I’ve been told I project a “Don’t mess with me!” attitude when I’m walking. Some women are afraid that they appear less feminine that way, but I don’t agree. I can project the same attitude in a skirt and 4 inch heels as I can in my Tactical 511 pants and instructor shirt. My husband actually finds it attractive. He knows I can take care of myself and that makes him more comfortable, but he also enjoys seeing me move with a sense of purpose and awareness. So, yes, I can be feminine and purposeful, even when I have to take smaller steps and my feet are killing me (but the shoes are so cute!). The attitude starts in your head, you decide that you are not going to volunteer for the role of victim. From there, you become more aware of how you stand, you automatically scan and become more aware of who is around you, and learn to make quick judgments of who might be a threat.
Along with your posture is “situational awareness”, knowing what and who is around you. How do you know? Look around! Scan the area, are there tall shrubs that could hide an attacker? Is there a group of young men, or young women (girls can be just as dangerous, especially in groups)? Are they directly in your path? Maybe you should change direction. Do you walk through a parking lot with your head down, texting frantically like so many we see these days? I actually had a young woman walk into the side of my car because she was texting and paying no attention to her surroundings. Are your arms full of packages and you purse dangling as you make your way to your car, only to realize your keys are in the bottom of your bag? You can’t stop every attack, but don’t make yourself an easy target. Most stranger attackers will move on to someone who appears compliant and clueless if presented with someone who looks like they would resist, are aware of their surroundings and will not be a compliant east victim.
Remember it isn’t just men, or people dressed “thuggishly” who can be a threat. Women and well dressed men can also be a threat. Ted Bundy found great success by pretending to be injured and in need of assistance to lure his victims. It is never “Rude” to protect yourself.