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The curse of warrior women Violent militarism and sexual desire always overlap

Slay queen. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Slay queen. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)


January 25, 2024   6 mins

If history teaches us anything, it’s that you can’t be a warrior woman without some guy wondering what you’d look like going commando. According to Herodotus, after the Greeks defeated the Amazons, they loaded three ships with captives — only for the Amazon women to kill the ships’ crews and make landfall on coast of Scythia.

There they first fought with local Scythian men, only for those men to set up camp near them, creating an uneasy standoff. Herodotus recounts how the tension broke when a Scythian man met a lone Amazon woman near the camp, and sparks flew. After this, the two groups came together to form couples — though, even then, the Amazons refused to become Scythian village women, insisting their newfound husbands instead adopt their nomadic, pillaging ways.

The combustible cocktail of militarism and female sex appeal causes meltdowns to this day. Recently, news that 22-year-old US Air Force Second Lieutenant Madison Marsh had become the first active-duty soldier to be crowned Miss America caused instant media pandemonium: “She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’s bad to the bone,” said NewsNation.

Marsh is a serving servicewoman, accomplished martial artist, and Harvard graduate student as well as beauty queen: not so much “bad to the bone” as a genuinely impressive avatar of modern American respectability. Even so, does her victory really represent another step in the long march toward women being able to Have It All? In a very limited sense, perhaps. And if recent mutterings from the MoD about reintroducing conscription come with a side order of liberal feminism, perhaps the young women of Britain will soon be obliged to Have It All too, whether they want to or not.

No doubt, should this happen, some will claim it’s progress. But delving into the long history of women warriors reveals three interconnected truths. First, that female fighters are a long way from being a “stereotype-smashing” recent development. On the contrary, as far back as history reaches, there have been warrior women. And wherever such figures appear, we also find an overlap between violent militarism and sexual desire.

The upshot of this is that the role played in warfare by fighting women is rarely as straightforward as that of their male counterparts. Female soldiers may sometimes be ferocious fighters. But they almost always become propaganda figures as well. And in this dynamic, sex is never far from the surface — sometimes with horrifying consequences.

In modern military history, Nazi Germany was perhaps the force most committed both to bringing women into the military, and also to keeping their roles distinct from those of men. By the end of the Second World War, the total number of female Wehrmacht auxiliaries had risen to some 500,000, in roles such as signalling, operating Flak guns, or freeing up men for front-line service by performing clerical and back-office work. But Wehrmachthelferinnen were enjoined to serve without sacrificing their femininity, and never fought at the front.

By contrast, and in keeping with the Communist commitment to radical egalitarianism, the Soviet force that opposed them included many front-line female fighters. Of these, perhaps the most famous is the Ukrainian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, also known as “Lady Death”. The most lethal female sniper in history, Pavlichenko notched up 309 confirmed kills, including 36 enemy snipers, before being retired after a shrapnel wound.

Popular profiles of Pavlichenko tend to treat her as a feminist trailblazer, albeit a dark one. Coverage of more modern Ukrainian female soldiers participating in the country’s defence against Putin has tended to come wreathed in a similar haze of you-go-girl liberal feminism, as have recent reports from Gaza that female IDF troops will now fight on the front line for the first time. Here, we find approving sentiments about the exigencies of war “upending” sexist “preconceptions about women in combat” and celebrating the denunciation of an “ultraconservative rabbi” who said Israeli female soldiers were “not Jews”.

We can infer that in America-aligned conflicts, winning means defeating not just the enemy, but also sexism everywhere. But a closer look at women in war throughout history complicates this picture, revealing a danger-zone for women warriors between two very different kinds of battle. And in this sense, at least in Herodotus’s account, the Amazons are perhaps the least ambivalent case in point. As he tells it, the Amazon rapprochement with the local Scythian men seems to have been broadly consensual, after the initial outbreak of fighting. Even so, the word Herodotus uses to describe the coming-together of the Amazons and their Scythian suitors — ጐϰτÎčÎ»ÏŽÏƒÎ±ÎœÏ„Îż — raises modern feminist scholarly hackles because some read it as meaning “had sex with” but also “tamed”. There is a connotation not just of sexual intimacy, but also of defeat, and masculine dominance.

This slippage between sexual intimacy and war, between “conquest” and conquest, disturbs modern sensibilities profoundly. But it pervades the literature of love, from Herodotus and Ovid through Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The White Stripes. A woman may be temporarily presented as a military figure — but the moment she is perceived as sexually available, military war is over, and another kind of conquest is sought. And the most famous warrior woman of the Middle Ages, Joan of Arc (1412-1431), saw this dynamic as such a grave threat to her effectiveness as a military leader that she fought almost as fiercely to defend herself against accusations of having surrendered sexually, as she did against the risk of surrendering militarily. Even after her capture, she enjoined the English to have a woman examine her for proof of virginity. And perhaps no wonder — even more than a century later, Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays set out to smear her posthumously by depicting her as a “trull” (whore) and suggesting she tried to escape death by pretending to be pregnant.

This in turn reveals a second, interconnected role played by women in war: as propaganda figureheads. Though commonly depicted in armour, Joan was never directly involved in fighting. Rather, she served as strategist and — importantly — as a rallying-point and morale-booster for scattered and battle-worn French forces who had been fighting on and off for decades by the time she appeared. In other words, Joan’s core role was less as a soldier than a symbolic figurehead — and to this end, within the moral framework of her era, the question of whether or not she remained “unconquered” was of immense significance.

