There was a time when I wouldn't think of hitting a female. However, in the current era of gender equality and under the same circumstances, If a member of the fair sex grabbed me by my shirt collar I cannot be sure that I wouldn't knock her into the next zip code. Assault is assault and everyone has a right to defend themselves.
time spent as a doorman in a past life has forced me to come to some concrete conclusions.
1. When a woman is physically trying to beat your ass, you need to do something (I'm not a fan of the biting, scratching crap and do not wish to loose a chunk of flesh.)
2. The best way to deal with it is to restrain her (generally.) I had the advantage that usually the police were on their way already (almost every time a woman went after me it was because her boyfriend was being restrained.)** Usually they don't attack you if it is a cat fight you are breaking it up...
3. Unless it is big Birtha (or a certain woman I know nameed Amanda, who will probably beat the living shit out of you before you would even get an arm up to block) there is no reason to hit a woman.
The long and the short of it is that if you are 230lbs and you honestly think that knocking any woman "into the middle of next week" is acceptable, you need help. It is no longer "defending" yourself as you ought to be able to find another way (unless it is Amanda, then you are probably fucked and should not have pissed her off to start with...)
**I'm reminded of the one time when the RCMP showed up after being called for her boyfriend and I opened their back door, tossed her in and apologized to them... Yes, I knew the officers- I was trying not to put her to the ground, but she was biting, scratching, screaming and even spitting. I tried letting her go once, but she decided to hit another doorman who was holding her BF. The crowd was actually cheering for me to put her down- quite something... No, you are not supposed to put anybody in the back of a cop car on your own.