Wendy Rouse’s New Book on the Women’s Self-Defense Movement

Rouse, Wendy L. Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement. New York: NYU Press, 2017.

In Her Own Hero, Rouse details the emergence of a women’s self-defense movement in the early twentieth century and its significance at a time when women were demanding greater social and political freedoms. Women were inspired to take up boxing and jiu-jitsu for very personal reasons that ranged from protecting themselves from attacks by strangers on the street to rejecting gendered notions about feminine weakness and empowering themselves as their own protectors. Perhaps more importantly, the discussion surrounding women’s self-defense revealed powerful myths about the source of violence against women and opened up conversations about the less visible violence that many women faced in their own homes.

NYU Press webpage for the book