Though the modern world is less fixated with virginity than Joan’s, more contemporary front line female soldiers also find themselves routinely confronted with questions about sexiness. On Pavlichenko’s 1942 US tour, despite her evident dedication to combat and lack of interest in being flirty, American journalists often seemed more interested in her femininity than her military achievements. She gave them short shrift, retorting to a question about makeup: “Who had time to think of her shiny nose when there is a battle going on?” And when one said that the cut of her uniform made her look fat, she replied that she wished he could experience a bombing raid, as “you would immediately forget about the cut of your outfit”.

But, deadly though Pavlichenko was, it appeared — like Joan — that her real power still lay less as a sharp-shooter than as a symbol. Batting away crass remarks about her looks, she addressed vast crowds, had a song written about her by Woody Guthrie, and helped to draw America deeper into the war. And while the modern-day Ukrainian sniper, “Lady Death”, Evgeniya Emerald, didn’t face the same salacious speculations about her sexual availability as either Joan or Pavlichenko, she nonetheless retired from combat after falling in love with a Ukrainian soldier and becoming pregnant in 2022. Even so, she has continued to serve as a propaganda figure: one who commands more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, where her more recent timeline has blended pregnancy and baby shots with fundraisers for the Ukrainian war effort.

As for the Amazons, for all that they seem to have relented of their own accord, Herodotus’s story suggests that whether men and women clash or cooperate on the literal battlefield, it’s not so easy to uncouple metaphorical conquest from the physical kind. Even Hitler’s Wehrmachthelferinnen were disparagingly referred to as “Offiziersmatratzen”, or “officers’ mattresses”, a reference to their supposed sexual availability.

Such encounters gesture in turn at the other, far less consensual aspect of this link between conquest and conquest: sexual violence. However much we fly the flag for gender parity, historically, the role women have played in warfare is not just as warriors, propagandists, or some mix of the two. The other point where sex and war collide is in “conquest” not of the metaphorical, romantic kind but the brutal, violent, and violating sort.

No doubt there were Wehrmachtshelferinnen among those German women who, after the war ended, bore the brunt of the notorious mass rape of German women by Pavlichenko’s one-time fellow soldiers. “The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from eight to 80,” reported the Soviet war correspondent Natalya Gesse. “It was an army of rapists.” In this, though, the Soviet army was hardly alone. Wherever the most violent and bloodthirsty human instincts are unleashed in war, rape re-emerges as a weapon. Against this, we might wonder what we’re really asking of those women now being lionised as you-go-girl avatars for “gender equality” amid the fog of war.

But perhaps, from the perspective of military propaganda, it doesn’t matter either way. If, for example, the service of Israeli women on the frontlines makes inspiring and sympathetic content for a Western readership, so too does their suffering if events turn against them. When such women are captured, and — inevitably — brutalised, their empty eyes and bloodstained faces also make for powerful propaganda.

Behind the cultural power of sex and war, then, lurk two dark, enduring facts. Firstly, that most men can kill most women with their bare hands, while the reverse is not true; and secondly, that most men prefer — consensually or otherwise — the other kind of conquest. Accordingly, throughout history, warrior women have played an ambivalent role in conflict: sort of fighting, but also sort of sex objects, and — in the confusing but powerful emotions this combination evokes — almost invariably vectors for propaganda.

I doubt there is any changing this. Whatever the blank-slatists may believe, there is likely no curing humankind of intermittent outbreaks of bloodthirstiness. And I doubt there’s much we can do either to eradicate the age-old patterns of human sexuality — even when their persistence obstructs the liberal feminist pursuit of absolute “gender equality” all the way to the battlefield. If this is so, women might ask themselves: is this kind of equality really something to fight for?


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Arthur G
Arthur G
5 months ago

A society sending its young women to war in any meaningful number is suicidal and insane. The future of any society is in it’s young women. A society can (and some have) lose 50% or even 80% of its young men, and it will bounce back in a generation. You could lose 100% of people over 50, and you’ll recover to a fairly normal age distribution in 20 years.. Lose a large proportion of the 16-30 y.o women, and the society will be stunted for generations. It’s just the reality of human demographics.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Obviously the solution is to inform 50% of the incoming male soldiers that they now identify as female. Presto, instant gender parity.

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

The cultural rule against polygamy in western civilization destroys this argument. After WWI Britain could have bred a large army for WWII but the extra women went unmarried and childless. Turkey with 4 wives per surviving man was able to replace its WWI loses as replace the expelled Greek and Armenian populations of their nation. Brittan found itself with a shortage of troops in WWII as a result of this rule.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

It’s easier to overturn cultural monogamy, if necessary, than it is to overturn death.
Also, perhaps it’s best for everyone if we don’t just think of breeding men just to fight the next war.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

but it’s okay to think we should limit women’s activities because of their importance to the society’s propagation?

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I was responding to a specific reply, not addressing every issue raised in the article. So I never stated nor implied whether it was OK or not ok for women to limit their activities so that they can propagate.

However, as you ask, if a society is concerned about its survival into the next generation because large numbers of females want to join the army, then why not prevent them from being killed? It’s a non-issue though, as large numbers don’t want to join the armed forces, and if it’s only a small number then it is not a societal survival issue.

P N
P N
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes, axiomatically. Preserving and caring for that which is precious is definitionally good.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Eh, yes.

Howard S.
Howard S.
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Actually, yes.

Jim C
Jim C
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Most wars are based on a highly collectivist idea of what’s best for society.

The fact is, until very recently, the technology of war involved smiting the enemy with sharp blades for hours on end, or hurling sharp things at them from a safe distance, neither activity favoring women’s physiology.

Even after the advent of gunpowder, much warfare involved hoiking vast quantities of ammunition across difficult terrain before using it.

One of the advantages the US had over the Japanese in the Pacific theatre, was that the average US grunt was so much bigger and stronger than his Japanese counterpart, and could carry more (and larger caliber) weapons and ammunition into battle.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

Exactly.

