To all the women who've had to fight
December 3, 2016 3:21 AM   Subscribe

"With "Fight," Magnets put her finger on the pulse of the feminist revenge fantasy"

"There's as much to be learned from watching women win as there is to be learned from realizing that we, the viewers, might have been expecting them to lose."

Magnets is the stage name of Melbourne singer songwriter and audiologist Siobhan McGinnity. McGinnity is also the founder of the non-profit Musicians 4 Hearing.
posted by misfish (49 comments total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
 
A stand up and cheer video.
posted by james33 at 3:39 AM on December 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I haven't been as provoked since Nike's 1995 Me Play.
Far too late then, far too long ago...
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:05 AM on December 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


Most excellent - thank you.
posted by jammy at 4:25 AM on December 3, 2016


whoa. I never realised how menacing elevators are.
posted by dhruva at 5:45 AM on December 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


whoa. I never realised how menacing elevators are.
Spoken like a true guy.

The video is awesome. Speaks to my deep love of Buffy. And Supergirl

ALIEN: It's nothing personal. It's just every species has a will to survive.
ALEX: You know what most species also have? [knees him in the nuts]. Those.
posted by pjsky at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


I wasn't prepared for the visceral burst of rage this video produced. I knew I was angry about the election and the decades of other crap you live with if you're a woman, but I didn't realize how angry. Like face twisted into sneer, gut in knots, strong desire to kick the ever-loving shit out of something angry. Probably time to channel it.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


Like most guys, I have a physical fremdschämen moment whenever I see another guy get it in the 'nads. However, in all the video, none of the clips elicited that response. For me, the lack of sympathetic response was notable in its absence - I had absolutely no sympathy for these dudes.

My second thought was, "Christ, who *does* that kind of shit?"
posted by notsnot at 6:55 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


(and yes, I know how naive that sounds, and is. That's the point.)
posted by notsnot at 6:56 AM on December 3, 2016


Sexual abuse is so normalized, and female vengance and escape is so rare, that I simply could not fathom that humanity would be allowed an entire video in which every single woman wins the day.

Yes, exactly. My optimism has been badly dented by this year and, given Trump, my belief that violence against women will be ever punished as it should be has been especially damaged. This was a great corrective to that despair. I loved it.
posted by Aravis76 at 7:13 AM on December 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


"Lovers of feminist revenge films, this one's for you."

I don't think this is about revenge, at least, not what's in the clips. It's more about self-defense and survival.

Revenge perpetuates conflict and strife, and casting a woman's standing up for herself as revenge almost makes it sound like she had the option of just accepting what was happening. Or that she should take the higher ground (and get "fucked up another day").

Between this and Thursday's Camp Cope video, I have two new bands to obsess over. Thanks Obama Metafilter!
posted by Gorgik at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2016 [29 favorites]


Yes, I also thought "revenge fantasy" was the wrong way of framing this. 1) Because what is happening is self-defence and 2) because all the found footage, as I understand it, is real. The video is not about a fantasy or revenge; it's a celebration of real justice, real women acting to protect themselves. Did I mention how much I needed to see that?
posted by Aravis76 at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2016 [27 favorites]


This reminds me that there's a women's self-defense class in my area that I've been meaning to go to for 2 years, and still haven't...
posted by bunderful at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2016


All the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.

> The video is not about a fantasy or revenge;

It is for me, and likely for many others of us watching this, who have never been able for whatever reason to fight back against men who have hurt us and the women we love.
posted by rtha at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2016 [10 favorites]


Thank you so, so much for posting this.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:47 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


thanks for posting this, it's important to share, i think.

I'll echo people's concern about framing this as "revenge" rather than "defense" when the women are shown actively leaving the scene in each of the found videos.

It's easier to imagine the end of the world, rather than the end of capitalism.
Is it easier to imagine another rape scene than a successful defense?
posted by eustatic at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


in light of the Thing That Happened last month, a friend is organizing a self defense workshop for women (which I look forward to attending). this video is so powerful because it shows that a woman who has some training can defend herself successfully: in an enclosed space, against more than one assailant. I feel fired up!! I love seeing those little girls be unabashedly strong!!!!

re 'revenge' vs 'defense' these are all clearly instances of defense because once the assailants are down its over. no final kick in the head just because, which would be tempting if not justified. but that is not whats happening here. these women are standing up for themselves. my heart swells!
posted by supermedusa at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's not revenge or fantasy on the part of the women on these videos. It is defense, without question.

