Who is the course for?

Currently open for enrollment as part of Feminist Leadership Training, Mentor-Scholar Programs, and Feminist Studies Mentorships.

The Emotional Self-Defense Course is a graduate level learning experience for *women and nonbinary folks who want access to an intensive feminist study of how to name the systems effecting our lives. (The term women at Feminism School is trans inclusive, always.)

The course is 13 videos (4.5 hours) and 13 extensive workbooks of research, teaching, contemplative practices, and creative-writing based learning. Course tuition ($2497) includes a customized, 1:1, 75-minute course consult with Dr. George, to be used within 6 months of registration. (Please note our consults are not offered in July and August.)

This is Dr. George's signature course—a body of work that will most certainly transform your life's journey if you show up to the depth and breadth of its feminist reframings, somatic recognitions, and transdisciplinary concepts.

The Emotional Self-Defense Course has now been taken by people all over the world, including Australia, Mexico, the UK, Spain, Canada, and the U.S.

Key Frameworks of the Teachings

  • Trauma informed teaching and research

    The course research in trauma reframes the patriarchal, white, and class-privilege based assumptions in neuroscience trauma studies. The course offers distinct feminist decolonial frameworks for intergenerational healing, somatic reconnection, creative awakenings, and collective change.

  • Feminist theory for naming power dynamics

    The curriculum recommends dozens of key readings of feminist foremothers. Readings are optional, but you will be introduced to women's intellectual history that is silenced in most of our education! Readings draw from Black, Indigenous, postcolonial, Arab, Jewish, and Chicana feminism.

  • Feminist essays, self-assessment guides, and contemplative exercises

    The curriculum was designed and developed through Ph.D. Ethnic Studies research on holistic feminist learning methods. The feminist essays, contemplative writing prompts, and reflection exercises invite you to listen within, connecting to your body as you learn.

The Journey of the Emotional Self-Defense Course

13 Modules of Teaching Videos + 13 Workbooks + a 75-Minute Customized Course Consult

  • Healing Fragmentations

    Receive teaching to deepen your analysis of how patriarchy and white supremacy coerce us to sever connection from our body's felt knowledge of our own experiences.

  • Sensing Interconnections

    Receive methods to study and resist how these systems silence the language we need for naming their harm and connecting the personal to the political.

  • Midwifing Collective Change

    Receive training in somatic awareness, trauma, and the feminist analysis needed to name and transform together the systems shaping our lives.

Introductory Module

Learn 7 Key Ideas for how Feminism School teaches feminist history, including why reconnecting to the work of feminist foremothers matters for changing our present and the future. We discuss transformative concepts like: reading your body as a sacred text; contemplative feminist practices; analyzing intersecting systems; accessing intergenerational women's creativity; and understanding how your own lived story is a source for making feminist theory.

Module 1

Mind-body Connection as the Foundation of Emotional Self-Defense

The assumption that the mind and body are separate has been dangerously mapped onto social hierarchies inside patriarchy, western colonization, and white supremacy. The result is that upper class white men's knowledge gets equated with the authoritative "rational mind," while the knowledge of women and people of color is considered "subjective" and untrustworthy. We explore what is at stake in reintegrating our mind and our body in feminist learning, and we learn from Audre Lorde's marvelous essay, "Uses of the Erotic."

Module 2

Trauma as Feminist Knowledge and Labor

The teaching in this module reframes trauma studies research through centering the voices of feminist of color and Indigenous foremothers. We especially focus on Chicana mystic/feminist/queer theorist Gloria Anzaldúa's writings on spiritual activism, trauma, patriarchy, colonization, and creativity. Anzaldúa's gives us a model of understanding emotional self-defense practices that links our personal healing with collective transformation.

Module 3

Patriarchy's Looking Glass

Virginia Woolf wrote in 1929: "Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size." She also believed the looking-glass fueled war and colonization because patriarchy's grandiose ego was forged in these daily interactions oppressing women. We explore her ideas for modern times and develop practices to resist the minimization of women.

Module 4

Engaging Men Who Use the Language of Feminism

It is hopeful to be living in a historical moment in which more men feel comfortable naming themselves as feminists. But until we change the system of patriarchy, there are some dangerous dynamics operating! Namely, some men use feminist language as a cover for narcissism, to gain trust, and to abuse. We need to know the red flags for male fake feminism, as well as for male feminist privilege—the undo praise men receive for being feminists (a power dynamic does not heal patriarchy!).

Module 5

Preventative Feminist Medicine

Our wounds inside any system of power (such as patriarchy, class-based oppression, and race-based oppression) create deprivations that are then targeted and further exploited by abusive power. Sometimes over-focusing on early-childhood experiences (the method of much western therapy) ignores the wounds produced by structures of deprivation in adulthood, thus disempowering us to name our experiences and to find collective interventions. In this module, we assess our sources of deprivation, as well as our access to joy and resources, in order to build emotional self-defense practices.

Module 6

Patriarchal Emotional Abuse, Gaslighting Patterns, and Male Defense Mechanisms

Male defense mechanisms inside patriarchy are difficult to navigate. Most cis men are not socialized to reflect on their own socialization as men, so without a practice (and a language) for that kind of self-growth, the emotional and psychic labor of patriarchy is outsourced to their women and nonbinary partners, friends, and colleagues. In this module, we evaluate the line for when male defense mechanisms become abusive and gaslighting. Dr. George also shares on her work teaching feminism to men, offering strategies for teaching men while attending to flows of labor, energy, and reciprocity.

