Everything That’s Wrong with Us

Posted: February 14, 2009 in Revoking Her Dame Card
Tags: , ,

…well, not everything, but it feels pretty close. Honestly, I’m at odds with this post and its subject matter.

weblogo3I am referring to the Stiletto Spy School where for a mere $395, a gal can spend her weekend learning some basic self-defense, how to play poker, and “advance seduction skills”, and honestly, I’d rather not know what that entails.

Like it’s bastard step-sister, aka The “Sexpionage” Conference, this sort of nonsense bothers me to no end. You can’t fully blame the boys for a woman’s lack of respect in the intelligence trade when a fellow dame rats us out with this kind of malarkey.

But here’s the thing: the concept isn’t half bad. If this outfit wanted to spend a weekend solely instructing women on the basics of HUMINT, or signals intelligence, or cryptology, or some basic tradecraft like dead drops and brush passes, I would be all for it. That not only sounds like fun to me, but something that also happens to be very real to the trade. I liken the endeavor to my feelings towards Riverdance. I really don’t accept the notion that in order for the public to enjoy the simple and lovely dance form of Irish Step Dancing, one must sex it up, tart it out, and generally bastardize its very existence. Yes, I really dislike Riverdance. Go see the real thing sometime, it will surprise you.

It is in this vein of thought that the powers-that-be at the Stiletto Spy School felt the need to make the spycraft experience “more appealing” by slapping a pink-flavored sex-stink on it with educational lessons in, and I’m not joking here, pole-dancing, making a martini, and let’s not forget that “advance seduction skills” class (and, yup, I still don’t want to know what that is about).

So, where does that leave us? Shall I embark on the rant of the devaluation of women here or does it seem inherently implied?

  1. stilettospy says:

    Hi Girl Spy,
    I appreciate your comments. Women who really do this for a living don’t often take well to the light hearted approach to it.
    Totally understandable.
    If you spent years learning something and some one came along and said – “easy breezy, in just one day… ” of course it wouldn’t go over well.
    Thing is, we aren’t pretending to turn women in to bona fide members of the intellgence community.
    What we are trying to do is give women a bit of a fantasy, a ton of fun, some real skills, some fanciful ones and a whole lot of increased confidence and sense of self.

    The instructors that we use for any of or “hard skills’ are top in their field. We have former Special Opps guys, Israeli Mosad, Seals, etc teaching the classes. We aren’t kidding when we call it military hand to hand combat. Same for fire arms.

    Even though she may only get a few hours of training in each of these in one of our days, it is more then the average women ever had, and hopefully, enough to give her something in her ‘tool kit’ should anything awful ever happen.
    Simply being exposed to these kinds of things and learning that there is something they can do is really powerful.

    As far as the ‘seductive dance’, we believe that a woman’s power comes from every part of her being. That part of the day is about letting them feel a little freer in their skin, feeling sexy from the inside out and feeling in control of their own power as a woman. It’s not about some one else.

    When we have poker instructors come in, they teach the game sure, but they are also teaching negotiation skills and how to read people. The women may keep playing poker, but even if they don’t, they just may be able to take some of that skill and use it in their next business meeting.
    They guys I know say they use it all the time…

    Of course, those are just a few of the things we cover. Any and all adventurous skills are fair game in our curriculum.

    (Martini’s ? – yeah, thats just for fun !)

    All in all – It’s a really empowering fun day (or weekend ), for those women who don’t have access to do all the cool stuff that you do, or that the ‘glamorous spy girls in the movies’ do on a regular basis. They love that female icon, but that isn’t the choice they’ve made.

    Here’s what women wrote in recently:
    “all I can say is that if you want to face your fears – no matter how big or how small — conquer them, and have a heck of a lot of FUN doing it…then this is the place for you. An unforgettable adventure and “experience”. You’ll go home with new skills you hopefully never have to use, and other skills you’ll be very happy to use.”

    “I feel more confident, stronger, and have friends (that know how to cover my back) all over the country.
    Thanks to Stiletto Spy School, I am a force!”

    (there’s lots more like that on our website and facebook page if you’d like to look)

    Those are some pretty powerful ways for “ordinary women” to feel, and I hope that as a woman, you support them in that.

    Look us up if you’re in NY, I think you’d be surprised at how much fun our days can be!

    Warm Regards,

  2. girlspy says:


    Thank you for the response. However, I would ask you to step back and consider how the branding of this outfit comes across on national media. The NPR piece on SSS really didn’t do you many favors with certain women. I received dozens of emails after it aired (none of them complimentary) asking if I was familiar with your school. I first went to your website before listening to the radio segment and I didn’t think it was too horrible. Then I listened to the radio piece which left me more inclined to agree with the detractors.

    The core of the program seems like it would be very interesting, but when it is promoted in a silly and sexually suggestive manner, more akin to “Spy-FI”, it comes across as a turn-off to women who would otherwise be interested.

    So this leads me to wonder, does this say more about your program or more about women in general? You have a product to sell and if your core demographic requires the girly-girly schlock to sell them on your offerings, that’s beyond your control. Business is business.

    And hey, I love my girly elements as much as the next gal, but I don’t see it as core to my being. I can learn to handle to an AK-47 without feeling like I have to have the carrot of a mani-pedi attached to somehow make it okay to enjoy.

    I just would like to point out that there is another segment of woman who would be interested in these types of classes and don’t require a pole-dancing to feel like an empowered woman (although I highly doubt you are going to sell those women on pole dancing somehow being empowering).

    Best luck with the school. Thank you for dropping in.

    Best Regards,

    GiRl SpY

  3. ktlbell says:

    Well, GiRl SpY is right on this one. I, too, checked out Stiletto Spy School after seeing the name somewhere…. To ‘pretend’ to teach skills such as hand-to-hand combat, firearms skills, etc, is an insult to those of us who actually are proficient in such skills after years of training, (not a weekend of fun and martinis and lap dances mixed in). I get it, the self esteem building. The women I read about should perhaps take up hobbies more in tune with their personalities. I read one attendee who posted about ‘being able to kill someone with my bare hands’. Absolute rubbish, laughable nonsense. Will she actually try this in real life?? Gosh I hope not, she’ll be sadly in way over her head. She looked like she couldn’t fight her way out of a paper sack. So while I get the gig, it’s a way to make money and provide a bonding for women, a trendy new kid in town…. let’s hope the women realize they are not for real. Carry on.

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