There is a fine line between marketing self-defense tactics and weapons to women and being condescendingly sexist. After all, safety and self-protection should be taught across the board, across ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic and gender category lines. Furthermore, the female form does not differ so drastically from that of men that the laws of nature that govern male physiology, movement and basic survival, would not hold true for their card-carrying feminine counterparts. Still, the fact remains that women are statistically more in danger of being attacked by men and women than men are, so there is an unfortunate but non-sexist reason also that women might have available to them more creative and unique means of protection, simply for the fact that there is higher demand among females.
Few, if any of these choices for self-protection available to women, are more than just literally shocking, as in they can deliver a wallop of hair-raising electricity to would-be assailants but it is not so much surprising as it is a stroke of luck when any object or situation is converted into a technique for survival. When the chips are down and it is fight-or-flight time, it does not matter that it was your unabashedly feminine and bedazzled lipstick knife or Hello Kitty kubotan that saves your life and your dignity.
Some of these are weapons marketed toward women, others are shaped like women’s accessories to be incorporated into the more feminine of the bunch’s lifestyles, and the highest ranking methods of self-defense on the list involve news reports of some ingenious improvisation in the heat of the moment. Enjoy these 15 uncommon and unusual methods of self-defense that to varying degrees, have been marketed to or employed by womankind.
15. Kitty Kat Kubotan
This particular product is sold as The Wild Kat Keychain for $5.00 at places like selfdefenseproducts.com, and is made out of lightweight but dense, hard, solid painful plastic. It is pictured here in pink but comes in less stereotypically feminine colors. The kitty cat design still suggests this weapon is being marketed to women, even if it is modeled after an ancient Asian weapon, the kubotan, which is a metal spike with two nails sticking out of it. When gripped in the palm of a fist with the two nails poking out between knuckles, the weapon in its original form turns fists into fleshy hole-punches, able to puncture whatever unfortunate predatory body part gets this bad girl jammed into it. The keychain kubotan (like brass knuckles) may technically be illegal to carry around but a plastic version reminiscent of Hello Kitty is probably fair game, ladies. Hint… hint.
14. Paracord Monkey’s Fist/Lanyard
The Monkey’s Fist or Paw is actually just the name of a knot, most likely perfected on the ancient high seas where a good crew minded its knots. Today it is used for a wide range of things from cufflinks, in which case it can also be a ‘silk knot’ and involves placing a button of some kind in the middle of the knot before tightening it, to the handle on the releasing mechanism of parachutes. If the button inside of a silk-knotted cufflink is replaced with a steel ball bearing, and the Monkey’s Fist is tied with paracord as they are when used to ensure parachutes deploy, then it allegedly packs a surprising punch when swung with minimal effort.
The only issues with the mode of self-defense are: the Fist or Paw is less useful in uncomfortably close quarters like shady alley ways where assault often occurs, and it is a weapon that requires a bit of practice and luck to use. Many Monkey’s Paws are sold without the ball bearing exposed for an even more covert attack, as opposed to the Paw pictured here, but in all cases are easily disguised as lanyards, which women tend to wear more often than men.
13. Shoelace Spikes
Products like Fury Tactical’s Kuba-Kickz pictured here can only be worn by female fans of Timberlands or women who buy their shoes at sporting goods stores. Hopefully the near future will see toe spikes incorporated into the majority of feminine footwear, from stilettos to cocktail party pumps, all the way to tennis shoes, Birkenstocks and flip-flops. We could even have our kids get into bedazzling their shoes and feet (Henna-style) with sharper rhinestones, chiseled and repurposed as “self-defense diamonds.” Until then, the more athletic of womankind can take solace in the fact that these plastic spikes are designed to pack a seriously painful punch into any kick.
12. Honey Comb Stiletto Dagger
The honey pot is a rarely employed and even less frequently successful technique used in espionage or intelligence gathering, and not only in spy movies, wherein seduction or blackmail of a sexual nature is used to extort information out of a target. Whether or not the Honey Comb combination hairbrush/concealed deadly weapon was named for this dastardly tactic, the spinning-needle sharp, stiletto or round-tipped knife pictured here would fit just as well in a double-agent seductress’ purse as that of a street-savvy lady dressed to kill and making her way to or from the club. In either case, it would present quite an unpleasant, unwanted surprise to any overly forward dignitary or caveman leaving the ball or the bar with less than noble intentions.
