“I have an idea that the phrase ‘weaker sex’ was coined by some woman to disarm the man she was preparing to overwhelm.” – Ogden Nash
My take: The element of surprise is a true advantage for people interested in self-defense. There are a lot of memes in the self-defense world that talk about “looking like a hard target” or “if you look like food, you will be eaten” and other thoughts along those lines.
But while it’s good to avoid looking like easy prey, it’s also good to avoid looking like a walking challenge to someone else’s ego. There’s a balance to be had, there.
And some of us have little choice in this matter. A person with a visible impairment — arm in a sling, using a wheelchair, hobbling from a bad hip, very much smaller or weaker-looking than the average, moving slowly from arthritis or old injuries — simply looks easier for a criminal attacker to handle. Even for these folks, paying attention to what other people are doing can definitely change a few criminal minds (“Ugh, that one’s going to see what I’m up to too soon, I’ll choose someone else…”). But realistically we can never erase this factor entirely.
So for those who “look like food” because of physical factors beyond your control: Don’t give up! You have a superpower that the criminal does not know about. It’s the element of suprise, because being underestimated is a superpower. And it’s a superpower that’s really only available to armed people whose physical attributes aren’t intimidating at all.
Being underestimated is a superpower. And like all superpowers, it must be used wisely.
Pay attention to the world around you. Be present in the moment and open to seeing whatever is actually there. And be prepared to use your superpower for good.