Martial arts as a source of female empowerment

I’m just going to state it first: martial arts can be and are female liberation and empowerment in its most primal form.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about this: women are oppressed. Read feminist theory. Not all women are oppressed, but many are. The source of this oppression? Well if you say culture, it really is true, but culture did in the end evolve from a more natural state of being. Evolutionary reasons are present, and there is no use denying them. Men are physically stronger on average and archaeological findings point to the fact that it was men that hunted game and fought, while women gathered food and nurtured children. If you look at the behavior of chimpanzees, you see band-level societies, numbering some 40 individuals. The key to survival of the species is exogamy, for if there is much inbreeding, the tribe (or the band) falls apart because of genetic disabilities. Exogamy in chimpanzee behavior manifests itself in the following manner: males attack and raid “competing” bands, kill their males in vicious many-to-one fights, kill their babies, and kidnap their females and include them in their own band.  This behavior, as vile and vicious as it seems, ensures the survival of the species. It is not so odd to imagine that our common ancestor did a similar thing, and that we as humans also did something of a sort.

But what is really of interest here is the position of women in the whole story. A woman is equally important for the collective as is the male, but the only problem is, she’s weak. She doesn’t fight, and if she does, she can be easily overcome.

Well fuck you.

There are many ways that oppression on women takes form. Today it’s the economic perspective. Women, on average, have much smaller paychecks than their male counterparts, even though it’s the same activity or job. But if you really think about it, the most primal form of oppression, the most natural, most human (male) way of oppressing a woman is through physical (and sexual) violence. The most powerful, natural, primal act of oppression is rape.

I hope you see where I’m going with this.

You see, if a woman knows how to defend herself, she defies not only the traditional patriarchal model, she defies EVERYTHING.

She defies what nature is like, and she defies her historical role in the evolution of the species. She is the destroyer of chains. A woman, attacked by a man, or even a group of men, that not only doesn’t get raped, but instead fights off, hurts or kills her attackers, is truly and completely empowered.


And the only way to bring about this type of empowerment is becoming able to fight and overcome men.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.


6 thoughts on “Martial arts as a source of female empowerment

  1. Interesting. I am all for teaching women martial arts and will definintely do so with my daughters when I have them but is this really where we want to focus? Is this not the repetition of past forms?

    By focusing on violence as a primary means of female empowerment, we repeat the ancient formula of the power to do harm as being the determinant factor in the value of a person, activity, or group. Violence is certainly a part of the human condition but placing as much value on it as human civilizations have has led us almost to ruin.

    What is the value by which humanity should judge all other values?

    • My understanding of this post is that the source of the empowerment is being able to defend oneself, not in the violence itself. I believe that the author is saying that women who take control of their safety by learning self-defense, take control of their own life. That’s my interpretation anyway, I may be wrong. lol

      • Ito, I understand your critique. However, I do not wish to argue that a person’s value is determined by his (her) ability to inflict harm onto other human beings. What I am trying to say is that the position of women is inherently inferior to the one of men JUST BECAUSE of the focus on the ability to do physical harm. The root of this injustice lies exactly in the fact that men can, if everything else fails, beat the hell out of women. If you remove that possibility, you can build upon the newly created situation, I think.
        There are many other ways for women to empower themselves and I would say they are EQUALLY important. But you have to BE ABLE to preserve your life, as Christopher says.

  2. Okay. If that is all you were trying to say, i agree without reservation. Ultimately, the final point of negotiation is at the point of the spear.

    My concern is that the way one speaks of these things can greatly change the outcome of the same actions. Strongly emphasizing self defense as being connected to the liberation of women can lead to its own problems if handled carelessly.

  3. Nice post. I’d like, as a female martial artist, to add a few things.
    The truth is, empowerment comes not so much from the physical ability to fight – to be honest, being smaller than your opponent is always a major drawback when fighting so women need a higher level of fighting skill to make it up for it – as much as from the psychological effects of training to fight. It is not unknown that most women’s aggressors e.g. rapists look for submissive-looking people who seem easier to beat. Looking confident and “tough” is usually a deterrent for those.
    Also, the confidence you gain from fighting extends well over self-defence situations, all’ for the better. :p

    • Agreed. The psychological effects are, naturally, great and they do deter your attackers even before the attack. Fights should be avoided at all cost. But man… when a fight can’t be avoided and it does happen, and a woman beats the living hell out of her attacker(s)… that’s pure, raw, defiant power. All the more because of the fact that your fighting skill, as you said, has to be higher in order to compensate for the physical power men have.

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