11. The Romatron, Not Quite So Romantic
The Romatron is not made of pink plastic nor called what it is for romantic reasons. The pink color option and keychain ring attachment have most likely, at some point, been used in some insensitive attempt to market this supposed weapon to women.
Far be it from me to judge anybody that uses the Romatron in the bedroom, or anybody who uses it to deal out a dose of eye-for-an-eye justice to a would be r*pist, but this pocket sized self-defense tool is most appropriately used as a mace-like weapon to inflict blunt force trauma on an unsuspecting assailant. According to its manufacturer, the Romatron packs the wallop of a baseball bat (as long as you know how to swing it) and therefore can potentially disable, disorient, or disarm even the most refrigerator-proportioned thugs with a solid blow.
10. Lipstick Knife
This weapon on the other hand will get you into trouble if carried openly. For the fashionista who brings a knife to a catfight, behold: the lipstick knife. This twist-open pocket knife is customized like several other weapons on the list to blend in with the contents of the typical card-carrying female’s purse, though knives are by necessity heftier than lip applicators. This makes the lipstick knife more useful in slowly developing situations where a blade can be snuck out into the open and sneakily opened for some discreet shanking. If, on the other hand, you are a fashion conscious woman with an aversion to assault (i.e., if you are a fashion conscious woman) and you are in the market for something less discrete and more easily deployed defense measures, this may not be your weapon of choice.
9. Cell Phone Stun Gun
The combination stun gun/cell phone is a much more (than the lipstick knife) effectively executed example of a self-defense weapon disguised as an everyday object that is inconspicuously worn on a person’s person (or in his or her purse at all times). Cell phone-shaped stun guns most likely pack a lower voltage punch (~75 kV) than the other stun gun products on this list, which peak at 3 million volts, partly because some energy must also be used up in the process of making the fake phone part of the weapon more realistic, for example by keeping the device’s screen backlit or, in some cases, keeping a real digital clock running on said screen. If a shock on the order of hundreds of thousands of volts is… in order… for your situation, it turns out the right circuit board elements can transform the power of a single 9-volt battery into the brute-stopping force of a cell phone stun gun.
8. South Africa Gives New Meaning To ‘Ribbed’
That South Africa is struggling to survive reciprocally reinforcing AIDS/HIV and sexual assault epidemics is, unfortunately, old news. However, this lady prophylactic lined with spike strips reminiscent of rows of shark teeth still holds the record for one of the strangest, yet effective disincentives to assault that exists today. This “female condom” is designed to dig into errant and abusive male members, not only mangling these members but also hooking into them like fishhooks to remain attached until trained law enforcement officials remove them. Unfortunately, like the sting of a bee, if this method for self-defense has been put into play, that means some victimization and the irreversible damage it entails has been done.
7. Lipstick Pepper Spray
Of the three lipstick-disguised weapons described in this list, the lipstick pepper spray is the closest to scale and therefore most convincing as an innocuous object when inched out of a concerned woman’s purse. Some brands of lipstick pepper spray boast a keychain ring and are not designed with rhinestones like the lipstick stun guns described above, so they, the keychain-friendly lipstick pepper spray containers, can more easily be passed off as lip balm or something else that seems more at home on a keychain than lipstick. SABRE Red-brand spray, pictured here, is a 10-shot, lipstick-sized cartridge of police-strength spray and goes for $12 online but cannot legally be shipped to AK, HI, MA, NY, or DC in the US.
6. Electrified No-Contact Jacket
This self-defense measure is one of the more stylish designs on the list, which is surprising because it was in part designed by an industrial engineer at MIT, an institution more known for boasting Nobel laureates than for the artistic abilities of its alumni, and is known least of all for its fashion forward sensibilities. The No-Contact jacket was made to administer an 80 kV shock, that’s 80,000 volts, to anybody who barges into the wearer’s personal space uninvited.
