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When Definitions Become Twisted And Terms Are Hijacked

When Definitions Become Twisted And Terms Are Hijacked

Photo credit: Photo by Michael Ives

I am a feminist, and I believe in gun safety.

It’s such a simple statement, but one that likely causes an emotional response because of two terms—“feminist” and “gun safety.”  

By definition, a feminist is a person who advocates social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men. I believe in the power of women and the true meaning of feminism. Thanks to pioneering feminists, women do have the right to vote, along with the right to speak, believe and love. When Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton rallied in my hometown of Seneca Falls, N.Y., their goal was women’s suffrage. Through their hard work and feminist ideals, we achieved it. 

As we fast-forward nearly a century, we see in the news and on the television screen how feminism and its true meaning has been stolen. The cry for awareness of valid women’s concerns has been lost and muddled in attempts to shock and awe. For the self-proclaimed “nasty feminist,” one must only believe in their version of feminism. To them, support of their opinions about what is right for women, spiritually and physically, is required of us all. They believe a woman must have the right to choose, except when it comes to protecting herself with the great equalizer—a firearm.

For these “nasty women,” hypocrisy and emotions reign. Unlike Susan B. Anthony—who said, “I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand,”—the nasty collective demands equality, but considers self-protection to be blasphemy. They believe a woman must have the right to choose, except when it comes to protecting herself with the great equalizer—a firearm. 

The term “gun safety,” or as many gun owners prefer, “firearm safety,” has been hijacked as well. Real gun safety refers to specific rules that help prevent accidents. Treating all guns as if they are loaded, never pointing them at anything we do not wish to destroy, having good trigger discipline by keeping our finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and always knowing our target and what is beyond it helps keep us, and those around us, safe.

Gun safety is not, however, gun control. Gun safety is not a gun registry. Gun safety is not magazine limits, gun bans or gun-free zones. Real gun safety is about practicing specific, proven safety rules when handling firearms. 

I was recently asked on social media about my thoughts on using terms like “feminism,” “gun safety” or even “assault rifle.” Do we use these words after they have been hijacked by anti-gun groups, or should we abandon them? Unlike the thieves who twist these terms to their benefit, we should strive to use them accurately. 

Unlike the thieves who twist these terms to their benefit, we should strive to use them accurately. The media’s overused term “assault rifle” hasn’t just been hijacked; it was made up entirely. It can be cited as fictitious and inaccurate. For “feminism” and “gun safety,” on the other hand, a bit of clarification can help rescue these stolen words. An example is how I restructure my opening statement. 

I believe in the feminist ideals of social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to men, and I believe in practicing real gun safety with proven rules for handling firearms that prevent accidents and injury. 

Let’s not shy away from fact to cater to those who have no respect for the true and well-established meanings of important words and phrases. Preserve the real definitions and ideas founded in history by using them correctly. And unlike those who have hijacked them, use them justly.

Julie Golob is a U.S. Army veteran, NRA mom, competitive shooter and captain of Team Smith & Wesson.