Verbal Self-Defense Training
Women’s self-defense advocates must remind people often that self-defense is not simply learning how to punch and kick. It’s about learning a more entitled, assertive way of being in the world. That attitudinal shift is remarkable, as Olga Kreimer notes in The Washington Post. Being aware of your surroundings and speaking up assertively make powerful impressions on people.
And given the way our culture has trained women to put others’ needs and feelings before their own, women’s second-class status is often embodied in the way we dress, sit, stand, walk, and talk. It’s no surprise, then, that women in self-defense training must practice speaking differently.
And it is worth practicing; here, we imagine how famous quotes might have been spoken by a woman trained in our sexist culture vs. how they were spoken by a more entitled, authoritative person:
Mr. Gorbechev, excuse me but I’m wondering what it’d be like if you were to consider maybe taking that wall down?
Mr. Gorbechev, tear down that wall! -Ronald Reagan
I know you’re trying and everything, but it kind of needs to be done, so could you just try to do it? Thanks… When it comes down to it I’m thinking that, in the end, you will either have done it or not, you know?
Do or do not, there is no try. -Yoda
I’m so drunk, and I’m sure you’re really attractive although I don’t really know because beauty is pretty much in the eye of the beholder anyway, but how about I let you know in the morning when I’m sober?
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly. -Winston Churchill
Let’s try and see if we can coordinate this and like, live together, you know what I mean? Wouldn’t that be so much better than perishing together? I mean, how foolish would that be?
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Try to live the kind of life that will model how you want others to live, because if you want them to change you’ve got to show you’re willing to change, too, otherwise that would be hypocritical and nobody likes a hypocrite, and it’s important to be liked.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
I really want you to like me, but I’m not entirely sure that this is the best way to achieve something since my wanting you to like me could lead me to compromise on something, and ultimately you might not like that.
If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing. – Margaret Thatcher
Um, that’s my daughter, so could you please leave her alone?
Not my daughter, you bitch! – Molly Weasley
I know things can be really hard, and I’m so, so, sorry about that, and I hate to give you more to do, but maybe you want to do something…?
Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick some ass. – Maya Angelou