Research on the impact of women's self-defense classes has primarily focused on White women.
Research on the impact of women's self-defense classes has primarily focused on White women. I explore perceptions of race and gender identity of five African American women who participated in a semester-long self-defense class. I examine the relevance of the intersection of race and gender to their self-defense experience, focusing on three concepts commonly considered barriers in self-defense classes: body image and beauty standards, perceptions of strength, and perceived vulnerability to violence. Participants' responses reveal the ways that gender and race are experienced as integrated aspects of identity, pointing to the need for self-defense curricula to include an intersectional approach. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.