Self-defense classes, particularly those involving training women to use handguns, often help to provide women the sense of self-worth necessary for them to feel equals in civil society. See Martha McCaughey, Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense (N.Y. Univ. Press 1997). Women who take such classes no longer see themselves as powerless potential victims, but as individuals who may demand that their rights be respected. There is some evidence that men recognize this transformation and alter their conduct toward those women. As one study noted, “[t]he knowledge that one can defend oneself – and that the self is valuable enough to merit defending – changes everything.” Jocelyn A. Hollander, “I Can Take Care of Myself”: The Impact of Self-Defense Training on Women’s Lives, 10 Violence Against Women 205, at 226-227 (2004). Therefore, even if women are never placed in a position to defend themselves with a firearm or their own bodies, there are less material but no less compelling justifications for allowing them that ability. E.g., Mary Zeiss Stange, From Domestic Terrorism to Armed Revolution: Women’s Right to Self-Defense as an Essential Human Right, 2 J. L. Econ. & Pol’y 385-391 (2006).
M. Carol Bambery
Brief of amicae curiae 126 women state legislators and academics in support of respondent in D.C. versus Heller.