My revenge fantasy, as a viewer, is that I could go back in time and do what these women do, to the men who hurt me and the women I love. Can y'all see that?

And it's not even revenge against the individual men who did these kinds of things, but revenge (and defense, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive) against a system that allows and normalizes it.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on December 3, 2016 [27 favorites]


I am all in favor of feminist revenge fantasy videos right now.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:47 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re the whole 'revenge fantasy' framing.

I'm a dude. I've never felt anxious in a lift. I've never had to defend myself against a sexual assault, and I likely never will.

I knew nothing about this video before I watched it. And I was shouting YES KICK HIM AGAIN! AGAIN! Because fuck these guys, the cultures that allow them to persist. So it's a revenge fantasy for me too.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:36 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I watched the early parts of the clips with a sinking feeling in my stomach, worried that it was going to be a grim call to action with images of victimization interspersed with the karate training videos. I was so, so happy when it turned out the other way. The woman in the headscarf in the elevator, in particular, was like some kind of superhero.
posted by Scattercat at 7:01 PM on December 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is fantastic. Perfect blend of sound and vision.

Where did the "jilted would-be lover" get kicked? Throat?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:48 PM on December 3, 2016


Yes, the woman in the headscarf was seriously badassed.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:51 PM on December 3, 2016


> Where did the "jilted would-be lover" get kicked? Throat?

Maybe - or gut? Hard to tell. It looks like he's already leaning forward a little as her foot comes up, so maybe she was aiming for his groin, but caught him higher because he leaned in and down (maybe he was trying to kind of jump back or something).
posted by rtha at 7:56 PM on December 3, 2016


> Where did the "jilted would-be lover" get kicked? Throat?

Maybe - or gut? Hard to tell. It looks like he's already leaning forward a little as her foot comes up, so maybe she was aiming for his groin, but caught him higher because he leaned in and down (maybe he was trying to kind of jump back or something).

He at no point tries to jump back. In that segment's third scene, two other women have appeared and the scene begins just as the man has tried to shout/threaten/motion them away. The discipline of the women is exemplary in that they maintain a safe distance and verbally intervene. When the man turns to the woman on the right, his motion is forward and deliberate with two distinct advances/shifts, the second one involving the extension of his arms.

I interpret some of the man's motions as indicative of a lethargy or inebriation preceding the confrontation of bystanders that produces some adrenalin.

The woman's kick to the man's midsection is practiced and likely precise. She may have been fortunate to have struck his solar plexus, a nerve center-- his staggered attempts to recover would indicate it, but so would have a kick to the scrotum.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:44 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


> He at no point tries to jump back.

I watched that section a bunch of times and the closest interpretation I came to (given the limits of play-pause on youtube) was that he...not jumped back, exactly, that was poor wording on my part - but that his chest is forward but his hips are back, even as he's moving towards the woman who then kicks him. I could be completely wrong about what he's doing or why.
posted by rtha at 9:46 PM on December 3, 2016


I'm not sure why, but this made me cry.
posted by bq at 9:52 PM on December 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


He at no point tries to jump back.

He's probably going for an overbearing grapple attack. Her roundhouse kick is so perfect it seems contemptuous.

The headscarf woman's fight benefits from repeated viewing at quarter-speed. Holy shit.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, I captured that video and will be showing it to classes along with the video I linked above. I can't define an overbearing grapple attack, but the bystander has successfully distracted his focus and is prepared for his assault. I just felt it was important to contend any phrasing that suggests he had time to react to her kick, or that he was backing away, which I'd term as simply a front kick (not roundhouse). I wish audio were available because the bystanders are deliberate and strategic in their approach. By what terms they defied and shouted would be interesting to know. When he moves toward her, she doesn't flinch or take a step back.

What struck me about that segment and the elevator was the extraordinary resolve and calm the women possess. Unlike the hallway theft that has all the hallmarks of frenzied, adrenaline-filled reaction, they collectedly walk away. And I wholly agree about the elevator segment: Jason Bournesque.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 11:02 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cathartic. Not revenge, catharsis. Because this is nothing but defending the only thing that is truly ours, our own damn selves.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:24 AM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Overbearing grapple attack" is a fancy way to say "bear hug." And I also thought it was a front kick until I slowed it down, and it's clear that she pivots into a low roundhouse that catches him in the throat.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:37 AM on December 4, 2016


and it's clear that she pivots into a low roundhouse that catches him in the throat.

