Girls that kick butt

Self Defense for GirlsSelf-Defense For Girls: A Secondary School and College Manual
Tegner & McGrath

Submitter: Maybe not the most awful book, but the pictures are horribly outdated and I would feel embarrassed pulling it for a patron.  Unless of course that patron was planning to have a rumble with the Jets and the Sharks.  The author also offers this rather bitter sounding advice concerning the illusion of women kicking butt on tv shows: “Sad to say, the fights bear as little relationship to actual life as do the love scenes.  Look not to the screen for guidance, girls.”

Holly: Once again, the word “modern” is the kicker.  The moves suggested in the book might be great, but there are so many more modern books than this.  Public libraries need books with better pictures and that are more relevant and effective.  This one is 42 years old!  I also love the tape binding.

  1. I actually have a copy of this book. As a jujitsu instructor, I can second that the photos (at least the hair and outfits) are horrifying, and the techniques are solid basics of self defense, even if the sequence of photos tend to be mediocre from the standpoint of being able to learn anything if you don’t know the techniques already.

  2. IMHO, any book with “for girls” in the title deserves a good hard look. I always ask, “Is there any difference in how a girl would do this vs. how a boy would do it?” If there’s no difference, then “girls” don’t need a separate book. It just comes off condescending, along the lines of, “[gasp] even a girl can do it!”.

    1. Nah, like Deja says, women have physical differences from men. Smaller, rounder. We tend to have more strength in our lower body then our upper body as well. Men tend to be stronger in their upper body. (Think about it, we carry babies and therefore need more lower body strength then men do.)

      Not to mention some of us have certain parts that tend to be very prominent. So in the end we do need slightly different fighting techniques then men.

      Then there’s the psychological factor. Even after all this time women still are taught to “not fight.” Even though I know some basic self defense I still have completely frozen in certain situations. A book directed at women should have tips how to get past that psychological block.

      And like Deja said, making the book for women makes it more appealing to women.

  3. I have to argue against Kat’s point of view here. Although a staunch feminist (the f-word!), I must acknowledge that books labeled as self-defense for women attract more women than gender neutral books. Plus, most women tend to be smaller and shorter than their male attackers (a possible reason the attacker chooses them in the first place?) so advice regarding the displacement of a heavier person would be more applicable to women’s self-defense. Also, men are more likely to meet attackers head-on in a mutual conflict as opposed to being surprised from the rear or the side (the proverbial parking lot / poorly lit alley attack), so books for women’s self-defense are appropriate because they focus more on these styles of defense.
    As for weeding on the basis of age, I can entirely agree with that, especially as laws regarding mace, pepper spray, small weapons and deadly force have changed significantly since this book was written.

  4. Re-read my post, please. I said “If there’s no difference, then ‘girls’ don’t need a separate book.” If there’s a difference, a separate book is fine. I was speaking in general terms, not addressing this book specifically. For example, a book on women’s gymnastics would be appropriate since the sport is entirely different for men and women. But these silly titles on home repair for women, car maintenance, etc? No way. But thanks for the basic anatomy lesson, in case, y’know, I’ve been under a rock my entire life.

  5. “speaking in general terms” = *backpeddling furiously*

    Of course women need different self defence advice from men.

    And for any chicks out there who want to defend themselves, i suggest BJJ or a filipino style where you can learn to use improvised weapons.

  6. That’s a mom not a girl! ^^ and yeah I also recommend Filipina martial arts. They teach you to be street-smart or use anything you can pick up while on the street which is the teritory of most atackers.

  7. Actually, it’s not “bitter-sounding” to say that what you see in the movies won’t work in real life.

    It’s called “acting” – what you see in the movies is trained professionals carefully striving to create the *illusion* of fighting while actually avoiding letting anybody get hurt. As such, it’s completely useless to copy them in a real-life situation where you actually want to cause some damage to another person, or even just keep them from hurting YOU.