ETA - link from altariel with more details. Her name was Patricia Maisch.

And it's like every time you confront these stereotypes - for example that heroes are armed muscular men, that women are naturally cowardly, that 'passivity' is a feminine quality - you have to start from scratch, as if all these real life events have never happened.

And think about that Bechdel Test - that it is a rare film which shows women talking to each other about stuff other than male romantic interests. This is women's whole life - well the great bulk of our lives - working, struggling, talking to each other about stuff. You know that James Tiptree Jnr story 'The Women Men Don't See'? I sometimes feel this is our whole existence, something happening in plain sight, but not seen.

I know there are many more important issues around this particular shooting, but I think they have been very well expressed by others, and I haven't seen this one mentioned much. I suppose just wanted to state a little tribute to the woman who helped stop the shooting, alongside all the quite justified anger and sorrow about all that happened before she intervened.

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:fjm
Date:January 11th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
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And the related one is the whole notion that you need a gun to stop a gun. Most of the gunmen who have been brought down by civilians have been brought down by the unarmed.

One of the most shocking things about the Bowling for Columbine video was the way no one even thought to turn tables up as shields: too many Americans have been taught to be passive in the face of guns.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 11th, 2011 10:58 am (UTC)
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Yes, I think that's a very significant issue . And the idea that 'person with most guns wins', which seems so strange in the rhetoric of politicians.
[User Picture]
From:altariel
Date:January 11th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
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Patricia Maisch.

Also, from this site: "The heroism of the intern who clearly ensured that Congresswoman Giffords stayed alive until paramedics arrived made for an especially bright spot. Brighter still, given that he is an articulate, level-headed, exceedingly modest gay Latino college student, in a state which recently codified, in SB 1070, the police’s rights to stop and search him based on “reasonable suspicion” of his immigrant status, and in which gay marriage is officially banned." See Salon.com too.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 11th, 2011 11:12 am (UTC)
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That is brilliant. A 61 year old woman. Fantastic work by her. It's also good to see people acting together, men and women. This intern. Brilliant.

ETA - though it appears the early report was a bit simplified so I'll amend the post a bit.

Edited at 2011-01-11 11:15 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:altariel
Date:January 11th, 2011 11:23 am (UTC)
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More about her in the Mirror, of all places.
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From:happytune
Date:January 11th, 2011 01:08 pm (UTC)
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She was also interviewed in a (reasonably) long slot on the Channel 4 news. Amazing woman.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:January 11th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
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There was a substantial interview with her last night on Channel 4 News. It seems that a few people piled onto the guy to restrain him, including Maisch, and she had the presence of mind to stop him reloading.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 11th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh, good, I am glad. I was out last night so I didn't see any news. I think I have been reading mainly analytical articles and not enough about the real people involved.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:January 11th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
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Oops - apologies - I posted before I read this.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 11th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
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I think I was driving back from your house at the time
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From:julesjones
Date:January 11th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
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One of the ways in which she is a woman men don't see is the number of news reports I've heard which say that two men restrained the shooter, but which fail to mention her. I noticed this in part because there was very specific mention of her in the first reports I did hear/read of what happened to the gunman, and then she seemed to disappear.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
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Yes. I posted this after I read a report only talking about the two men.
[User Picture]
From:pingback_bot
Date:January 12th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)

Interesting Links for 12-1-2011

(Link)
User andrewducker referenced to your post from Interesting Links for 12-1-2011 saying: [...] heroism of women (particularly the woman who stopped the gunman who shot Congresswoman Gifford) [...]
[User Picture]
From:maiac
Date:January 13th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
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In his speech at the memorial service, President Obama talked about the men who tackled the shooter, and mentioned Patricia Maisch by name.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 13th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that's great news, thanks for telling me.
[User Picture]
From:maiac
Date:January 13th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
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I was waiting for it, because of your post (which I read because it was linked in supergee's LJ).

I should clarify my previous post: I didn't mean to include Patricia Maisch in "the men", nor did President Obama. Here's what he said: "We are grateful for Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby's office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive. We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. We are grateful for a petite 61 year-old, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer's ammunition, undoubtedly saving some lives. And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and emergency medics who worked wonders to heal those who'd been hurt."

(From a transcript at NowPublic.)


Edited at 2011-01-13 11:51 pm (UTC)

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