Module 7

Mirroring, Exhaustion, and the Naming Labors of Feminist Life

Why is language for our experiences within systems of structural gaslighting so exhausting? To examine this question, we start with neuroscience research on attachment, brain development, and the mirroring of emotions. Then, we turn some of it upside down through a reading of feminist literature, adding an analysis of spiritual abuse, whiteness, and colonialism. Finally, we practice techniques for tethering ourselves to our body's knowledge so we can better name our own experiences amidst relations of power.

Module 8

Feminist Grief Labor

The work of feminist life together is often the work of grief. We grieve systems of violence, and how those systems target so many people: including women, Black folks, colonized folks, poor folks, trans folks, disabled folks, and Indigenous nations. Feminist grief labor means we trust that our grief is essential for the work of creating a better world. In this module, we follow the examples set by feminist foremothers to honor our grief, and to allow our grief to move us into community and creative power.

Module 9

Community Care Practices as Emotional Self-Defense

It is our kinship root system that is our social immune system (protecting us), but our support systems can also, simultaneously, be a place of exploitation, harm, and abuse. So, how do we do feminist community? What can feminist foremothers teach us about community, identity, and change? We especially explore how community often means navigating identity labels. We discuss experiencing processes of change in how we name ourselves and finding a fuller integration of who we are as emotional self-defense practices.

Module 10

Earth Reconnection as Emotional Self-Defense

Just like we need to examine the forces that coerce mind-body disconnection, we also need to examine the forces that coerced disconnection from the land. Being in relationship to the land and the water is part of how we unlearn all systems of domination, as taught by ecofeminists and Indigenous feminists. Being in relationship to land and water is also healing for many of our traumatized nervous systems. And while not everyone has access to daily kinship with people, community is also found in connecting to the plants, trees, animals, and water. There is great feminist knowledge within being present again and listening to place and emplaced memory.

Module 11

Intergenerational Healing as Emotional Self-Defense

Many experiences that are not held in language are still being passed down somatically and in our emotional patterns. In fact, our existing language and categories of identity often cover over our access to understanding these histories held in our body and intergenerational stories. There is a source of power in listening within yourself to find the kernel of healing that is your work generationally to do. This approach to ancestral healing in the course connects our inheritances to the histories, losses, dreams, traumas, and relations of power our ancestors lived within. We also seek to root into the creative power long practiced within our ancestral lines.

Module 12

Cultivating Creative Power as Emotional Self-Defense

Drawing on the work of feminist foremothers Jacquie Alexander and Gloria Anzaldúa, we explore identity as dynamic multiplicity within you shaping metamorphosis and evolutions. Feminist knowledge is developed through navigating this liminal spaces of growth and change and finding the ways of holding the stages of transformation—at personal, collective, and political levels. That pilgrimage takes creativity, so in this final module we grow our everyday creative sanctuaries and come to better understand how our creativity is itself a practice of emotional self-defense in a world that coerces conformity to the status quo.

Want to bring this course to a small group of women and nonbinary leaders at your organization?

Contact us to set up a (free) consult.

What Participants Are Saying

Laura McCaffrey
(New York)

Life Coach

This course has completely changed my life. As a woman with a bachelors and masters degree in engineering, I had never taken a formal women's studies course in either program. Dr. George's course made this material accessible and easy to digest in the time that I had between work, caring for my family, running my business, and pursuing my PhD. The course has validated so many things that I intuitively and experientially knew, and now have academic support for. Also, the way that Dr. George shares her personal stories and reflexive practices ensures that this course does not replicate the oppressive academic methodology that most of us are used to. She offers a chance for us to weave in our own stories to develop our embodied knowledge of our feminist roots that incorporate our foremothers' wisdom. This course is a much needed resource for the feminist community and the world.

Rosemin Nathoo
(Inuvik, Northwest Territories)

Wildlife Biologist

"I was just gushing to my partner about how you have structured Module 1...Even though I've read many of the fundamental feminist texts, I've never been introduced to the idea of mind-body connection and disconnection so effectively (if at all in those words!). Your course deserves to be a 101 feminist coming-of-age course...this is the first time I have begun to learn about feminism through my own body and emotional experiences. If only I had that intro when I was starting university!"

Jenna Ward
(Australia)

Feminine Embodiment Coach

"Through illuminating the structures & subtle systems that are built to diminish women, the emotional self-defense class provides such liberation & permission for power. I found Kimberly's teachings incredibly informative & well-referenced, while still real & relatable."

Jessica Farrell
(UK)

Creative Leadership Coach

"If, like me, you find that trying to get a feminist education from social media alone is deeply unsatisfying, you snoozed past any opportunities to learn what Women's Studies was actually about when you might have had the option to study it, and reading ALL the books is a nice idea but it's just not going to happen... Kimberly's work merges present moment exploration of what it is like to live in a non-cis-white-male body with an in depth and elegantly articulated synthesis of the history."


Want to stay in touch?

Through The Feminist Letters, we send meditations and news of courses and early birds.

Explore Our Curriculum