[LMB] Women and the Warrior's Path

paal at gis.net paal at gis.net
Thu Jan 29 19:25:59 GMT 2009

----- Original Message Follows -----
> Eric Oppen wrote:
> > Myself, I see the lack of women on the Warrior's Path in literature 
> > and history less as a matter of an Evol Patriarchal Conspiracy To  
> > Suppress Women than as a matter of simple biology.
> >
> > First off---like it or not, men have a great deal more upper-body  
> > strength, on average, than women do.  Not that this is the be-all

Big deal, women have just as much leg strength, and there are issues
regarding training.... the difference between any two individual people
is -large- than any systematic gender differences as to strength, size,
mass, agility, etc.  The average Vietnamese male in 1069 was shorter
than the average woman in the USA at the time, for example, and the
average Watusi woman was taller than the average US male at the time....
the issue is one of CLASS put over INDIVIDUAL ability or merit... the
kingdom of Dahomey's most feared warriors in the 1880 were -women, who
were the troops the British Army wanted least to fight with for fear of

> > and   end-all, but, all other considerations aside, it's a great
> > help in a   pre-modern battle.  And I've been around the SCA and
> > know that women   can train to overcome this---but it is there.
> This is was very important as long as they were swinging swords,

Swords were far from the only instruments of war... what is in the
historical record is what survived over time, redactions, revision,
rewriting, censoring, expungings, and losses of documents all along the
way.... one of these days I am going to track down and buy a copy of
e.g. Forgotten Queens of Islam... all those descendants of Mohammed are
descendants of his -daughter-, and either she and/or one of Mohammed's
wives, was/were warriors.  For that matter, at least one of Philip II of
Macedonia's queens was a warrior.... 

The Athenians were a pack of white male supremacists, with every
perjorative applying and then some--anyone who wasn't one of their
fellows, and after that, a free Greek male, was chattel to
them--"barbarian" meant "non-Greek' and they accorded no rights to those
who weren't Greek, and theose who weren't male.... Athenian democracy
was a slavery-based institution and an institution also predicated on
enchattelization of women. The legends of the city, that once the women
had the vote and that was why the city was names Athens, whereupon the
men punished the women by taking away all their rights, is extremely
> > Secondly---in Them There Days, there _wasn't_ any method of birth  
> > control (apart from abstinence) that actually _worked_---and there  
> > ain't no such thing as "maternity armor."  When you have young men
> > and   women in the middle of their randiest years, all thrown
> > together,   there _will_ be s*x (as I pause to get out the smelling
> > salts for   anybody offended that I mentioned the Dread Subject) and
> > , in the   absence of birth control, or its deliberate non-use
> > (don't ask me why;   I have a few theories, but psychology is not my
> > main area of expertise   by any means) this will inevitably lead to
> pregnancies. >
> >   
> Also, rape was used in warfare.   Also, since in those times

What about the fact that it got used on other -men-? .....

> population  increasing was very important - population created wealth,
> power, and  safety.   The critical component of child production was
> the women, and  childbearing killed a lot of them out.   The powerful

One of the reasons why the Greeks lost out to the Romans was because the
Greeks did NOT value women and did NOT want to raise daughters as
freeborn free-raised daughter... see e.g. Women in Hellenistic Egypt by
Sarah Pomeroy was it, "Every man, even a poor man, will raise a son. 
Every man, even a poor man, will expose a daughter."  See e.g. The
Kindness of Strangers -- a book that discusses ancient slavery, there
are at least two books with the same title--regarding exposure of
infants--Greek and Roman families often exposed daughters particularly,
for the neighbors to collect and raise a slave.  The reasons included
that daughters economically were expensive to a family, they required
downries, and the family got nothing in return economically to
recompense them the expense of raising the daughter and providing a
dowry--the family she married into benefitted. 

Ancient Greece suffered depopulation of its citizenry, because of a
shortage of freeborn freeraised women.... 

> did not want to  waste this resource on the battlefield.
> > Last, but never least, because of the above, women were almost never
> >   given serious training in arms, and it took _years_ to get good
> > with a   lot of those things.  I do know about samurai women, but
> > Tomoe Gozen   was very unusual, from all accounts---most samurai
> > women learned   _naginata_ mainly as a self-defense weapon, not so
> > they could go out   on the battlefield themselves.
> >   
> That is a matter of culture though - it can be changed by the author
> who  defines that culture.
> ========
> I heard an article on the radio one time, reviewing a book some
> academic  wrote after he toured the Mediterranean.   He observed quite
> a few  temples that had originally been temples to goddesses, but
> which later  got changed to temples to gods.   After some research, he
> found each  region converted its temples at about the time when that
> region became  literate.   His hypothesis is that before literacy,
> women's social  strengths served them well in political and religious

one of my points is that we don't KNOW how much got REMOVED or LEFT OUT,
what we know is what;s survived and been translated.... and what digs
have had written up--and often the assumptions and attitudes of the
researchers were far from open-minded.  

There was a recent situation where the graves in a British church
cemetary got dug up, and the bones compared against the actual parish
records... there were lots of surprises, the bones of a lot of women,
without the records, would have been recorded as being MEN'S bodies, by
the archaeologists... 

> activities.   But  literacy allowed the rules to be codified, creating
> an equal footing in  these areas.   Then men's physical strengths
> allowed them to dominate,  and so they did.
> In our crowded modern world, your neighbors' children are not seen as 
> assets to you and yours anymore - instead they are seen as 
> competition.   We no longer smile at the family with a dozen children,
> and no longer condemn "old maids" (and are more open to
> homosexuality).
> The advantages of more upper body strength are less important though, 
> and with women freed from spending their short lives child rearing,
> they  can compete better in the work place.   I see more low level
> female  managers in the IS industry than men - this is where social
> skills shine. -- 
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