Letter Re: The Female Side of Surviving

Jim et al,
Having seen [the movie] ‘300‘ this last weekend and the cable documentaries about the Spartans, one particular concept stood out. Debates about the culture, the movie, and such aside, I was stuck by the idea that to raise strong and capable men that it was essential that they be born of strong, independent and capable women. Elite Spartan women had a level of freedom that was nearly unprecedented in the ancient world and as young girls went through much of the same training as the boys.

This is not generally the case today. As I’ve been learning about preparedness and exploring the resources on the Internet, I find there are very few women who are actively involved. When they are, they seem to either being only interested in household/cooking/supplies management, or come from the occasional family that goes counter to this trend. I am a firm believer in a well-rounded skill set and I live with a husband that has little interest in preparedness. (Thus the initiative is on my shoulders). I know how to cook from scratch, the basics of food storage, how to do just about any fiber-art and can cure most common ailments with plants growing in my local environment.

What I’m looking for now is where can I learn skills that are not as typical for my gender role, without having to suffer an undue amount of harassment? What would you suggest for someone to go from having never touched a firearm in their life to being survival-proficient? What about basic mechanics, auto repair, wood working, building, and more? Has anyone really looked into the gender issues of preparedness and survival, especially long-term, and who’s writing might you suggest? Sincerely, – Lily in Minnesota

JWR Replies: The firearms training at Front Sight is excellent and women students don’t feel intimidated there–whether travelling alone or with their spouse. There is no macho posturing or belittling there. If you are on a budget, don’t overlook the very inexpensive rifle training offered at the RWVA Appleseed Shoots. As for learning car mechanics/repair, wood working, house building, and so forth, you might make some inquiries locally about barter. In recent years, many small communities in the U.S. have introduced local currencies–essentially a tangible form of barter credits.