I think considerations of ettiquete (i.e., “a gentleman never strikes a lady”) fall to the side in cases of defense of self or others. I used to be a public defender. Despite the public perception, I saw cases of domestic abuse in which the wife or girlfriend was in fact the abuser, inflicting serious injury on the husband or boyfriend. It happens, and the victim has every right to defend himself.
Watch your mouth! I am anti-feminist, thank you very much.
It’s not so much an anti-chivalry sentiment that makes me say that it’s appropriate to hit women in the same instances that it’s appropriate to hit men, it’s more of an anti-violence sentiment.
To answer your new question, I can’t think of a situation that would require hitting a man and not a woman. Well, since women are in general not as physically strong as men, it’s probably more likely that that kind of violence would be necessary against a man than against a woman. But I would make no distinction between an average-sized man and a woman who was as big and strong as an average-sized man. I would only hit either of them if I had to, but if I had to, I would.
When I was in high school, I had an argument with a friend of mine who happened to be male. We were in our American Government Class. He said something awful to me; I slugged his arm. He turned around, and without hesitation slugged me much harder and with more anger in my arm. The bruise lastest for a week or so. Even worse, I got in trouble with the teacher, even though all she saw was him hitting me. My brother, my friends, his friends (even his best friend) were so angry with him –not because we were in a fight, per se, but because he hit me, and I was a girl. Now, if he had hit me with the same silly slap that I had hit him with, I don’t think it would have mattered so much. But the kid made me cry, it hurt so much. So…was he in his right because I had hit him? Or should he have restrained because I was a girl? Or perhaps he could have just not been so angry when he hit me? Yeah, who knows.
I would like my boys, however, to learn NOT to hit girls.
It is clear from the responses that this question is not as awkward as previous ones from the series. When I first read the question I thought it was “is it ever okay to hit on a female?” which I think might have been more controversial.
Sure it is (rarely) acceptable to hit a female–in situations entailing defense of self or others, as Nick properly said.
I remember once when I was a teenager working as a bagboy. I’m bagging groceries, and this woman starts just wailing on my female assistant manager, about three aisles over. (She apparently was furious about something and snapped.) I just froze; it was so out of context, my brain just couldn’t react fast enough. My manager was a little bit annoyed that I hadn’t rushed over immediately to her defense, as was I. If my synapses had been working properly, I wouldn’t have had to hit her; from my angle, I could have easily contained her with a full nelson. But if the situation had been slightly different, I could have been in a position where it was necessary for me to punch the assailant to protect an innocent victim.
I think there have men who wanted to hit me, but didn’t because I’m a girl. I think if you were a soldier in Iraq and a woman came up to shoot you, it would be okay. Each situation is different, but sometimes even a woman deserves a good bust in the mouth.
I told people that Bill had beat me up when I had a big bruise on my face from dental surgery. Only one person believed it and he was traumatized at the thought of Bill hitting someone, especially his wife.
But, boy, I know he’s sure wanted to. And I probably deserved that good bust in the mouth I spoke of earlier.
I think a woman can hit another woman if she deserves it, but a man shouldn’t hit a woman even if she deserves it unless his life is in danger. It’s a double standard. Makes not being able to hold the priesthood bearable, though.
I worry that one of these days I’ll lose my temper and smack somebody and have to go to jail. Send me cigarettes so I won’t have to trade sexual favors for food.
There’s this one girl I know that I hit just about every week. Usually it’s a strike to the solar plexus or the kidneys, where it does plenty of damage. Oh, or to the face or neck–those are good targets too. And then I throw her to the ground and do some kind of submission or finish. We’re both in the BYU jujitsu club, and since there are only two or three members who show up on a weekly basis, we usually end up practicing together.
But yeah, I’d definitely say that as a general rule, it’s not ok to hit a girl. In fact, I’ve learned quite a bit with her as my sparring partner. Mostly, I’ve learned how to control my attacks and be aware of everything I’m doing. It really makes me feel bad when I miscalculate and end up making hard contact (when we punch, we try to control our punches so that they stop before making contact. Hard to do when you’re also trying to extend yourself, mentally and physically). She’s a lot smaller than me, so it can be very hard not to use excessive force. Besides that, she’s more experienced than me, and she can be quite good at strikes and throws!
To answer the question, I wouldn’t dare hit a girl, even if she were attacking me. The only way I’d do it was if she were attacking me (or someone else) with a weapon, like a knife or club, or if she were attacking me (or someone else) and doing some significant damage. Even then, I’d much rather use some jujitsu, which really is more about throws and holds, than use strikes or punches. And I definitely wouldn’t attack her full out if I could avoid it. I’d only disable her, without causing permanent damage.
Thanks to BYU jujitsu, I just might have developed the control to allow me to do that.
“I think a woman can hit another woman if she deserves it, but a man shouldn’t hit a woman even if she deserves it unless his life is in danger.”
I just can’t agree, annegb. My former wife relied on the “rule” that a man should never hit a woman. She relied on it so much that she decided it would be a really good idea to start hitting and slapping me. While I’m not proud of it, I finally slapped her back one day. You’d have thought another 9/11 attack had taken place, from her shocked reaction. I can’t say it stopped her behavior, but it certainly slowed her down a bit.
When is it ever okay to hit anyone? The self-defense answer makes this question decidedly un-awkward. Sounds like Rusty lost his nerve for controversy after the firestorm over his last truly awkward question :)
I still remember the tackle in the snow at Youth Conference, back in the mid-80′s. She was carrying the ball on a sweep around right end, I dodged the blocker and hit her about waist-high with my shoulder. Down she went in a pile of powdery snow, and then we both got up, laughed, went back to the line of scrimmage, and ran the next play.
And see, Tom, I don’t find that chauvanistic, but respectful. I call myself a feminist, and yet the idea of applying different rules of physical force to the genders is quite appealing to me. Perhaps it’s because of my narrative above, or could it be I would benefit from such logic? Who knows…
I don’t think it is right to hit a woman- in almost any situation for any reason. If she is attacking you in any way you can restrain her but you shouldn’t hit her. Of course there are certain circumstances where there are exceptions. For example, if she is hitting you while you are driving and you obviously can’t restrain or stop her, sure, you might have to fight back till you pull the car over to safety. By all means a woman should not hit a man either, though. It all comes down to respect, safety of self and others, and individual agency. (Not necessarily in that order). To be brief, anyways…
I probably wouldn’t hit a female under any remotely normal circumstance, but I don’t think I would hit anyone under a remotely normal circumstance.
On the other hand, I used to teach martial arts, and I’ve sparred with females before. But that isn’t really hitting with intent to injure.
I’m also an infantryman in the National Guard, but I’ve never had to use physical force on anyone in my military job. I think I probably would hesitate a lot longer before using force against a female than I would against a male.