Much like stun gun technology, the jacket is lined with and powered by a single 9-volt battery in series with circuit elements (like capacitors) that can build-up and discharge electric energy. The one drawback of this weapon is that it cannot be deployed much faster than a musket can be re-loaded; use of the jacket requires the turn of a key in a lock in the jacket’s sleeve to activate it and the press of a button to build up and administer a protective shock.
5. Lipstick Stun Gun
Guard Dog and Stun Master are just two vendors of self-defense measures that have come to specialize in lipstick-shaped stun guns; pictured here is Guard Dog’s 3 million-volt, rechargeable stunner with subtle rhinestone embellishment on the lipstick casing to throw attackers off of the fact that this apparent makeup kit necessity is really a stubby baton capable of incapacitating Cro Magnon men of all constitutions. Whichever brand you choose, this life saver comes in several colors outside of black and doubles as a decently powered flashlight; anybody in the market for a discrete, relatively fashionable means of protection should not though, the Guard Dog as opposed to the Stun Master can be attached to a keychain, which makes it easier to get to but less passable as lipstick.
4. SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment)
Called SHE, Society Harnessing Equipment, by the three Indian (presumably) engineering students who created her, this surprisingly effective if highly unfashionable and most likely less-than-comfortable nightie comes complete with GPS beacon, pressure sensors, and an electronic component capable of discharging 3.8 million volts into anybody who puts too much pressure, literally and figuratively, on the wearer of this item of clothing that gives new meaning to the idea of shocking lingerie. In a part of the world where kidnapping and sex trafficking occur at epidemic proportions, SHE’s GPS tracking capabilities further allow any wearer and stunned attacker to be located anywhere on the planet, even in the seediest dens of thievery. This additionally means that SHE’s defenses can be activated remotely by a guardian angel should any wearer be lost or restrained.
3. The Tampon Taser
Did you know that a taser is just a long-range stun gun and can be used as a stun gun during close quarters combat? I definitely did not until I read up on tampon taser technology. Several sites on the Interweb have identified and described what the inventor of a tampon-shaped taser calls The Pink Stinger, yet none have any jokes involving the term, “Toxic Shock Syndrome.” That is probably because the Pink Stinger is not actually meant to double as a menstrual sponge, but is rather disguised as a loose tampon floating around the bottom of the street-safe woman’s purse. Other reports also include a picture of the gadget, but the image here of a man shocking himself with the gender-specific and therefore redundant version of a universally effective weapon is a much more telling (negative) endorsement of the Pink Stinger.
2. Kentucky Retiree Is No Chicken With A Chicken
Most written news reports of this story fail to mention that the chicken, which was used by 61-year-old Kentucky resident Patricia Leece as a club-like weapon to fend off a drug-frenzied burglar attempting to choke Leece to sleep with her own bra, was neither dead nor alive but fake, and ceramic. Whether dead, alive, or made of fire-hardened, glazed clay, for a retiree to knock out a thirty-something paranoid burglar as she is being choked out is nothing short of impressive and hands down, one of the most original techniques for self-defense ever reported to a major network news media outlet. The attacker, 31-year old Ashley Sies, was charged with attempted burglary even after struggling to strangle (i.e., murder) her mark for 15 to 20 minutes (according to Leece) before being laid out by a clay rooster.
1. (Ordering) Pizza Saves Lives
‘When the moon portends black eyes and she orders fake pizza pies, that’s amore!’
In response to an AskReddit thread asking for 911 dispatchers’ most memorable (and less harrowing) calls, police dispatcher Keith Weisinger, relayed the story of a woman in distress who, forced into a situation where she must surreptitiously report on a brewing domestic dispute, pretended to order a pizza from 911.
Just reading the Buzzfeed News headline, I was not sure how the act of ordering pizza could save one’s life, so either my survival instinct needs to be shocked into order or necessity is the still the greatest mother of invention. To be fair to myself though, this tactic almost failed when Weisinger at first assumed pizza order was a prank call or a mis-dial, but when the caller persisted, dispatch picked up what she was laying down and asked her if there was an emergency she could not talk about that she was trying to report, the caller affirmed this to be the case and the cops were on their way.