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She walks softly but she carries a big gun

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Do you remember Tank Girl? In the 90s the comic, and subsequent movie, was to me the epitome of riot grrrl culture. The comic is centered on the eponymous outlaw female character, driving and living in a tank. Punk rock, feminist and absurd, Tank Girl was a force to be reckoned with.

The 1995 soundtrack to the movie featured Bjork and Portishead, and it also featured riot grrrl bands L7—known for antics like removing tampons onstage—and Hole. Courtney Love’s rivalry with Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna was notorious at the time. It was all very, tough empowered women kicking ass. I know because the movement fascinated me. Through it I came to understand the role of women within society in a very different way. We could have loud voices and not give a damn if anyone was offended.

Tank Girl was armed and ready for action… really, any kind of action. She could and would drop a dude. And yet the fact that she was armed never seemed to register with me. At least not like that. I viewed her as a metaphor for female badassery not to be taken too literally.

But, metaphors aside, imagine a modern-day Tank Girl carrying on your college campus. Only, imagine her more young, more hot and more deadly. Because according to Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”

Yes, you read that right. Ms. Fiore was quoted in this piece published in The New York Times today.

I could go on and list all of the ways in which arming young people on campuses across the country could and most likely would go horribly wrong. I could paint pictures of drunken dorm room assaults turned very instantly and irrevocably deadly. I could illustrate instances of extremely moronic and unacceptable torrid stupidity culminating in the finality of a trigger pull. And maybe we as women would feel avenged.

Nice try, gun lobby. But just maybe? That’s not the way all women want to feel avenged. It’s a privilege for me to be a woman. I can bear children, raise a family, survive abuse, destroy a glass ceiling and devour any obstacle in my way, and despite it all keep alive my vulnerability. I don’t need a gun to be that strong and powerful. It’s already in me.

Alyssa YeagerComment