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

It doesn’t destroy the argument. The argument postulates that ‘A society can (and some have) lose 50% or even 80% of its young men, and it will bounce back in a generation.’ This is clearly arithmetically true
If any society, western or otherwise, has a cultural rule against polygamy that doesn’t mean it ‘can [not]’ happen, or ‘may [not] have’ happened somewhere. It just suggests it is less likely to happen under those circumstances.

Francis Phillips
Francis Phillips
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

It was not just a cultural rule. It was and is the enduring Christian concept of marriage: one man, one woman. This flew (and flies) in the face of pagan customs.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Prudery is counterproductive breeding canon fodder..

Jim C
Jim C
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

A suspicious person might even think the Welfare State is a way to get around this problem.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

 â€˜polygamous societies over produce elites rapidly and come to an end quickly’ Peter Turchin

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

This is true, but would be much less than ideal for that society. Multiple women would be competing over the desirable men, if any, that are left. Most women dislike infidelity, but would have to tolerate it if the only other choice is to be childless or alone. A shortage of men isn’t great for women, and is probably why post WWII life was so miserable for many war torn societies in Europe.
Men in their fifties, in many occupations, would be at the pinnacle of their productivity. Surgeons, technicians, attorneys, accountants, executives, and not least of which military officers peak in their 50s and tend to work well into their 60s. Losing these highly skilled, educated, and experienced men to wars or some other disaster would be much like burning down a library.
Very young societies aren’t particularly stable. Many developing countries, like in sub-Saharan Africa, are very young, as are Palestinians and Iranians. China, though rapidly aging and totalitarian, is both highly stable and highly productive. The United States is still a high earning, consumer powerhouse, even though majority ethnic groups are on average in their late 40s and early 50s.

Liakoura
Liakoura
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

“The gender imbalance in China’s population has improved in recent years, with the gap narrowing from a record high 40.08 million in 2006 to 30.49 million in 2019.
Experts said the improvement comes from the aging tendency of the population and China’s efforts to crack down on illegal identifying the gender of the fetus, and illegal gender selection.”
However:
“It is [now] illegal in China to identify the gender before birth for non-medical purposes, or to terminate pregnancy for gender preference.
A positive sign is, in 2019, the gender ratio of 0-4 years old in China was 113.62, which is significantly lower than 116.85 of 5-9 years old, and 114.52 of 0-4 years old in 2018”.
Solving the gender imbalance will take time. “It will take about 50 to 60 years to slowly resolve the gender imbalance formed 20 to 30 years ago,” Peng said.
https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1209713.shtml#:~:text=The%20marriageable%20population%20is%20close,woman%20from%20same%20age%20groups.
The ‘one child family’ policy lasted from 1980 for 36 years.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
5 months ago
Reply to  Liakoura

Please use the word sex when that is what is meant. Sexual reproduction is how more Homo sapiens are produced. So-called transwomen despite claiming a female gender will never gestate a new human person.

Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Actually Alison, I think Liakoura was being entirely consistent. The word ‘gender’ was used in its biological meaning throughout the post. Not once was it used for the emotional aspirations felt by those who the media calls LGBT. ‘Sex’ is something people indulge in when they copulate. If you are talking about the bilogical differences between animals, including human animals, ‘sex’, though commonly misused, is inappropriate. ‘Gender’ is the correct term.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Philip Johnson

I don’t believe this is correct. The use of “gender” to mean biological sex by some people is a relatively new innovation. Feminists have persuaded most that gender is a social construct and has little to do with biology and everything to do with societal pressure.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
5 months ago
Reply to  Philip Johnson

‘He’ is a personal pronoun of the male gender. English language uses sex for humans and animals. Gender is for abstract concepts. It origins lie in the French word ‘genre’ which derives from the Latin ‘genus’, which indicates a group. The gender invented by John Money is a bogus term. Lysenkoism at its worst.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
5 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Perhaps worded as, let’s protect woman with wombs because they’re necessary but women without wombs can be placed on the frontline
 because they’re men

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Indeed. The current existence of the human race was dependent on the males developing an overwhelming urge to defend the women and children.
Evolution perpetuated those tribes with that genetic variant while those tribes without it died out as the men put their own survival above that of the fertile women and the young children.
(This is one reason why men are so powerless in the face of recent radical-feminist narrative: we just don’t know how to defend ourselves from that. The genetic prohibitions on ‘caring for the men’ kick in and prevent action.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It was – before effective contraception, thanks to which your society soon dies out anyway.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

You provide a very good theoretical reason for sending men to war instead of women.

There are practical considerations which both override the theory and support your conclusion.

Firstly, it doesn’t really matter whether you or society think women shouldn’t be sent to war or not. They aren’t going to turn up. Period. (No pun intended).

Sure, you have the Amazon stories, the odd poster girl who killed 70,000 Germans on her own, diversity quotas in the military today based on diluted standards…when it comes to it, there was no battle in history where women stepped in….even where the men got annihilated in a battle and you faced civilisational disaster, Cannae, Zama, Barbarossa, Alesia.. women didn’t step up to fill the depleted ranks. And it continues today as you can see in Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands dead, mostly poorly trained civilians, and none of the girls power brigade demand gender equality.

The more important practical consideration in realistic terms is, will the men turn up. Historically they were taught to be extendable, to be fed to the grinder in factories, mines, battles, without complaint.
Today, Western White men are both insulted for being “toxic” and expected to carry on with the “man’s job”.
And so, the other part of your theory – that it makes sense to sacrifice the men – doesn’t work as well. They aren’t going to offer themselves up for “50-80% losses” for a society that doesn’t deserve it.

Western armies have shrunk to their smallest sizes in a century. And they still can’t find enough gullible men to join.

