The Art of Self-Defense

Breaking the Intimidation Game--The Art of Self-Defense by Judith Fein, Ph.D. Art and cover by Nancy Worthington, M.F.A.

“Game Pieces” Cover of Breaking the Intimidation Game–The Art of Self-Defense by Judith Fein, Ph.D.
Art and cover by
Nancy Worthington, M.F.A.

The Artworks—Breaking The Intimidation Game
The Art of Self-Defense
The Cover “Game Pieces
© Nancy Worthington, 2010. Mixed-media collage, (12″h x 9″w)
“Game Pieces” is a compilation/collage of pieces of artworks
that appear in the chapters as colorplates. The images chosen represent
facets of the psychological concepts of the intimidation
game—vulnerability, fear, strength and power. Images are at once
playful and serious. The colors are bold and strongly contrasting as
are the concepts of victim and resister described in this book.

Chapter One
AN OVERVIEW—Taking The First Step
FIGURE 1.1 “Mirror Mirror On The Wall,
Where’s The Beauty In Us All?”

Mirror Mirror on-the-Wall-Where's The Beauty In Us Allf

“Mirror Mirror on-the-Wall-Where’s The Beauty In Us All”

© Nancy Worthington, 1972. Mixed-media Assemblage (84″h x 42″w x 12″d)
The title, taken from the fairy tale Snow White, expresses a traditional
role of females in our society, i.e., the preoccupation with
fleeting outward appearance and being trapped by external looks.
“Mirror Mirror On The Wall…” encourages women to look inward,
to take the first step (as depicted by the steps in the mirror) to
move in the direction of finding the internal strength (as seen in the
puzzle face) and the ability to become powerful and self-reliant, not
just a pretty face.

Chapter Two

The Intimidation Game
FIGURE 2.1 “Change”


“Change”© Nancy Worthington, 1977. Mixed-media Interactive Construction

“Change” Assemblage (78″h x 52″w x 30″d)
The sculpture “Change” explores the interaction of people with
the psychological games of the society. The pie-shaped wedges on
the front of the sculpture “Change” contain words which generate
free and random associations within each viewer’s life. Visual
images of fear and pain are juxtaposed with more comically absurd
elements. Change signals opportunities for growth. The viewer is
invited to stand on the back of the “Change” sculpture and while
placing one’s feet over the “footnotes” and one’s hands over the
hands on the sculpture (palms facing the sculpture) contemplate the
concept of positive change in one’s own life.
Chapter Three
SUCCESS STORIES—“If She Can Do It – So Can I”
FIGURE 3.1 “Acceptance and Rebellion”

Acceptance and Rebellion

Acceptance and Rebellion

© Nancy Worthington, 1976. Hand-colored Lithograph (24″h x 18″w)
“Acceptance and Rebellion” is part of a series of three Limited
Edition hand-colored lithographic prints. Worthington states, “As
an attitude toward life, acceptance may bring harmony and accord, but
in rebellion one finds personal strength and conviction. Does not the
unconventional mind give birth to freedom of the spirit?” In this artwork,
images are released from the subconcious and brought to awareness
as symbolic projections. The imagery in “Acceptance and Rebellion”
relates to the ambiguity of the human condition and the contradictions,
dualities or polarities of our social and psychological situations.

Chapter Four
Keeping Your Personal Power On The Streets
FIGURE 4.1 “Nimble, Jack B.”

Nimble, Jack B.

Nimble, Jack B.

© Nancy Worthington, 1984. Mixed-media Wall Relief (20″h x 16″w)
“Nimble, Jack B.” is one of seven wall relief pieces in the
“Mother Goose Series.” The Jack B. Nimble character, for this chapter,
represents the agility and awareness necessary to jump out of
harm’s way. Again, as in the artwork for Chapter Three, the images
are subconscious, yet representational.
Chapter Five
With Practical Applications
FIGURE 5.1 “Reich’s Bullseye”

Reich's Bullseye

Reich’s Bullseye

© Nancy Worthington, 1976. Mixed-media Wall Relief (45″h x 38”w x 24″d)
This artwork portrays rape with vividness of detail, depicting
the structure of our society in which men are conditioned to
become the aggressors and women the victims. “Every social order
produces in the masses of its members that structure which it needs to
achieve its main aim,” William Reich. “Reich’s Bullseye” is in the
Permanent Collection of the National Museum of Women in the
Arts in Washington, D.C.
Chapter Six
Defense Against Known Assailants
FIGURE 6.1 “Come Into My Parlor” Said The Spider
To The Fly
Come Into My Parlor Come Into My Parlor Said the Spider to the Fly
© Nancy Worthington, 2008. Mixed-media Kinetic Construction
(72″h x 32″w x 23″d)
Loosely based on the early 19th Century poem by Mary Howitt,
called “The Spider and the Fly”, the artwork explores different
manifestations of entrapment, flattery, and human behavior. Viewer
participation enhances emotional interaction with the artwork;
the viewer is enticed to push a button, or pull open a drawer, being
drawn in and caught by the interactive sculpture.
Chapter Seven
FIGURE 7.1 “Le Reveil De La Femme Fatale Lavande”

