Millions watched as Miss Nevada was crowned Miss USA Sunday evening. It isn’t out of the ordinary for beauty pageants to stir up controversy across the nation, and Miss USA Nia Sanchez now finds herself at the center of a “war on women.”
During the question portion of Miss USA, Miss Nevada answered a question regarding sexual assault. Miss Nevada, a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo, suggested that learning self defense is a good way to combat it. In her answer, Miss Nevada said:
“I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don’t want that to come out into the public. But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.”
After Sanchez suggested that self-defense is the best way for women to protect themselves against sexual assault, the Twittersphere went crazy, with HuffPo’s associate editor Mandy Velez leading the charge.
Let’s hope Nevada uses her media tour to reiterate that teaching girls self defense is NOT the best way to protect against assault #MissUSA
Elisa Benson, senior community manager of Cosmopolitan, also chimed in on Twitter:
I get that the college sexual assault problem can’t be solved in 30 secs but still icky to pretend like self defense is the answer. #MissUSA
Wait a minute: doesn’t the idea of being able to defend ourselves as women help empower us? Isn’t this the whole point of the feminist movement?
Though Sanchez’s comments generated criticism from many high-profile women, not everyone on Twitter was bashing Miss USA.
Dana Loesch, a popular radio talk show host, tweeted her sense of confusion:
So wait — now it’s “unfeminist” to defend yourself if attacked? Jesus take the wheel. #missusa
The message that many of Sanchez’s opponents are sending is that sexual assault on college campuses is better solved by simply telling men “not to rape” women instead of teaching women how to fight back if they are attacked. If telling men “rape is wrong” was the answer to sexual assault, why is there such a so called epidemic on college campuses? You can’t claim there is nationwide epidemic of sexual assault while also claiming that commanding men not to rape women is working to bring those stats down.
There is clearly a flaw in the philosophy. Honestly, there is no clear answer to stopping rape, murder, assault, suicide, mass shootings, etc. We live in a broken world. There aren’t easy fixes to the problem, but allowing people to be victims is not the answer. Contrary to the feminist movement, women aren’t born victims. As a woman, I refuse to let myself believe that I’m a victim to a male dominated society.
Perhaps, we need to re-educate both women and men.
Katie Pavlich, News Editor of TownHall suggests:
…Let’s keep teaching everyone that rape is barbaric while also teaching women about self-defense should they find themselves in a bad situation. We can and should do both.
Modern feminism can’t survive without victims so naturally, preventing victimhood through self-defense is unacceptable. Telling women they don’t need self-defense to prevent rape is exactly what moves “rape-culture” forward.
Bottom line: We shouldn’t shake our fists at or complain about men on social media. We SHOULD start raising boys and girls who turn into respectable young men and women. We need REAL education about these situations. Fathers, teach your sons to respect women. Teach them that “no” means “no.” Mothers, teach your daughters self-respect and explain how they can avoid putting themselves in risky situations. There is no circumstance in which rape or assault of any kind is okay, and both boys and girls need to know this. Playing the blame game isn’t helping.