So in short, better pray that Britain and other West European countries don’t get into anything serious.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

In a major conflict like you are describing here, civilian casualties will be very high as well, so the argument against sending women to fight falls.

Jim C
Jim C
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

No, after WWI and II, there was a real imbalance between the numbers of men and women left.

Ida March
Ida March
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

“A society can (and some have) lose 50% or even 80% of its young men, and it will bounce back in a generation.”
Will it? Or will that society be traumatised for generations after the loss of so many sons, fathers, husbands and brothers. Did the loss of nearly 1 million British men in WW1 not traumatise the British people? I can remember older people still mourning their wartime losses in the 1960s.
The mass slaughter of men in a futile war does nothing for the soul of a nation. It breaks people’s hearts and destroys their faith in society.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

Exactly.

Jim C
Jim C
5 months ago
Reply to  Ida March

This is more of a reason to avoid wars altogether than to make equal numbers of women die in them.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

This has been true for most of human history, but I would give even odds a hundred years from now the technology will exist for scientists to breed human children en masse in a laboratory completely independently of man or woman and artificial wombs to carry them to term. I doubt they’ll go to the trouble, as AI driven robots will probably make up the bulk of military forces by that point. As a avid gamer, I know how effective computer programs can be at something simple and straightforward like kill enemies on sight. The algorithms governing video game enemies could be made better than human players by the late 90’s, in some cases much better, and they weren’t even true AI, just relatively simple algorithms with the advantage of superior processing speed, beyond human levels of precision, and perfect execution of any given action every single time.

Kat L
Kat L
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

We were supposed to have flying cars 30 years ago, how are they going to create humans in artificial wombs?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

I have no idea of course, but that’s really the only barrier left. The techniques to create artificial sperm and eggs already exist and fertility clinics have been doing artificial fertilization for a while now. At the other end, prenatal wards in hospitals can keep a baby alive at as early as 22 weeks. Artificial wombs to help improve the survival rates of those babies are already in testing. If they work well, who’s to say it can’t be extended all the way back to the start. I’m not a biologist, but from my limited understanding, we’re not far from having the ability to create clone troopers Star Wars style, but then we may be closer to creating battle droids. The limitation on the battle droids at this point are mobility and energy efficiency. Either way, I expect people and governments will still find ways to fight each other despite declining populations. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Couldn’t man-made robots fight battles? Drones are doing a good job right now.

William Shaw
William Shaw
5 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

They’re working on it. There’s a lamb that was gestated artificially. The financial rewards are simply too great to doubt it will ever come to fruition.

Jim C
Jim C
5 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

“We” did have flying cars 30 years ago, but a mixture of cost, practicality and regulations meant they never took off *ahem*.

Frankly, I think AI and robots will be cheaper and more effective soldiers than flesh-and-blood automatons produced by artificial wombs, but I have no doubt there are “top men” beavering away in “our” government-funded biolabs trying to make artificial wombs work.

William Shaw
William Shaw
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Feminists have been fighting against the constraints imposed on women by society
 one of the most important of these is the use of biology to limit what women may do in life.
To be consistent it’s obvious that women should serve on the front lines just like men.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

We wanted to be able to choose, not be forced to do everythingl that men do.

P Branagan
P Branagan
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Arthur G is SO sexist.
Females are EQUAL to males – end of!
However, if one were to believe in the output of Hollywood and the MSM (as I do!) they are superior to men in every way.
So when conscription is introduced in late 2024 I suggest the following priorities for infantry, artillery and tanker divisions:
1. All females academics from age 22 to 75 yrs
2. All female journalists from age 20 to 75 yrs
3. All female politicians from 18 to 90 yrs.
Once the first 15 divisions of infantry, artillery and tankers are fully allocated from that lot, the balance of roles in missiles, drones etc and navy, marines and airforce should be filled from the female population of 33 to 65yr olds. (We must protect those prime child bearing years Arthur old chap!)

This is in full acceptance of the current Western narrative that females are superior to males at everything – including what matters most – violence and national security – see Slow Horses for proof. Only the best of the best should be considered for front line duty.

Conscription of males should be confined to drivers for female officers, desk jobs, cooking and cleaning, stores, admin and creche duties.
I’ve already volunteered to be an assistant in a creche and I promise to give it my all.

Those first 15 divisions of amazons must be in Donbass before the middle of 2025 (see the Telegraph) where no doubt they’ll beat the living bejayus out of those nasty Ruskie males. The sole reason Ukraine lost over 500,000 KIAed so far is they sent males to fight on the front lines. How foolish can you be!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

That’s very silly and misogynistic.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Great point.
Also, if all the womenfolk go off to fight wars, who’s going to iron my shirts and make my sandwiches?
People aren’t thinking this through.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Obviously the figures distort if the women in question have no intention of bearing any children.. which is relatively common these days. If this can be established woman by woman the voluntary barren can be co-opted into the army with no loss of future population. A simple question to that effect can even be put (by fair means or foul) to determine who is expendible. Since this already applies to males there can be no room for dissent surely?

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

When I was in the military, years ago, during training I was part of a mixed-sex unit. Part of our training was learning to use a fireman’s carry to evacuate “injured” fellow soldiers from the battlefield. We were assigned pairs, and then had to take it in turn to carry each other about fifty feet. I was assigned a female soldier. I knelt down, allowed her to get into the fireman’s carry position, hoisted her up, and ran as quickly as I could the fifty feet before I risked dropping her, not being a particularly strong man.
Then it was her turn. She knelt, I took my position, eased my weight off my feet–and then we both went sprawling in the dirt. Not one of the female soldiers in my unit could carry one of the male soldiers. They couldn’t even carry each other. Yet all the male soldiers could carry the female soldiers, even if only for a short distance.

