Story and photographs by Tatiana Whitlock
When it comes to who is the better shooter and why, men or women, the iconic Irving Berlin duet from Annie Get Your Gun immediately springs to mind. “Anything you can do I can do better! I can do anything better than you” is sung while Annie Oakley and Frank Butler prepare for the climactic sharpshooting contest in the classic Broadway musical. For an object as functionally gender-neutral as a gun, why is it that each of the sexes assumes they are better adept at mastering it? Any quality instructor will tell you the real weapon is not the gun. The educated mind that controls the gun possesses the real power. Therefore, do men and women learn and process information differently especially with a gun in hand?
“men are quick to act and apply aggression in a dynamic self-defense scenario”
There is still much uncharted territory when it comes to the human mind. The scientific community offers studies of both children and adults that prove more similarities between the sexes than there are differences at the biological level. Painting with a wide brush can lead dangerously down a path that reinforces gender-specific stereotypes and hinders learning down range. That being said, touching on some of the salient points that make men and women unique is worth investigating.
From an instructor’s perspective, new male shooters tend to learn better when introduced to a concept or technique by presenting the mechanics of the skill first and then putting that activity into context. Women tend to learn the same skill best when introduced to the context of when and why that particular skill is important and then taught the mechanics of putting it to use. The result is the same: the student learns both the action and the application, though from opposite perspectives. Both are fully capable of executing the skill set with precise fine and gross motor skills, regardless of gender, and put it to use when and where appropriate in the real world.
Male and female brains have a number of well-documented structural differences that illustrate how men and women process information. One major difference is in the grey and white matter of the brain and how the sexes use it all to process information. The female brain utilizes more white matter (the connective network that links the information and action processing centers of the brain) by a multiple of 10, and that may be why women are considered better at making social connections, observational connections and are better at multi-tasking than men. By contrast, men utilize seven times more gray matter (the information and action centers that are localized in different regions of the brain), which is largely why men are attributed with being good at task-focused activities, having tunnel vision or a “one-track mind.”
“Women often need to be taught how to tap into that aggressive and competitive part of themselves”
New firearm students offer the best opportunity to see these differences in action, especially in a high-stress environment like their first force-on-force class. Students often break down into two categories that display these brain behaviors without prejudice. Women can be observed as seeing and processing a wide range of critical information, yet they often hesitate to take specific action, while in a first-time force-on-force scenario men can be observed to identify one specific problem and focus intently on it missing other threats entirely. This isn’t to say that both aren’t guilty of making the same beginner mistakes, nor does it mean that these mistakes can’t be corrected with proper instruction.
Flipping the Chemical Switch
The male and female brain differ at a chemical level as well. Women produce more oxitocin and seratonin than men. These two chemicals are associated with an ability to be calmer and have more relationship and bonding behaviors. Men, on the other hand, produce more testosterone that is associated with varied levels of aggression and impulsiveness. Both men and women produce these neurochemicals, but to varying levels. The very nature of self- and home defense require a realistic preparation for an uncomfortable level of violence. Women are the largest growing demographic in the firearms community largely because of an interest in being able to protect themselves and the ones they love.
The fact that they are taking ownership and personal responsibility for their safety rather than deferring to their male counterparts for protection proves that they are capable of flipping the chemical switch to face violence head on. Not only are women making the retail investment of the gun and the gear, but they’re also investing in their continued education on how to use them in context with their lives.
“Mankind has proven time and again that such defining traits are not exclusive to either sex”
Joining a firing line with a dozen bearded, molle-covered, tactical hipsters is out of the question for most women new to shooting. Women generally prefer to begin their journey into the world of firearms by training with other women. This birds-of-a-feather model is successful in part because it appeals to a woman’s inclination towards social interaction and community.
Men represent the predominant student population of run-and-gun, tactical-ninja, and gun-camp courses. These courses are generally physically intense, mentally taxing, and speak directly to understanding violence and how to counter it in kind. This isn’t to say that women don’t also enjoy the athleticism and aggressive nature of shoot house, force-on-force or vehicle close-quarter battle training, but it is typically not their initial launching point for learning. While men are quick to act and apply aggression in a dynamic self-defense scenario, they often need to be taught how to slow down and take in the details so they can take appropriate action. Women, by contrast, often need to be taught how to tap into that aggressive and competitive part of themselves to apply that same action.
Mankind has proven time and again that such defining traits are not exclusive to either sex. We didn’t attain apex-predator status without a brain that made us adaptable problem-solvers. For all of the differences that have been observed between the male and female brain there is no evidence that one is more optimized for firearms use than the other. Having an understanding of these types of gender-specific tendencies helps instructors build curriculums and better communicate with students. A desire to learn and a commitment to personal development down range is the only differentiating factor between the Annie Oakleys, Frank Butlers and everyone else in the shooting world. The gun allows us a unique opportunity to meet at the firing line, cast off societal stereotypes and engage in friendly competition to prove just how alike we really are. AmSJ
Women produce more oxitocin and seratonin – two chemicals associated with the ability to be calmer and have more bonding behaviors – than men, while men produce more testosterone – which is associated with varied levels of aggression and impulsiveness – than women. Women generally prefer social groups and training with other women. National women’s groups have sprung up over the past decade such as The Well Armed Woman and A Girl With A Gun. Whitlock, Jody Chase, Christi Hissong, Lisa Kendrick and Joy Corrant.
