Women's Self-Defense: A Critical Analysis of the Movement
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In this Senior Individualized Project I analyze the women's self-defense movement that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is not a comprehensive history of the movement, nor is it an instruction guide (or how-to manual) to women's self-defense. Rather, this project is an analysis of the women's self-defense movement as it emerged and changed over the years, culminating in a vision for the future. I assert that women's self-defense is a distinct movement that emerged from the women's antiviolence movement. Despite these early connections with the feminist movement over the years the women's self-defense movement has become less political. This ultimately threatens the very existence of the women's self-defense movement. Feminists must critically analyze the women's self-defense movement and determine its future in order to preserve the analysis and activism that distinguished women's self-defense from a general self-defense or martial arts. Ultimately, I argue for the need of women' s self-defense and that in order for the women's self-defense movement to persist, the connection between feminism and women's self-defense that has historically existed must be re-established.