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago

A collapsable portable stretcher with wheels is needed. Like the portable luggage people use in airports, just all terrain wheels. Something that a unit can pull to avoid this problem. Carry extra ammo and supplies, tents etc. in the device until needed for an injured soldier.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Look at the history of the stretcher bearers in WW1. They started with training groups of 6 because of the losses in the Boer war. It became the carry. I stretcher bearer who could administer morphine and assess and comfort and limit shock and pain. Fighting is physical. The composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was a stretcher bearer although over age. The golden hour and casualty evac has direct links to WW1.

Forrest Lindsey
Forrest Lindsey
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

You can always spot the guy with zero military experience. Do you imagine that “collapsable portable stretchers with wheels” would work in combat? Got any idea what kinds of terrain, or obstacles, or conditions combat takes place in? Research Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Hurtgen Forest, Hill 881, or Fallujah as starting points. Man-carried stretchers are the only way casualties can be safely transported over rubble, fallen trees, through mud or steep hills.
Any idea of how much additional burden a wheeled stretcher would be to transport forward to a unit at the forward edge of the battle? How would you or the casualty rapidly take cover if you and your casualty are taken under fire?
Your invention should take its place on the shelf next to the “variable effects hand grenade”.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
5 months ago

I assumed his comment was a piss take.

Chipoko
Chipoko
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Bollocks!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

What happens when the unit encounters a fence, or a bog, or uneven ground, or barbed wire entanglements, or…..?

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
5 months ago

Do you really expect anyone to believe this garbage?
Do better.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

? I served in the Australian Army and I’m female. In my training it was the same experience.

denz
denz
5 months ago

Do you really expect anyone to believe your sour whinging on every topic?
Do one.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
5 months ago

What do you find difficult to believe? That the average female in the forces is smaller and less physically strong that the average male in the forces?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

The socialist is the resident troll who contributes exactly nothing, and whose only job is to disrupt and whinge. He/she/it derives satisfaction from responses; any response. I highly recommend ignoring this poster. I know it’s not easy, and I have on one or two occasions violated my own rule to not feed the troll, but in the long run it’s the only effective approach. Pathetic individuals like that even eat up the downvotes they get; any attention is good for the narcissist and the troll.

Francis Phillips
Francis Phillips
5 months ago

It’s extraordinary that this obvious biological reality needs to be argued in the first place. Women’s bodies are designed to carry babies, not men.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Well said.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

And your point is?

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago

Amazons have a problem: pregnancy and childcare. These are incompatible with military service. A young amazon fights for her country but when children arrive, she must hang up her weapons and become a stay-at-home mother until her children are grown. If the army will take her, she again becomes available for combat at about 45 years old when her children are grown. Amazons were described as archers since they always lost in hand-to-hand combat. With modern weapons women are as effective in combat as men. They just have to be protected from rape by their military superior officers who are often the offenders. The Army must prevent this problem. It has done a bad job in this area. The other problem is the tendency of conscript cowards to desert. A male conscript coward will shoot himself in the foot, but a female conscript will desert by throwing away her birth control pills. Even the famous Ukraine sniper Evgeniya Emerald, mentioned in the article seems to have taken this route out of the army.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Why must a mother become “stay at home”? Your attitudes belong in the past. The choice of whether to do so is entirely laudible although i’d probably draw the line at sending new mums back into combat – if that’s what you meant? I suspect from the tenor of previous comments that it wasn’t.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Because our children need us. That is timeless.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
5 months ago

Only up until birth. After that children can be brought up by a group of Mothers. A father-figure would be an advantage – living on a naval married patch many years ago we (men) were used to being used as Duty Dad/Husband when the need arose. Even feeding a young child can be done by a team of men. Trials by US departments in the 1950s proved that men can be made capable of lactating (either direct feeding or into storage) but only about 25% of the output of a female with the same natural bodymass. I suppose that a male lactator could double-up as a Duty Dad if they were short-handed.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“Why must a mother become “stay at home”?”
It is amusing how all these motions of “why should a woman…” or “why can’t a woman” get dropped when it comes to conscription for war or determining child custody in courts after divorce!

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I think you’ll find that most women accept their limitations, it’s the vocal minority that you’re referring to, and most women would happily see those women serving on the front.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Exactly.

A J
A J
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

She didn’t need to desert, though, as Ukrainian women are not conscripted. She chose to serve, and chose, legally, to stop.

Rob N
Rob N
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

“With modern weapons women are as effective in combat as men.”
While women might be as effective with a rifle or pistol as a man there is a lot more to combat than that: carrying heavy loads of kit and ammo, aggression, tabbing etc. Also when I was in the army not one of the women managed to c**k a GPMG from the prone position, all the men did.

Forrest Lindsey
Forrest Lindsey
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Women probably can carry a rifle – but good luck with the helmet, body armor, 200 plus rounds of ammunition, two full canteens, two frag grenades, and any additional mortar ammunition and radio batteries everyone else is carrying.
Extremely unlikely one woman in a hundred will be able to pull the cocking handle of an M2 .50 caliber machine gun – much less carry part of it.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Even with modern weapons sex differences matter. An NLAW anti-tank system (launcher+missile) weights 19kg. The safe manual-handling limit for an average woman is 16kg, 25kg for a man. The NLAW is famed for its low weight and is very effective, as the Russians know only too well. A Stinger MANPAD (launcher+missile) weights just over 25kg. Until infantry wars go all-robot, physical strength will be a factor.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Shooting from the ‘prone unsupported position’ can an also be a problem for obvious reasons.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

“With modern weapons women are as effective in combat as men. ”
And that’s why Ukrainian women are standing shoulder to shoulder with the 40 year old men who often just last a few days in the trenches, instead of running for their lives to Western Europe.

