A Tiger Can't Change Its Stripes

Here we go again: yet another product aimed at women’s fears that may, but probably does not, provide them with an added degree of safety. TigerLady is sharp plastic “claws” attached to a pad that you hold in your hand. It is designed for runners. As I always do when these products appear I ask myself:


  • Will it actually be available when you need it?
  • What is your plan if it slips from your hand, or it isn’t in your hand when you are attacked?
  • What if you accidentally hurt yourself with it, instead?
  • How many women could be taught serious, effective self-defense techniques using their voices and bodies with the money that was spent to develop and market this product?

If people want to add tools like pepper spray or tasers to their resources for protecting themselves, I have no problem with that.

The key word is “add.” If the makers of TigerLady and other similar products are seriously interested in keeping women safer, why aren’t they encouraging women to learn self-defense skills in addition to buying their product?

We never tell our students that “In x situation you should always do y” because there is no formula. Each situation is different. Instead, we give our students lots of tools so they have choices about what to do based on the unique situation they are in. In the same way, no single product is going to keep you safe in every situation, or even in most situations.

At best, these products are misguided attempt to empower women based on the myth that women aren’t strong enough to defend themselves without a weapon. At worst, they are cynical  exploitation of women’s fears.

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