This week I have a new hairdo. I chopped off about a foot of hair to donate to an organization making wigs for women with cancer. This is Breast Cancer Awareness month - so let's save the tatas, ladies.
The change in my appearance prompted this week's article. Time and time again statistics show that perpetrators look for signs of vulnerability, such as long hair, when choosing their victims. Another thing that can turn your character into a victim is her clothing.
Excerpt from WEAKEST LYNX:
I need to be able to move in my clothes. I did a lot of martial arts training. Master Wang thinks too many women wear clothes that restrict them.” And the hell if I was going to put myself at greater risk being bound up by a pencil skirt. When Stalker showed up, I planned to kick the shit out of him. I smiled ruefully. “I always try to get some Lycra in my pants and jeans. I tend to choose full skirts, so I can defend myself and hide my gun.”
“You carry a gun?” Celia and Alice asked together.
I smiled. “Sometimes.” More like, always
Just like Lexi Sobado, I believe careful clothing choices makes for better safety.
- For me this means Lycra, Lycra, Lycra and more Lycra - and maybe a little Spandex.
- I have found that wearing conservative clothing styles creates obstacles to self-defense.
When you are dressing your character, you may want to keep some of these ideas in mind to either help your heroine escape, or, if it's better for your plot line, get her into a real bind by using her clothes against her.
Link - How a Predator Courts a Victim
Link Aggressive Body Language
SKIRTS and DRESSES:
|(Photo credit: Deirdre Boyer)|
- Skirts should be worn above the knee either an A-line or a shorter Lycra or Spandex material.
- Long skirts (below the knee) need to be lifted and held up to fight. This throws off balance and your character cannot use her hands and arms to block, grab, or punch.
- Pencil skirts prevent a woman from using her best body weapon - her legs. She can't knee, run, kick, or crouch. She is vulnerable.
Video Quick Study (1:10) Look how cute this dress is. It is also easy for this woman to defend herself.
- Sleeveless for mobility
- Skirt above the knee and wide enough for high kicks. Bodice tight to the body with give.
- Wedge shoes that are strapped on offer stability
- I watched what looked like a cattle call for a martial arts actress. (video removed by YouTube lineup) The women wore skirts of various lengths. Women wearing short skirts had both hands available. If their skirt came below their knee, they pulled their skirts up and held them out of the way. This leaves them with one less hand to use for balance, blocking and punching.
Video Quick Study (1:02) Woman fighting in a business attire. Her skirt might be a little short for office wear, a longer (just above the knee) A-line skirt would work as well.
|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
- Wide bottoms can be grabbed during a kick. This would put your character on the ground.
- Wide legs can get caught on the heel when crouching, tripping your character.
Video Quick Study (:57) Okay, this is not how a real fight works, but I wanted you to see how a good pair of pants help her.
- They are thick enough to protect her legs.
- They are form fitting and stretch
- Held up by a belt. True a belt can be grabbed, but so can the top of pants - and worse if your character is wearing yoga pants or exercise pants the assailant can pull these down quickly and easily to shackle your character. Though this works both ways. If your heroine is facing a gang-banger she can stomp the top of his pants and run.
Video Quick Study (2:50) This is shot at a self-defense seminar.
- The girls' jeans are cut in such a way that they cannot get their knees up. This preempts the girl-power numero-uno self- preservation move: knee-to-the-groin.
- They can't kick above the knees (though a kick to the knee, snapping the assailant's leg backward is a great way to escape!)
- Notice the hoody that one girl is wearing and how it would be used against her. This guy was being nice. A real villain would yank it backwards and put her on the ground - When she is on the ground, the villain has the most control.
drawbacks in self-defense.
- The cotton fabric has no give.
- The cut is loose enough to grab easily.
- The cut of the fabric does not allow full range of motion - this prevents the character from getting a full-force back-fist or elbow strike, two strikes that are more effective than straight punches for women.
Video Quick Study (1:28) See how well this woman can fight in her tight turtleneck.
- This shirt fits tight to the body and is less likely to get caught on anything or grabbed.
- The stretchy fabric allows full range of motion.
|Stilettos on Figueroa (Photo credit: lostinangeles)|
- Need to be stable or removable.
- High heeled boots can be a great weapon if your character has the ankle strength to fight in them. Running, though is hard to do.
- Stilettos can be an asset if they can be removed easily to run away, or used for strikes.
- The photo to the right shows women dressed to defend themselves, but the girl on the far right will be the one who goes down in the final chase because of the ankle straps.
- Wedge heels add to stability
- Closed-toe shoes prevent debris from getting jammed into the shoe and will also work to protect the toes.
- Highly pointed shoes works to concentrate force into a very small area, thereby making a front snap kick all the more devastating. Aim a snap kick at the assailant's diaphragm, and your heroine will wind him and have several precious minutes on her head start.
- Of course, if she could manage to be wearing steel-toed boots, or cross-trainers that would be nice.
|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
- Tight fitted shirt with enough give so she has range of motion.
- Skirt has kicking room and is above her knee for knee raises.
- Shoes are low heeled. She can use those heels for grinding toes. They're strapped on for stability. But they are open toed which can cause problems with gravel and debris. I imagine these have slippery soles. These would be tough to run in.
- Her hoop earrings are problematic as well. She needs to lose those earrings.
Just a final thought about ACCESSORIES:
- You're heroine should always have a weapon, her phone, and her keys on her body when she's walking. If someone makes a grab at her purse, she should just let it go.
- Big purses are a bigger target.
- A big purse can be used to block punches.
- A small purse is a smaller target and can be used to swing at the assailant.
- Are chocking hazards and binding hazards.
- Unless your heroine is trained to get out of choke holds and then use the scarf as a weapon (for trapping strikes or kicks, for example) she should probably just leave the scarf at home.
Earrings, necklaces, and other accessories:
- Can all be used to grab and control your character
- Rings can work like brass knuckles especially if they have sharp stones. Also, if your heroine punches the assailant a few times she'll probably have enough DNA caught in the pongs to do a profile. Link to DNA 101
Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to help.