Question of the Day: “Ladies of the Knife?”

Ladies of the Knife

I am not implying that we are all a bunch of OFWGs, but there seems to be a common back-story between our frequent commenters and myself.  The story is some variation on this theme…most of us got our first knife from a family member, be it grandpa, dad, or even mom. It was a rite of passage. We used it in Scouts or on family camping trips, carried it until it wore a hole in our pocket, and have likely done the same with any number of subsequent blades over the years.

We all also seem to be exclusively male. Even without empirical data to back it up, I feel safe in saying that men EDC a knife more frequently than women. Some of that is simple practicality, we have better pockets. As a general rule we perform more manual tasks at work or around the home. Gender roles have shifted certainly, but men are still more likely to do the heavy lifting. (90% of workplace deaths are men according to economist Thomas Sowell). And the anthropologist in me can’t overlook the rite of passage aspect of knives and weapons that transcends cultures and epochs.

But that is not to say that there are no “Ladies of the Knife”. Many fine Chefs are women, as well as plenty of home cooks. There are female surgeons, Girl Scout leaders, and retail workers who break down boxes. There are plenty of women who have a knife of some sort in their purse or on their person for any number of the same reasons that men do.

This YouTube video shows food journalist Camas Davis butchering the midsection of a pig. It is the first of 3 installments of her breaking down a half pig.  They are extremely thorough and well made. Definitely worth a watch.

So I have a few questions for TTAK readers today…

First for any “Ladies of the Knife”:

Are any of you reading this? If so, is your knife backstory different? Do you still EDC and if so please tell us your “knife story”.

For the OFWGs:

Does your significant other EDC? Is this your influence or something she has always done or sought out on her own?

Inquiring minds want to know.





  1. Peregrine says:

    Yup, my fiancée EDCs a crkt pazoda and a cold steel spike. She bought neither herself, they were gifts from me and a formed of hers and betwee us, our slightly obsessive but not “brash” EDC swing her from being a little uneasy about them to being another EDCer

  2. Roger says:

    I’ve met plenty of women who carry knives. But for some reason none of the women at my work will carry knives. Even when the work requires it and the company has provided them. It’s frustrating.

  3. Josh in TX says:

    Crkt kiss was the first gift I ever gave my girlfriend (now wife of 8yrs) she liked it immediately and carried every day. Her mom was skeptical at first, but after a few months it became “hey lemme borrow that knife”. My wife bought her mom a kerchaw chive in pink shortly thereafter. It goes with her everywhere. My wife and I are both ambassadors of responsible tool use, and we tend to convert everyone male or female that we spend significant time with into knife (abd gun) folks.

    1. Sarcasm says:

      + I do read TTAK, just not as fast as Josh. Here’s the other perspective on the story:

      I carried a multi-tool long before I had a dedicated pocket knife. That’s what my dad and uncles carried around, so that’s what I wanted (and could easily get my hands on). Cue college, and meeting a guy who INSISTED on buying me a pocket knife after I borrowed one of his for a few days. It took approximately no time to get used to carrying a pocket knife after I got my first one (and as detailed above, Mom now has her own because she wouldn’t stop borrowing it). Now I have a collection of them.

      Somewhat un-related: someone gave my little brother a pocket knife when he was a little too young to have one, and one of my uncles “sharpened” it to the point where it could maybe mash an overripe banana if you tried a few times. That’s not exactly “my” knife story, but it’s probably where I got my initial “multi-tools have knives on them, what’s the difference?” attitude.

  4. T.G. says:

    My wife EDC since she and I started dating 5 years ago. She grew up on a farm but hadn’t carried one regularly for years. I got here a cheap CRKT knife as a gift and since then she has bought and carried a dozen different knives until she found one she likes. She got her sister and aunt to start carrying to when she gave them her old ones and hounded them to keep it with them always just in case.

  5. Sam L. says:

    Have bought kitchen knives for her; doesn’t carry a knife on her. Have gotten her two seat-belt cutters.

  6. Nathan says:

    Back in California I had a female coworker that would always borrow my backup knife, so I just bought he a Skyline. As far as I know she still has it. Out here in Wyoming the women are a bit more independent, for lack of a better word. My roommate’s girlfriend’s roommate carries a Kershaw Blur and routinely hunts and fishes

  7. Skyler says:

    I’m really tired of having to be inclusive in everything. Why do we need to have women carry knives to enjoy our own knives?

