One of the first things my dear grandmother Lola did when I moved to Los Angeles was send me some Chemical Mace in a pink leather pouch. She wanted to know that I would be able to defend myself in case of an emergency, and she wasn’t sure if Mace or pepper spray was legal in California. So just to be on the safe side, she shipped me some from Texas.
I laughed at first but then quickly saw her point--being a girl is sort of scary sometimes. I am always very careful and aware of my surroundings, but I do live in a big urban city. Every so often I find myself walking across a dark parking lot late at night and wonder, “What if?” Maybe I just watch too much true crime television.
A teen TV starlet I know recently went off to college alone in a big metropolitan city and took 3 different self-defense weapons with her: a stun gun disguised as a cell phone, a can of pepper spray disguised as a pen, and a necklace that hides a small knife. Yes, a switchblade knife necklace. I was already laughing to myself before she sent me the pictures:
This tiny switchblade is pretty perfect for fending off a 13 inch tall rapist, should one happen to assault you.
When she told me about the stun gun disguised as a cell phone, I immediately thought that I hadn't heard her right. I couldn’t believe it actually existed.
Sadly, stun guns are illegal in at least 5 states. (NY, NJ, RI, HI, & MA.) There are large fines plus jail time if you are caught in possession of one--even if you end up using it to successfully fend off an attacker!
I say 'sadly' because I think stun guns are a pretty good alternative to actual guns, and that all states should just legalize them and subject them to the same rules and regulations that apply to those who wish to carry a concealed handgun.
Looking for the cell phone stun gun led me to a ton of other self-defense items expressly aimed at women. I was totally unaware that girls were supposed to be concerned with having cute stuff with which to fend off attackers.
When I first started driving by myself, my mom taught me to always hold my car keys between my fingers when I walked in case I needed to jab someone in the face with them. As with all ideas from my childhood, this one has been improved upon:
This pink kitty cat defense keychain is cute at first glance—until you realize that the only use it has is to gouge someone’s eyes out. I am pretty queasy about eyeballs—I don’t want to pull my hand back and find an eyeball attached to it, even if said person was attempting to assault me.
It's a pretty inexpensive, low-tech weapon that you won’t accidentally use on yourself unless you are into self-flagellation. I am into weapons that won't kill me if somehow wrestled away and used against me.
Too bad the kitty cat defender is unable to be shipped to certain states-California of course being one of them. I'd love every teenage girl to have one of these--it would cause a lot of handsy teenage boys to re-think things.
The pink Mace my grandmother gave me must have been the very beginning of the girly self-defense trend, because if this was available, she would definitely have sent it to me:
I have so many lipsticks in my purse at any given time that carrying pepper spray that looks like a lipstick means I’m guaranteed to pull it out accidentally and get all the way to taking the top off before I (hopefully) realize what I’m doing.
This is my very favorite of all the girly self-defense weapons I found:
A comb knife! It’s so Sweet Valley High. I want to carry it around in my back pocket. The product description helpfully mentions that the 'Comb Defender' is good for "cutting and piercing."
I just might go re-read every Sweet Valley High book ever written now that I've reminded myself about them. I have regressed to the point where all I like to read anymore are young adult novels.
The idea of a self-defense weapon needing to be made 'girly' was kind of ridiculous to me at first. But while researching this article, I did actually read that women are more likely to be hesitant to use a weapon to hurt someone, even in a situation where it's justified.
So if infusing self-defense products with some adorable-ness encourages more women to protect themselves, then I say rock on with your pink stun guns.
I don't carry any sort of weapon in my purse--do you? Writing this has made me think I should start.