Le reveil de la Femme Fatale Lavande

Le reveil de la Femme Fatale Lavande

© Nancy Worthington, 1976. Mixed-media Assemblage/Construction
(80″h x 28″w x 34″d)
This sculpture explores the vulnerabilities and strengths of being
a woman, in the context of marriage and divorce, and acceptance
and non-acceptance of traditional roles. The word, le reveil, the
awakening, refers to self-realization. The top third of the artwork
focuses on the accepted traditional role of women: marriage (i.e.
the bridal veil), passivity, and controlled behavior. The bottom two
thirds reveal the strength that it takes to break from the traditional
mold along with the emotional trauma accompanying this change.
Chapter Eight
How To Fight Back And Win
FIGURE 8.1 “Cinderella Liberty”

Cinderella Liberty

Cinderella Liberty

© Nancy Worthington, 1974. Colored Pen and Ink Drawing
(30″h x 24″w)“Cinderella Liberty” is from the series, “Cycle of Female
Rights and Rites”, created in the 1970s during the height of the second
wave of the feminist movement. “Cinderella Liberty” was used as
the cover artwork for Judith Fein’s book, Exploding The Myth of
Self-Defense. The bold colors and strong imagery depict a Wonder
Woman-like figure rising out of the ashes of the patriarchy.

Chapter Nine
FIGURE 9.1 “The Age of Anxiety”
The Age of Anxiety
© Nancy Worthington, 1982. Mixed-media Illuminated with Sound Kinetic
Construction/Assemblage (75″h x 91″w x 54″d)
“Who needs full color when real life is so black and white?” Is reality
black and white, or something in between—all gray. This is
indeed the age of anxiety—a stress producing technological society.
There is anxiety over security and communication, and anxiety
over the very theft of our identities. This is an interactive machinelike
construction which involves the viewer in her/his own set of
responses to technology and the apprehension of danger.
Chapter Ten
Breaking The Intimidation Game
FIGURE 10.1 “Women Triumphant”

Women Triumphant

Women Triumphant

© Nancy Worthington, 1996. Pen, Ink and Colored Pen Drawing (12”h x 9”w)
“Women Triumphant” was created specifically for the cover of
Judith Fein’s book, How To Fight Back and Win. Victorious women,
who have conquered their societal and internal demons (shown
at the top of the image in dark green), are revealed with a mix of an
accomplished smile, pumped fist, and blaring trumpets of women
celebrating the joy of self-defense.

The Artist—Nancy Worthington, M.F.A.
An internationally acclaimed artist, Nancy Worthington’s
unique and controversial style has attracted thoughtful art patrons
the world over with her creations of political/social commentary
art. She has been creating these amazing artworks for over 35 years.
In 1976, her controversial life-size sculpture, “Euthanasia” was
censored from an exhibition at Syntex Corporation in Palo Alto,
CA. Television interviews, the SF Chronicle and the Associated
Press covered this incident.
Worthington’s insightful and courageous art drew national and
international attention in February 2003, when “The Crossing”,
from her 26 artwork George Dubya Series, created from 2000-2004,
was censored from the French Cultural Center in San Francisco.
The Sunday New York Times, Le Monde (in Paris) and The World
of Art Magazine (Stockholm Sweden), all featured the story and
In the summer of 2008, Worthington’s artwork “Gateway to
Hope”, accepted into the International Women’s Biennial VIII,
at the China National Art Gallery in Beijing, was censored by the
China National Censorship Board.
Always controversial and forging her own path, Nancy
Worthington was the first woman to graduate with an M.F.A. in
sculpture from Pennsylvania State University in 1972.
Worthington’s artworks represented the U.S.A. in the 18th
International Biennial in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her works are in the
permanent collections of the National Museum of Women in
the Arts in Washington, D.C., the U.S. State Department Art in
Embassies Program, The San Jose Museum of Art, The Mills
College Art Museum, among others, and private collections worldwide;
with artworks exhibited in the United States, Europe, South
America, China, India and Japan.
Worthington places her images on a tightrope between comic
absurdity and tragic consequence. Art Historian Susan Platt,
comments: “In the tradition of Bosch and Breughel, Worthington feels
the injustices and ironies of our society. She uses her art as a vehicle for
arousing our awareness of situations that concern her.”
Worthington states, “It has been said that civilizations are recorded
and remembered by their wars and their art. The arts act as checks and
balances against the more destructive side of civilization. My sense of
hope for the future compels me to facilitate change with my art for a better,
more humane world.”
To view more images, information and video clips of Nancy
Worthington’s art, visit

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