“They just have to be protected from rape by their military superior officers ”
Thankfully, the enemy is always too gallant to consider something like that.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Both.

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
5 months ago

Behind the cultural power of sex and war, then, lurk two dark, enduring facts. Firstly, that most men can kill most women with their bare hands, while the reverse is not true; and secondly, that most men prefer — consensually or otherwise — the other kind of conquest.”
Mary has touched on a much deeper truth here. Beautifully written.
A truth that lies at the very ‘base’ of humanity itself – as old as our evolution. A cautionary tale if ever there was one which appears to be lost to so many, given the one-sided narrative of the ‘illusion’ women have been sold by ‘having it all’.
As we know, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story – especially if it appeals to a fantastical vision of what one might wish reality might be.
A ‘unity’ of all aspects of our shared ‘humanity’, male and female, might have produced a different outcome. One can only hope for that light of reprieve somewhere in the future……one does still hope.
As always, kudos to you Mary.

Adam Grant
Adam Grant
5 months ago
Reply to  LeeKC C

Evolution may have favoured young women who joined hunting or raiding parties, as they could see who the most promising males were, and then get the first crack at breeding with them.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
5 months ago
Reply to  Adam Grant

Unless the women were killed while hunting or raiding.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

I commend Ms Harrington’s courage for engaging such a culturally-volatile subject and found her essay informative and thought-provoking. My hat’s off to anyone who risks their life to protect mine. I do not envy those in military leadership who are responsible for creating an environment that meets all of the requirements necessary to ensure the optimal conditions for intensely close interaction of such a wide spectrum of gender, religion, political outlook, education, material circumstance, and physical strength; all the while creating deployable effective military lethality and exposing themselves to criticism from every side. Glad it’s not my job.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
5 months ago

TL;DR:
1) Only men should have to die in wars.
2) Men also like to have sex with women.

Such brilliant insights. It doesn’t seem to occur to Ms Harrington, though, that some women WANT to fight for their country.

Claire D
Claire D
5 months ago

Some women WANT Gucci handbags, it does’nt mean they should be given them. There are plenty of useful ways women can serve their country without joining men on the frontline.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

You’ll never make it as a sniper. Way off target.

A J
A J
5 months ago

3) Only men start wars

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  A J

Venetia Stanley started the Great War.

Stevie K
Stevie K
5 months ago

Do please expand enough to enable later research

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Stevie K

In August 1914 Herbert Asquith PM (and nearly 62) was obsessed by the voluptuous body of one Venetia Stanley just 27.

There is copious correspondence to validate this unfortunate fact.

Thus his mind was on other things, as they say.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

You can hardly make her responsible for starting a war!

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago

The use of female combat troops has a problem: carrying power. They cannot carry an injured comrade or large backpacks. There is a possible solution to this problem. We need a device that can act as both a stretcher and a backpack. It must be light weight and quickly convertible from carrying tents, blanket extra ammo to a stretcher. It needs 2 wheels big enough for rough terrain. Save weight with aluminum or better titanium. It looks like a golf club bag and is pulled along with one hand free for a gun. When a soldier is shot, dump the backpack supplies container and the device then become a wheelbarrow to carry the soldier.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Are you suggesting that soldiers run around the battlefield and trenches with a sack barrow?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

not every battlefield is a perfectly flat, manicured piece of terrain. A wheelbarrow is not worth much in hilly areas that are strewn with rocks of all sizes. Also, a rifle requires the use of both hands.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Do any of our RAF Typhoons currently flying a 3,000 mile round trip to bomb the recalcitrant Houthis have female pilots does anyone know?

Presumably just like the Taliban before them, the aforementioned Houthis have NO SAM* capability whatsoever?

Otherwise I foresee a problem. If Pilot Officer ‘Goldilocks’ is shot down and captured what is likely to happen to her? Probably not being doused in 4 star unleaded petrol, placed in cage and incinerated, but something far more esoteric, and presumably ‘live streamed’ for a worldwide media audience.

(*Surface to Air Missile(s).)

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
5 months ago

Having just returned from Florence, where, among many other fantastic works of art, I had the privilege of gazing upon Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Judith Slaying Holofernes”, I might argue that the constant intrusion of sexual desire into the subject of female warriors is actually an advantage.
Of course, Western feminists probably don’t want to get into any discussions of how women’s most effective role in conflict might be as honeytraps, as Mary notes. However, it does not seem that controversial to say that, just as males will always be the physically stronger specimen, they will always have the Achilles heel of their own sexual desire. And that’s where women can strike.
Just ask Holofernes who ended up losing his head – first metaphorically because he couldn’t resist Judith’s advances, then in the literal sense.
Here’s the painting just in case anyone isn’t familiar with it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Slaying_Holofernes_(Artemisia_Gentileschi,_Florence)
Also saw another Gentileschi take on the same motif in Madrid in November (it’s currently on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection from the Pitti Palace in Florence): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_and_her_Maidservant_(Gentileschi,_Florence)

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Gentileschi had good reason to use her considerable artistic talent with these works. She was raped by her art teacher and then had thumbscrews applied at his trial as a “means” of ensuring she was telling the truth.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Easy to get around – when Napoleon wanted a woman, he stipulated that she enter his room naked, to ensure he didn’t go the same way as Holofernes.

