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Old 05-12-2008, 07:07 PM   #30
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Location: San Diego CA USA
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 561
Re: Starting an all-women's class

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I'm quite a bit smaller than a number of the women that I train with (I average around 125 pounds), and I often train with people more than twice my size.
Hi Chris-
It is good that you are not intimidated by others because of your size. However, if overcoming intimidation were that simple for everyone, in all situations, we would not be having this discussion.

But in fact, we live in a world where men in general are free to do as they please, whereas women are at this point in history part of a living movement to struggle towards equality. Jennifer Smith was right-- it is always difficult to get into this argument, and like others in this thread, I didn't want to, but then I thought there is a remote chance that me piping up might affect you in some way because I am not female myself.

Although there are MANY motivations ("justifications" if that is how you must see it) to do this sort of class, let me just mention one in an attempt to make this point of view valid for you.
One in 3 women (statistically would include lots of people you know.. and it is assumed to be on the low side of accurate) in the US are estimated to have been sexually abused. You might have guessed it, it is usually done by a man. This has a lot of effects on one's life, including an aversion to putting yourself in situations where you will go and be one of very few women, or the ONLY woman, to get grabbed and thrown by a bunch of men who know what they are doing and are very confident and often a little aggressive. But you can see that aikido might ultimately be good for you.. even though at first it would seem so unattractive that you probably would pass by a dojo without ever even thinking about the possibility of becoming a member.

So, you can see that such an outreach/transition class would not only be a reasonable thing to do for the dojo's enrollment, for the women in question, and for society at large, but it would in fact be the RIGHT thing to do.

Now of course this is an extreme example of how quite a few women are not on equal footing with men regarding confidence issues in and out of the dojo. Although it is an extreme example, it is in fact an illustration of something that is not specific to sexual abuse against women:

The emotional reaction to being excluded by a group that has power or apparent power over you can cause one to become discouraged. You may debate if sexism against women is present, but please consider that it is likely to be real and active in a world where men enjoy more high power positions and higher pay, in a world where female dojo enrollment is decremented at dojos that don't actively seek women, and in a world where women must every day be vigilant of the very real threat of sexual violence against them.

Do you think any of us have a point, or does it still seem like blind sexism to have a women's outreach beginner class?
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