    I don’t hear women complaining that men don’t collect purses or high heel shoes, and I don’t notice men threatening to take bras away from them if they don’t start designing them for men.

  8. Jeff O. says:

    Hey, I am not old…

    I put a Kershaw Leek in her purse and she rolled her eyes. Then she used it, and used it again, and again… Now the lock is broken, but she still wants a replacement.

  9. Sher Khan says:

    My wife routinely carries a Kershaw Leek, and has a Benchmade Griptilian as regular backup somewhere in her gear. She gets ’em in purple, or pink, but with an eye to practical use, and over the years has collected several (Leeks, Chives, and a bunch of others I forget just now). She likes to shop knives at gun shows. We both enjoy the shopping at knife emporiums like Smoky Mountain Knife Works and A.G. Russell when we’re traveling. She does seem to depend on me to keep her knives sharp, though.

  10. Tom in Oregon says:

    My wife destroys knives.
    I keep TTAK hidden from her so I won’t have to sharpen EVERY knife in the house.

  11. MD says:

    A female friend edc’s a Benchmade 940, or occasionally an Emerson Mini-Commander. She generally buys her own knives. Cool chick.

    Another female freind is carrying a Benchmade Mini-Griptilian. I loaned her that one, and I don’t care if she keeps it. I’m just pleased she is carrying it.

    My ex used to carry a Spyderco Delica – a gift from me. Hopefully she still totes it.

  12. Robert D. says:

    My wife’s family had a small grocery store. She always has a box cutters, in her purse, desk, center console, nightstand… Actually it is amazing how many of them she has around. She is also a foodie and is good with a kitchen knife.
    I think that video was exceptionally well done. I am food guy and I teach food service operations classes. I’ll use them in the future.

  13. Amelia says:

    Lone lady chiming in.
    My story isn’t all that different from the majority of the guys. Dad got me my first knife at some point in elementary school for craft and camping use. I didn’t get much supervision and pretty much destroyed it with dirt and misuse.Years down the line I bought my first knife because it was shiny (You know those cheap titanium coated rainbow looking knives? *hangs head in shame*) and because it was absolutely against the rules to have them on the school trip we were on. *grins* I’ve learned a good deal more about knives since then (Yay TTAK!) and now EDC a Kershaw Injection 3.0 for work (blue collar) and general daily use.

    1. YEA! I knew my wife was not our only female reader (and she mostly reads to make sure I am not writing anything that is going to embarrass her).

      Back when I was guiding the Snake River in Idaho I knew plenty of female guides who carried knives. In my daily life now in Tennessee, not so much.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for chiming in.

  14. Edgehill says:

    My wife carries a Mora in her purse and have a seatbelt cutter in her car, but that’s it. I have a number of female friends who carry because work circumstances prevent them from conceal carrying a handgun (most dress issues). So they have gotten knife training and carry those instead.

  15. It'sAlwaysRainyInPittsburgh says:

    I’m not the only woman I know that has knives but not many chicks carry them. It’s definitely viewed as masculine around here. I EDC an Endura on my days off and typically use a Cold Steel newerVoyager at work. My early Leatherman Wave lives in my purse. I started off with a SAK I got for my girl scout outings (we had an exceptionally outdoorsy mom) and later a Buck 110 for hunting.

    I actually ran a small business sharpening knives (among other things) for a few years until the economy killed off what most people viewed as an optional expense. After 2010 or so, even my best chef clients switched to cheap throwaway blades or taught themselves how to sharpen. My friends have picked up the bug a lot more after hanging around me but tend to stick to smaller knives and multitools unless they carry a gun as well.


  16. LongBeach says:

    I kid you not, I was reading this post last night when, out of nowhere, my wife asked me for a knife she could keep. She has never asked me anything like that before and always found my knife carrying a bit strange. Apparently a woman at her work was mugged in the stairwell of the parking garage, and my wife doesn’t want to be unable to scare/fend off an attacker. I had already bought her some pretty serious pepper spray, but she wanted something more. Since we live in southern California a concealed handgun is almost impossible, so today she is carrying a nicely sharpened Buck Spitfire and/or a Cold Steel Thruster (I think that’s the name, but who cares, it’s sharp). Im very happy she has chosen to prepare herself, since previously she held the ridiculous notion that protection of her and the kids was solely my duty. A great decision by her, and I thought the timing was flat-out bizarre!

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Question of the Day: “Ladies of the Knife?”

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