Who is the Course for?

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. (Please note the term women at Feminism School is trans inclusive, always.)

The course is 13 videos and 13 extensive workbooks of research, teaching, contemplative practices, and creative-writing based learning. The curriculum was researched and written during the instructor's 2nd Ph.D. program (2015–2020). The course was then released January of 2020. A new 2.0 version launched September 1, 2020.

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.
  • Patriarchy and white supremacy coerce us to sever connection from our body's felt knowledge of our own experiences.

  • These systems silence the language we need for naming their harm and connecting the personal to the political.

  • When we center the contributions of feminist foremothers, we find a hidden and profoundly healing inheritance for midwifing our creative power on behalf of interconnected struggles for liberation.

The Learning Experience

  • Trauma informed teaching and research

    But we also reframe 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.

  • Is this course only talking about patriarchy?

    No! Any sound feminist teaching is rooted in the decades of research in intersecting systems (gender, race, sexuality, colonialisms, etc.). This research for this course was created while doing a Ph.D. in Ethnic studies, focusing on women-of-color theorists.

  • Can I do the course on my own timeframe?

    Yes! The Emotional Self-Defense Course is 13 online modules of teaching videos (4.5 hours) and 13 ESD Course Workbooks. The course is designed to be self-paced. It is recommended that you do the curriculum in order of the modules, since the content is scaffolded accordingly. We also suggest that each module receives at least 1 week of study to metabolize the content. In other words, we don't recommend trying to do multiple modules in one week, as the ideas need time for contemplation and integration work.

  • Are there any live components?

    Yes! For fall of 2020, office hours will be offered the third week of the month in October and November. Times/dates are still TBD—we will do our best to accommodate time zones. Office hours will be a Zoom group call. Intensive workbooks are also being planned for this winter, though those are not included in the cost of the course curriculum. Stay tuned for fall and winter programming for the ESD Course. Please note that spots for intensive workshops will prioritize folks who are actively doing the course curriculum or who have already completed it.

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 history. 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 One

Mind-Body Reconnection 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 Two

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 Three

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 Four

Engaging Men Who Use the Language of Feminism

It is hopeful to be living in a historical moment in which more and more men feel comfortable naming themselves as feminists. But it is also true that until we fundamentally change the system of patriarchy, there are some dangerous dynamics operating! Namely, some men use feminist language as a cover for narcissism, and to gain trust and then perpetrate abuse. For our emotional self-defense practices, we need to know the red flags for male fake feminism. And, we also talk about how well-intentioned, genuine feminist men who, in receiving undo rewards for being feminists, can re-enact male feminist privilege in ways that don't heal patriarchy.

Module Five

Preventative Feminist Medicine

Our wounds inside any system of power (such as patriarchy, class-based oppression, and race-based oppression) create deprivations and traumas that are then targeted and further exploited by abusive power. Additionally, 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 do a comprehensive deprivation assessment guide, a joy assessment guide, and a resource assessment guide to grow our our emotional self-defense practices.

Module Six

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 shares about navigating male defense mechanisms from her work teaching feminism to men . And, you will also learn the concept called the equation of reciprocity if you find yourself needing to teach men about feminism— so that you can do that work without compounding the exhaustion.

Module Seven

Mirroring, Exhaustion, and the Naming Labors of Feminist Life

Why is finding language for our experiences within systems of structural gaslighting is 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 the proto-feminist novel Jane Eyre and what it teaches us about attachment, patriarchy, finding one's voice, and male defense mechanisms. (And, we also read the novel for its representation 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 Eight

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 Nine

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 Ten

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 Eleven

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 Twelve

Cultivating Creative Power as Emotional Self-Defense

Drawing on the work of feminist foremothers Jacquie Alexander and Gloria Anzaldúa, we explore identity as always becoming. There exists dynamic multiplicity within you that shapes your own 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. But 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.

What to Know About the Revised Course Release

  • What has changed in the new September 2020 version of the course?

    The new version of the course has newly designed course workbooks by ritual specialist Kamya O'Keeffe. (The content itself has undergone only slight revisions.) On September 1, we released the first 7 new workbooks; please note the remaining 6 will be released by the end of the month. Most people take at least 1-2 weeks with reading and metabolizing each workbook and the contemplative exercises, so we promise you won't be slowed down!

  • Do I need to print the 13 course workbooks?

    Everyone feels differently about whether to work from a digital or printed workbook. Dr. George, from extensive teaching experience, believes that most people learn best if they invest in printing the workbooks and doing the course not in front of a screen! While this is an investment of finances and trees, contemplative learning practices work best away from computers for most (though not all) people.

  • What is the best way to print the workbooks?

    Like most graduate-level courses, our courses at Feminism School do involve additional investment in printed materials (and optional purchases of recommended books by feminist foremothers). You have several options for printing based on your budget, though. While the workbooks are in color, you might choose to print them in black and white for a less expensive option. At Fed Ex, printing the 13 course modules in black in white will cost around $65 dollars (in the U.S.). The online service Best Value Copy has the most affordable color printing options, with additional charges for shipping. The workbooks are absolutely foundational to the learning experience, so we encourage you to invest in quality printing for the best experience of the contemplative material.


Course access is for 365 days. Please note all Feminism School courses are nonrefundable.

If you'd like additional 1:1 support, consider the Mentorship Program launching September of 2020. The 1:1 Mentorship Program does not include the purchase of the course tuition (which is $1597 and is paid below). Please read about the Mentorship Program here.

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

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

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."

Instructor and Feminism School Founder

Dr. Kimberly B. George (she/her)

Dr. Kimberly B. George (Ph.D. Ethnic Studies UCSD, M.A. Religious Studies Yale University) is a somatic psychosocial theorist, feminist ethnic studies scholar, educator, and consultant. She partners with individuals and organizations to facilitate workshops and programs that dive deep into feminist research on transformation. Interdisciplinary and rigorous in how she approaches her teaching, with a commitment to contemplative, holistic study, she has trained across five graduate programs, stretching from the Ivies (Yale University) to the more culturally radical UC system. Her areas of study focus on race, gender, and colonization; religious history; feminist intellectual and activist history; trauma studies and psychodynamic research; and pedagogy and contemplative studies. She's been building accessible, graduate-level courses outside the university since 2006. She identifies as a mystic and contemplative, as well as a scholar. She is published in numerous outlets, including OnBeing, The Washington Spectator, and the Feminist Wire. She is the co-editor of the book Football, Culture, and Power (Routledge).

Course Workbook Designer and Collaborator

Kamya O'Keeffe

Kamya (she/her) is an elder tending the threshold of change for women founders and leaders. As a collaborative systems thinker with 20+ years experience in leadership in creative industry and cultural organizations in the UK and Australia, her commitment is to those who recognize the world is shifting and in response are creating transformative learning pathways that inspire social and cultural change. Kamya is a mentor and guide to the emergent rites of passage of women as sacred social entrepreneurs, weaving visual language, inter-generational & relational creativity, ritual and program design to reflect their vision, courage, and lived experience.