Women in Martial Arts, Edited by Carol Wiley
The book itself is a collection of essays from female martial artists of various styles. Different forms of Chinese, Filipino, Karate, and Aikido were represented. It seemed to me that there were more essays on women in aikido than the other arts combined, but that may deal with the facts that 1. The editor is an aikidoka, so that is her community and the basis of contacts, 2. Aikido is generally thought of as a more feminine (softer) art, so it may have a higher percentage of women involved in it. I don't have any statistics to back up the second point, it is just a gut feeling.
The essays themselves were various points of view on why these women authors initially joined a martial art, and what benefits they received from their arts. It seemed to me, that they were trying to motivate other women to join a martial art. That very well may have been the point, but as a male who has been in the arts for a while, it didn't apply to me. I have to say, that all the benefits they applied to women learning an art, could very well be applied to motivating males to take up the arts. There was nothing specific to females in their arguments, though they probably apply to women more often. For example, the learned victimization seemed to be involved in a couple of essays. There are males that need to get rid of that as well, but it probably applies more to women.
I'm going to give the book 2.5 Ninja Stars out of 5. Overall, the book was good, though a bit dated. It was published in 1993, so its over 20 years old now. It seemed a little lightweight for me, but I in fairness, I was coming in wanting more of an academic type writing. There is nothing bad about this book. It is good for what it was meant to be at the time. In fact, if they did a follow up book, and basically wrote a response, 20 years latter, how are women doing in the martial arts today, I'd read that too. Maybe this time on purpose.