Who, like Samson, is a character only of myth in any case

andy young
andy young
5 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

By a strange coincidence I went for an overnight trip to Florence with son & family a couple of weekends ago – strange because I haven’t been abroad for 20-odd years & first time to Italy. i seem to remember 2 or 3 paintings of that subject? All hideously gruesome. Made a change from the ubiquitous adorations of the Christ (very odd looking) Child, which I found a little … well, boring after the first 20 or so (the variation in no. of fingers held aloft not being sufficient to allay the ennui).
The paintings were gorgeous (interesting to see the abrupt change in style from flat, icon-style mediaeval to the richly coloured, dynamic Renaissance paintings). And the sculptures were fabulous (if a little … homoerotically posed??). Seeing the half finished works gave a sense of how these magnificent pieces were formed, chip by painstaking chip, from a humble lump of rock
But … overall I was a bit disappointed I’m ashamed to say. Perhaps because the time-frame over which it all happened was relatively short, so the art & architecture was rather homogeneous? Perhaps because of the out-of-season atmosphere which pervaded? More likely it was just me & the mood I was in.
Must get out more.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Not that hoary old canard about the Soviet/Ukrainian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko again?
Like nearly every utterance that came from the former Soviet Union it is a gross exaggeration to say the very least.

For the record the cognoscenti regard the WW II Finnish sniper Simo HÀyÀ*as the greatest exponent of the art.

(*1905-2002.)

William Amos
William Amos
5 months ago

I believe we are now expected to affirm that Joan of Arc was a Trans Man and view her life as a component part of Trans History, not women’s history.
https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/discover/blogs-and-features/2022/08/08/it-was-necessary-taking-joan-of-arc-on-their-own-terms/

Francis Phillips
Francis Phillips
5 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

We cannot affirm what was simply not true. The records of her trial recognise she was a woman; born as a female, lived as a woman, guarded her virginity as a woman and died at the stake as a woman. She called herself ‘Joan the Maid’ – to emphasise both her sex and her virginity.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
5 months ago

In a contest between historical evidence and Trans Truth, we know who will win at the moment.

Forrest Lindsey
Forrest Lindsey
5 months ago

An interesting essay – but misses the main point: ground combat requires unit cohesion and focus to survive and to succeed in their missions. Nothing ruins that focus more effectively than mixing young men with young women. Fire Teams, squads, platoons become sets of couples who are focused on each other’s survival, not on the whole unit. Worse, sexual attraction is not unipolar: multiple men can be interested in particular women (or multiple women in one man) and the losers are well armed. It is a recipe for dissolution and even mayhem in combat.
For whatever gratification people would want to have by seeing young women in uniform, it is a really unrealistic and dangerous idea.

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
5 months ago

Israeli women are currently fighting, effectively, in Gaza. You are out of touch

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

Keep telling yourself that he’s out of touch: https://stream.org/deployed-us-navy-pregnancy-problem-getting-worse/
Young men and women are young men and women. It’s true on a college campus, in professional life, and in the military. That Israeli women are fighting does not change that.

Forrest Lindsey
Forrest Lindsey
5 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

Au contraire, my dear: Israeli women are also serving as hostages, captured when Hamas seized them in the October 7th attack. Israel is using women in the proximity of combat only because it is a small country with a relatively small population.
I served in the Marines for 27 years, including 15 months in direct combat. Men work far better in stressful situations – and are far more likely to succeed and survive – without the distractions of sexual attraction.

Francis Phillips
Francis Phillips
5 months ago

Thank you for stating this. It should be obvious.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Not all men are attracted to women.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

Do you have any actual facts and figures on that?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Hazel Gazit

It’s not really that difficult to fight and kill unarmed women and children.. but if they engage Hezbolah up north then they’ll face real, battle hardened, fearless, competent , well armed fighting men.. we’ll see how they fare on that later perhaps?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

They’re not “fighting and killing unarmed women and children” they’re fighting Hamas.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
5 months ago

Twenty years ago I taught at a school where girls and boys were separated. I was astounded by how well-behaved the children were when they were not mixed.

Stevie K
Stevie K
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

What an interesting and important observation. Nothing that would surprise our grandparents, but seemingly invisible to right thinking westerners of the 21st century.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Me too.. but we did have the advantage of being brutalised on a daily basis.. that helped another with discipline!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Because boys tend to be disruptive.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

It works in Israel, doesn’t it?

John Murray
John Murray
5 months ago

“Joan was never directly involved in fighting.”
Even the linked article admits she took a couple of arrows to the body. She obviously wasn’t going to be swinging a sword in the shield wall (or whatever), but she wasn’t sitting comfortably out of danger.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Perhaps we should ask Lord SUMPTION to adjudicate, as he is probably the greatest living expert on JoA.

Francis Phillips
Francis Phillips
5 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

I think the record states that she did not kill an enemy soldier. But she led her troops into battle and did sustain wounds, as you say.

Anna Clare Bryson
Anna Clare Bryson
5 months ago

I always enjoy Mary’s articles, but this one is rather a peculiar mix of the sensational, the mythical and the unexamined conventional, and above all it is extremely theoretical – all done from the armchair with but a couple of modern examples. Yes, it is a rare woman indeed who has the strength for frontline infantry service, and we all know the other arguments against it (the psychology and morale of the combat unit, fear of what might happen to women captives etc…), but all of this has to be weighed up in the real context of what war and warfare is like in our era, and how it is changing. Specifically, technical advance has multiplied (essential) military positions where relative physical strength is more or less irrelevant while at the same time, the difference between “front” and “rear” has become very blurred – and while e.g. Ukraine v Russia looks like a very “classic” war in some respects, a great deal of soldiering these days goes on in the context of multilateral conflicts, conflicts with non-state actors, lack of clear distinction between civil and military, “peace-keeping” and so forth. Even people in”rear” positions need combat training…
And as for the erotic side. Well, the (probably never existent) original Amazons were objects of a certain fantasy in the context of legend, almost by definition, but is that always true in the same way? Some Barbarian women (notably the Germans) were reported to go into battle by the side of their menfolk and be very scary, though not specially sexy…Sex and violence (including organised violence) can be darkly intertwined in the human psyche, though not all armies at all periods have been equally rapey, and it’s possible that the significant presence of women in modern western armies rather discourages than encourages rapiness…It certainly can be usefully demoralising if the enemy has a serious cultural thing about female pollution and inferiority – e.g. it drove Saddam Hussein crazy that there were so many visible females – especially drivers – on the US – UK side in the Kuwait war, or, more recently ISIS fighters were seriously inhibited in engaging with the quite effective female Kurdish fighters because of the superstition that they would not go to paradise and get their virgins if killed by a mere woman.
So, the pursuit of some absolute mechanical female equality, especially in the army, is silly, but the issue is complicated, and Mary should back-pedal the speculative Amazonian and the Freudian themes and concentrate a bit more on the many real modern testimonies available.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

Great post.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

Weren’t the Amazons supposed to slice of their right breast to improve their archery?