Yeah, I see terming the kick as a low roundhouse, but can't agree where her blow lands is "clear" and, going frame by frame, contend the kick lands in his mid-section.

As she pivots, her arms indicate training.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 7:10 AM on December 4, 2016


A few comments mentioned surprise at how scary elevators can be. That was in fact the basis for "Elevatorgate" where there was a Gamergate-like reaction to Rebecca Watson mentioning it in passing in one of her video blogs.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 8:21 AM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


can't agree where her blow lands is "clear"

Heh. I think we can agree that her blow lands with great effect.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2016




Krav Maga Girl has a great explanation at the start of this video about why elevators are so scary: https://youtu.be/88lW1sSDPgc

Then she kicks the arse of elevator attacker, followed by breakdown of how she did it.

Also, loved, loved the little girl at the start of 'Fight': Mummy not every girl wants to be a little princess. Say it sister.
posted by t0astie at 1:44 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


White male here. Came to the video expecting kick-ass women getting the better of clueless men. Was not disappointed.
posted by lhauser at 5:14 PM on December 4, 2016


I get the point but all these videos look staged. If I were a woman I'd carry a gun or at least pepper spray. a woman walking through society is like a hiker in bear country...
posted by judson at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2016


"If I were a woman I'd carry a gun or at least pepper spray, a woman walking through society is like a hiker in bear country..."

I'm sure you mean well, but this seems a dangerous, simplistic, and - frankly - offensive suggestion.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


"I'm sure you mean well, but this seems a dangerous, simplistic, and - frankly - offensive suggestion." The encounters are dangerous regardless of how you defend yourself. How is it offensive? Because you are anti-gun?
posted by judson at 10:19 AM on December 5, 2016


A weapon can be taken and turned on you, and an assault you might have escaped or at least lived through becomes inevitable and potentially fatal. And suggesting women are responsible for arming themselves against attackers (1) devalues the work the women in this video have clearly invested in learning to defend themselves without weapons and (2) elides the larger need to teach respect for women's autonomy, so no one feels entitled to attack them in the first place.

It is also contradictory (and yes, a little offensive) to argue on the one hand that women should all arm themselves as though they are "hiker[s] in bear country" and then claim that all those videos of thwarted assaults "look staged." If women in public are hikers in bear country, it's inevitable that some percentage of attempted maulings will be caught on video.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:02 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I hold men accountable first and foremost. That a woman has to defend themselves at all is the real absurdity. My point is that every violent encounter is potentially life threatening. Best even the odds if you feel threatened, male or female. I don't carry a gun around and I hope I never have to. And I can't say what I would do as a woman. Self defense courses may be valuable but a weapon and training would also be valuable. I have woman relatives that have had this training.
posted by judson at 12:49 PM on December 5, 2016


And I can't say what I would do as a woman.

stop there next time.
posted by twist my arm at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


I get the point but all these videos look staged.

"It's ridiculous to suggest that women could ever defend themselves".

If I were a woman I'd carry a gun or at least pepper spray.

"Why don't women defend themselves? Obviously, I, who have never had to defend myself, know how they should do it."

a woman walking through society is like a hiker in bear country...

"How could they be so irresponsible? They went outside. Men are outside. Everyone knows all men are wild animals who cannot be held accountable for their own actions".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:52 PM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


My point is that every violent encounter is potentially life threatening. Best even the odds if you feel threatened

I think I understand where we're missing each other. My read of your phrasing here is that some women will be attacked as they were in those videos, and that the best protection against such attacks is to go around armed. This sounds like an assumption that women only feel threatened once an attack is obviously imminent or has begun, but that's generally not the case.

Martial artist and writer Susan Schorn articulates the problem with recommending weapons for self-defense better than I can, including the ways self-defense, especially for women, begins long before assaults are initiated or weapons drawn. If you're interested in understanding why guns or pepper spray don't automatically seem like viable answers to the problem of living under threat for being a woman, I highly recommend reading her columns.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had a discussion with my husband the other night, about visiting the US. We're from Australia, land of gun control (he, unlike me, has handled weapons though). He has no desire to visit the US until there is some kind of gun control. Our best friend lives there, my best friends live there, my career takes me there for conferences at least, if not longer work.

