allure self defense

Allure—a magazine and web site focused on giving women make-up tips and fashion advice—is now dabbling in giving self-defense advice for those poor creatures set upon by the hoards of of Trump supporters randomly attacking women for no reason at all.

I wish I was kidding.

We’ve all had that moment while walking down the street when we’ve felt less than safe. Whether it’s catcalls or a character who is trailing a little too close, at some point you have to wonder if feeling afraid on the street is normal. According to a study commissioned by Stop Street Harassment, 65 percent of all women have experienced street harassment.

It doesn’t help that our president has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, further validating the notion that sexual violence towards women is no biggie.

Though verbal harassment and hate crimes are not new, the spike in reported incidents following the U.S. presidential election prompted Robie Flores and Alison Withers to reach out to Rana Abdelhamid at WISE, an organization that teaches self-defense to Muslim women, and create this Self Defense Starter Kit.

The project draws inspiration from makeup tutorials and YouTube culture in an effort to make self-defense tutorials engaging and relatable to young audiences.

Mashable is likewise jumping on the bandwagon, offering up an article that is simultaneously anti-Trump and and pro-self-defense for one demographic in specific, Muslim-American women.

At anti-Trump rallies around the country, a popular chant often reverberates among the crowd: “When Muslim lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up. Fight back.”

A new video series called Self Defense Starter Kit is hoping to allow Muslim women to do just that, empowering them with self-defense techniques. The series — produced by directors Robie Flores and Ali Withers — was created in responses to the spike in documented hate crimes after the election of President Donald Trump.

Though portions of the video series can be useful to women of all backgrounds, the main focus of the series is empowering Muslim women. The Self Defense Starter Kit videos feature two Muslim women instructors and cover topics exclusive to the community, like what to do if an attacker grabs your hijab.

I’m all for women of every background obtaining the best self-defense advice possible, which is why it is so disconcerting that neither article talks about the best option for self-defense, which is of course firearms carried by well-trained people.

Ultimately, the so-called “Self Defense Starter Kit” video series promoted by both articles is vacuous, all but completely ignoring the reality that the average women is much smaller and weaker than the average male aggressor. I’m therefore tempted to call them “security theater.”

The only reason these videos (and articles) are of any use at all is that there are women out there who are not old enough to legally carry a firearm for self-defense, or may be in a non-permissive environment where carrying a firearm is not a practical solution.

I’d note that both articles and the video series are likely grossly exaggerating the threat women (and Muslim women in particular) are facing at this time, but I do like that they are at least getting some women to start realizing that they and they alone are responsible for their self defense.

Now, if they would only tell them the truth that for those who can, a firearm is the best equalizer against presumably bigger and stronger assailants, and the only real viable solution for a woman facing multiple attackers…