Posted in Women and guns Tagged with: Firearms, guns, How women think, Mars vs Venus, Oxitocin, self defense, Seratonin, tactical, Tatiana Whitlock, Women and guns
I need to go to the Whitney next time I’m in NYC. It’s near one of the condos I plan on buying when I win the lottery and then shop for art at the museum haha (520 W 28th St.). I don’t know though, I might have to think about that one due to its proximity to the highline and that being a 365 day per year tourist attraction. ? I’ll save that pondering for another day though. Speaking of the Chelsea Market though, we had a quick bite at Very Fresh Noodles (which was very highly rated) and it was the most oily crap on the planet 1/10 would not eat again.
1:35 – The start of where the bullet splitting the playing card stuff is
6:45 – Ugh the sponsorship shill oh no baby what is you doing. He shouts out a internet mattress company. Come on dude you’re rich, I doubt you’re sleeping on a mattress like that. It’s about as believable as when celebrities are like “I use Pert Plus 92-in-1 shampoo, and I also brush my teeth with it.”. Holy he really goes all in on the mattress promotion.
Fail for not using the Juve song:
Thoughts? Don’t hate on my NYC condo residence goals… The lottery I plan on winning is hundreds of millions of dollars so I’ll buy condos all over the US and world. Maybe even an ENDO flop house that I let you guys stay at.
Posted in Fun Tagged with: bullet, guns, humor, playing card, Youtube
ENDO Apparel is the spot. Flags are also $25 right now, and hats are $19.
If you have a second to share with your buddies either online or offline, that would be much appreciated.
Thanks for everything! Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day long weekend. Sorry for the lack of posts recently, you know me though I’m just out here living my best life. I’ll try to post more soon!
Posted in Fun Tagged with: endo, guns
I need the gy6 diet and workout plan:
Who am I kidding, I’d probably take one look at the workout plan and break into a cheeto odored sweat. G6 Andrew knows about working out and filmmaking enough though to get his swole on immediately before he hits record, just so you get the maximum vein pop. He probably wouldn’t deny it, but he could try and I’d just be like “nah bro, it’s ok tho I’d do it too”.
I hadn’t seen a ballistic gel shot by tracer video before this one. I’m surprised, because it’s pretty cool. The best is when the round stops and just hovers in the gel shooting smoke and fire out like a cute lil rocket. ?
Posted in Fun Tagged with: ballistic gel, guns, gy6, Gy6vids, humor, tracer, Youtube
You guys are going to lose your minds over this:
It’s called FASHION sweeties ?, look it up. We out here NO BALLISTIC PLATES, NO GUN, NO MAGAZINES, NO ANYTHING… WE JUST LOOKING GOOD AND FEELING BETTER.
???? thoughts? I really hope tourniquets become a mainstream fashion statement, because (now here’s a spicy take… wait for it….) they already are a fashion statement for like 99% of the gun/tactical scene.
Gat tip: Richard
Posted in Fun Tagged with: chest rig, guns, humor, street style, Youtube
Moms doing 2nd Amendment mom stuff:
Sure why not. Beats watching DaNYo DeFeNSe’s weakass ads about nothing. No one is really putting out any worthwhile products or promoting anything interesting nowadays it seems. Is the industry in a slump? Are people even buying new AR-15s anymore? There has to be like 10 AR-15s for every gun owner in the US by now. I’m sure the AR-15 accessory market must be the hottest segment, if it’s even all that hot. Maybe the suppressor market is doing alright? Even that seems to be the same old shit with a different logo or assembly style with a slight db reduction difference.
The video reminded me of this:
Posted in Fun Tagged with: guns, humor, Noveske, Youtube
Larry Vuttion looking S V E L T E :
My man must be hitting the Pilates hard. He’s looking really good. Gotta get that summer Instagram beach body on point.
I’m patiently waiting on a sequel to the legendary “Why I’m Fat” video called “Why I dropped 80lbs, look 25 years younger, and stole your girl”.
As far as the Colt Canada IUR, looks alright I guess. *Shrug* it’s an AR-15, and it works… I didn’t fall off my chair or anything when I saw him fire it.
3:18 – You gotta stick around for the Submariner shaking. Someone needs do start a “Rolexes In Slow Motion” channel… I’d subscribe.
Do you think LAV still uses that Crisco lubricant, or is it one of those “fool me once, shame on you” type situations? Who needs a shitty sponsor like that though, when you can promote your own incredible books which basically sell themselves? Amirite fellas?
Posted in Fun Tagged with: guns, humor, Larry Vickers, Youtube