His rationale was that he cannot fathom the fear of living around weaponry like guns being deployed so often and so randomly and without sense. Like, get in a car crash here and you might get beaten, maybe to death, but you are vanishingly unlikely to be shot while sitting there minding your own business.

As he is going down his litany of fears for being in the US around guns, around a culture that accepts gun violence as readily as ours accepts bodily violence, I mused for a moment and finally blurted out "you know I feel like that every goddamn moment right? So when I went to the US it was just a brand new way men might hurt or murder me or assault me?". He was quiet for a moment and then said "Can you understand how I don't ever want to experience that, and I can avoid it?".

That, my friend, is why having a weapon doesn't make a fucking difference to me. I am 5'4", I am half-crippled, i am blind without my glasses. Getting away from the men who have tried to hurt me has been as much about conversational judo as the physical kind, has been as much about taking different routes and knowing where the exit is and never having my back to the room. As I get older I am relishing the not giving a fuck either. If you're sad I cross the road and now you feel bad because maybe I think you're a rapist, I am not putting my body on the line for your feelings anymore mate. It's having my phone in my hand and watching men and being exhausted because as much as I am the person who didn't see a three metre tall inflatable t-rex, I sure as shit knew that guy was following me around the library. My proprioception, my situational awareness, is all devoted to keeping safe. Weapons don't help me here, except for the one in my head where I know now, thanks to terrible hard won experience, that I need to be able to drop my feelings like a coat and injure someone I thought was a friend in order to keep myself safe.

That has its own problems but that one is less likely to be taken out of my purse and used by a toddler, or turned on me by someone intent on assaulting me.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:04 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


The woman's kick to the man's midsection is practiced and likely precise. She may have been fortunate to have struck his solar plexus, a nerve center-- his staggered attempts to recover would indicate it, but so would have a kick to the scrotum.

Funny that, since she is a Taekwondo champion...
posted by geek anachronism at 5:23 PM on December 5, 2016


I'm definitely not 'anti-gun'. I am anti 'gun as simplistic self-defense panacea', however. Besides the points made above, suggesting that going armed with a gun will protect you pretty much ignores all the training required to use a gun safely, reasonably, and successfully in a difficult environment where you may be encountering multiple attackers and multiple noncombatants. Some jurisdictions prohibit guns in bars, some private property locations prohibit guns, so there's the plain old logistical issue of actually carrying the gun legally. There are huge risks involved in escalation of conflict, and if your attackers are bigger and more experienced in unarmed combat, there's a very high risk that you're introducing a gun into a situation so that it can be taken away and used on you. And the justice system is often not very sympathetic towards women who shoot attackers, so it could turn into a very expensive legal battle.

Of course, for all we know, any of those women could've been armed and just not escalated to firearms because they were able to resolve a situation effectively without guns.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:31 PM on December 5, 2016


It's great that the YouTube video description includes links to the found footage videos themselves!

(In case nonfiction is not enough: fanvids of fictional women being badasses while fighting include "Anaconda" and "Weapon of Choice".)
posted by brainwane at 5:53 AM on December 8, 2016


I am so particularly pleased to see the video of the headscarf-wearing woman fighting off those attackers. Three days ago, in my city, a man attacked a Muslim transit worker and pushed her down the stairs. This is only one of a rash of anti-Muslim hate attacks in New York City recently, many of them aimed at hijab-wearing women. Another one included men trying to pull off a woman's hijab; bystanders did nothing. Five days ago a man threatened and castigated an off-duty cop, a hijab-wearing woman -- a cop who in 2014 heroically "rushed into a burning building to save an elderly woman and a baby", according to the news article. So I'm particularly loving right now any real-life stories in which attacks on Muslim women are thwarted!

Also, speaking of feminist defense/revenge narratives, I'm trying to get my hands on Naomi Alderman's new book The Power. As Alderman describes it: "In the novel, very suddenly almost all the women in the world develop the power to electrocute people at will. Anything from a tiny tingle all the way to full electro-death."
posted by brainwane at 6:18 AM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


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