The Way It Is
More women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends since Sept. 11 than "all the Americans who were killed by 9/11 or in Afghanistan and Iraq."— Gloria Steinem October 1st, 2014
When we talk about female physical empowerment we are talking about physical power. This is power in it's rawest form. Men have dominated physical power for thousands of years. As a result, all over the world, women are still afraid. Afraid of the man on the bus, the man near their car, and the man casting a second glance. No matter which country they come from, most women experience that sense of vulnerability,
For too long women have been taught that femininity equals fragility and softness. Men are the strong protectors of women. However, this 'contract' is often broken by the men who are supposed to be protectors. Husbands, boyfriends or lovers can often turn into abusers when a relationship breaks down. And then the male-dominated justice system and police, are often not there for women when they need support most.
Women around the world spend a majority of their lives feeling pressured, targeted and tormented. In some cultures, woman targeted violence reaches graphic extremes.
However, rather than being taught to defend themselves, from a young, impressionable age, girls are taught to wait for a man to come and save them. So many fairy tales and movies tell of a beautiful damsel who finds herself in distress, waiting for the impeccable timing of a certain Prince Charming to swoop in and save them. We are told as young women to regard ourselves as fragile and delicate as opposed to celebrating female physical empowerment.
Women are still waiting all over the world for men to 'rescue' them. However, women cannot wait for laws and the police (who tend to be men), to defend them from rape. For one thing, they are not around when the act is occurring and for another, the judicial process is often completely humiliating and degrading for women.
The women's movement has never really acknowledged or promoted the right of women to defend themselves. Even in feminism, violence has been considered a man's domain. The truth is that women are able to physically defend themselves from rape with appropriate self-defense instruction.
Men tend to have greater upper body strength than women so to equalize this imbalance women need the tools to strengthen their ability to defend themselves. Karate, Aikido and other martial arts show that a weaker opponent can overcome a stronger one. Women need to be taught self-defense at schools, the workplace from childhood onwards! Even if only 10% of women are able to defend themselves that works as a blanket protection for other women as men will not know which women can take them down!
As the BBC reported, "38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners". In other words, their partners, the men who are supposed to be closest to them in a patriarchal society and their protectors are quite often their killers.
Hollywood and mainstream culture has, for years, cast the role of Leading Lady as second to the Man in Charge. The role of female victim has become romanticized. Young women are very perceptive to culture, and the surrounding information and media outlets they are exposed to. Religion and most societies in the world play a great role in perpetuating the myth of the passive female.
Today, Hollywood has taken the lead in celebrating females are quite capable of defending themselves and others. Lead roles such as Katniss from Hunger Games and Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider character Lara Croft popularized kick-butt women characters holding their own. For a brief moment, these ladies provide young girls a role model for self-defense, self-sufficiency, and providing for yourself. Although celebrated greatly, these concepts did not translate off-screen so easily.
A woman who possesses the ability to defend herself most likely has a handful of other traits such as greater confidence, and sense of self-worth.
The Way It Could Be
Women Defending Themselves or Females Providing Security for Females
When I saw the movie (Wonder Woman) for the first time and there was this battle scene. With all the Amazons, twirling swords and looking so amazing. And I got so emotional and I didn't understand why. And after the movie, I was thinking about it and it was . . . I don't know if you can understand this feeling but it was the first time for me as a woman, a girl, a female, that I saw a vision. A visual thing, an image of strong women that are beautiful and confident and can take care of themselves. It was so . . . I was shocked by it. And then I was more shocked by the fact that I had never seen anything like that. Gal Godot, Actress who played Wonder Woman.
Existing & Imagined Business or Job-Based Solutions to promote the Physical Empowerment of Women:
- 1) Joining the Military. Women involved in the military are empowered females fearlessly and boldly stepping forth to not only defend themselves but also others. One of the best examples of women fighting back is the current war against ISIS, probably the most fanatical proponent of extreme patriarchy in the world today. Kurdish Peshmerga guerrillas are at the forefront of the ground war. Unlike any other region where Muslims predominate, the Kurds allow female combat units into the army. And ISIS is very afraid of them because they believe that being killed by a woman denies a Muslim martyr his passage to heaven!
- 2) The Pink Saris. Also known as the Gulabi Gang, a group of women based in several districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. Started in 2006 by a brave woman named Sampat Pal Devi, she observed a woman getting abused. After approaching the man, she too began to be abused by him in broad daylight. The next day, Sampat returned the next day with five other women armed with bamboo sticks and gave him a beating of his own. Today, over a decade later, she works throughout various districts of India to fight various types of women's social injustice. They conduct their work draped in bright pink Saris, accumulating the title. The Pink Saris are not the only assembled group of women fighting back, literally. When women fight back, the results can be astounding, as these women who fight back in India show.
- 3) Iranian Female Ninjas. According to a report published by The Atlantic, approximately 3,500 women are currently registered to begin or are currently in training to become ninjas. You read that right -- Ninjas, in every sense of the word. Even in a strongly patriarchal Islamic society, it is possible for women to justify the need for self-defense. Living in an Iranian society that virtually robs them of all power, dictation, and dignity, the act of being able to not only defend yourself but walk out the victor of an assault? That is nothing short of remarkable.
- 4) Setting up a Female Self Defense School or Classes. There are more numerous methods and tactics for a female to defend herself as opposed to running or submitting. In developed countries, there are community resources that offer free or donation-based self-defense classes Most have a target audience of women as young as 13 and up! Options such as basic sparring classes, Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D. Training), Verbal Aggression Identification (V.A.I.), and even training to identify a situation before it has the chance to escalate. These resources for physical female empowerment allow women to fight back and defend herself at any age, any place, any time.
If anyone feels that a woman can't be feminine and strong at the same time check out this security video of a fashionably dressed woman defending herself against a creep on the elevator!
- 5) Female Bodyguards. as this Vice video shows, China has developed training schools for female bodyguards where they learn the arts of self-defense in almost any situation: 6) Egyptian women have now decided to take matters into their own hands. Read about Egyptian women confronting sexual harassment.
Bibliographic Sources: In case the original article has been deleted or removed we include a PDF of the page as we originally viewed it.
- Breadwinner Mom Statistics - PDF
- Women in the workplace attributes (Harvard Business Review) -
- “Mighty Women” Self defense/women in history -
- American Women’s Self Defense Association facts
- Pink Saris Information
- Iranian Female Ninjas
- BBC "Violence Against Women Worldwide is Epidemic" - PDF
- Female Self Defense ideas reported in Jezebel