LeeKC C
LeeKC C
5 months ago

Thank you for this comment. I agree with you but perhaps she is speaking to a far more harsh reality that is being over-looked by so many in relevance to our own period of time right now, as Mary explained in her article. The propaganda of Hamas. The truth that lies at the base of their attack – the sadistic animal brutality of their attack. If we go to war………….
and the reality behind the ‘logos’ of so many movies and western propaganda being pushed by feminine idealogues. Plainly delusional.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

War is a nasty business without the need for romanticizing or sexualizing it. The US had its debate over “women in combat” starting back in the 80s with the whole “we can do anything you can do” mentality which has done nothing but fall flat in virtually every test. Where women are capable of performing on equal footing is as pilots, whether rotary or fixed wing.
A female on the ground will be worth little if forced to carry a wounded male to safety. And one can only imagine the fate of a woman taken prisoner. On paper, there might be something sexy about the warrior princess. Under fire in nasty terrain, sex is the furthest thing from one’s mind.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
5 months ago

Mary is entering an area that feminists like to skirt round. We see endless articles by Guardianistas about a woman’s right to be a FTSE 100 CEO, or indeed a senior military officer, but precious few about a woman’s right to be a miner, deep sea fisherman or sewage farm operative.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
5 months ago

How about train drivers: “it’s a woman’s right to choo-choos!”

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Definitely NOT in the days of steam!

net mag
net mag
5 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

That’s terrible. But I couldn’t help myself, I had to laugh.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

It’s about choice.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
5 months ago

The only considerations that matter on the battlefield are military ones. And they are therefore the only ones that should matter in selection, training, and operations. Most combat roles demand physical strength, speed, endurance, and resilience, in which, overwhelmingly, men measurably outperform women. It’s extraordinary that women claim to be ‘as good as men’ and demand to fill combat roles where coming second means not coming home at all, but demand their own sports where coming home second simply means less prize money.

Forrest Lindsey
Forrest Lindsey
5 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Equality is not the same as equivalence: women are certainly the equal of men in human rights, but not equivalent for tasks requiring strength, endurance, and ferocity. War is organized murder and that’s all it amounts to, despite the recruiting poster fantasies.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

CORRECT.. call I what it is..

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
5 months ago

Great read. As a large apelike creature, having a mate that can also be effective in protecting my offspring and property is very attractive as I often have things to do and mysteries of the universe to ponder.

Chipoko
Chipoko
5 months ago

Imposing the insufferable ‘you-go-girl’ and ‘Girl Boss’ canards on combat units would lead to disaster: men would instinctively prioritise the safety of their female colleagues on the one hand, and would have no confidence that women ‘combatants’ would have the strength or stamina to support and save them in battle on the other.
When WW3 initiates, just watch the female-scramble away from frontline fighting jobs, especially considering the enemies the West will face. For millennia they’ve provided vital support (not least family care) from the backlines as their menfolk have sustained death and grievous bodily harm to defend them and their children. That’s what men do. That’s what women do.
The inversion of male vs female roles inflicted by militant Woke feminism, that has degraded and devalued men, has not brought about wider peace and stability in the world. To the contrary it has destabilised the very foundations of our core identity and cultural inheritance, and has massively weakened the moral fabric of the West, forged over millennia of civilising development, which we once regarded with pride and appreciation. No longer!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

The inversion has also created a battalion of educate, professional women lamenting the scarcity of suitable partners. Funny how the drive to erase sexism has failed to do away with the expectation of the suitable guy being wealthy, handsome, and tall, but also of suitable profession. I somehow doubt the girl boss types are likely to pair up with a guy whose work involves getting sweaty, no matter his paycheck.

Chipoko
Chipoko
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Absolutely, Alex!

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Footballers get quite sweaty

Chipoko
Chipoko
5 months ago
Chipoko
Chipoko
5 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

Ha ha! Good one!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

Look at their WAGS fgs!

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
5 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Look at the girl-bosses ffs!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Exactly!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

On the contrary. If he’s intelligent, thoughtful, curious and can carry on a conversation, why not? Particularly if he has a sense of humor and is playful. Sweaty and funny is partner material, and if he’s doing physical work he probably has a toned body to go with it.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
5 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

Too much truth and honesty for the gender militants who now rule our institutions.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

Alas, all too true.. the decline of the West is almost total, not that it was ever that great other than in faery tale histories covering up all the massacres, looting, slavery, genocides and engineered famines.. I know, I know.. but apart from all the massacres, looting, slavery, genocides and engineered famines we had a lot to be proud of, right? ..yeah, yeah ..sexual abuse of children, destruction of habitats and the ol’ Spanish Inquisition ..but apart from all that…???

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Was it ever any different? The climate is changing faster than we are.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
5 months ago

In the Israeli army women have always served in desk and training positions. Quite a few years ago women started serving as pilots and in air crews and then they moved into air defense, combat medics and paramedics, search and rescue, tanks and infantry. There was a court appeal a few months ago by women who wanted to serve in special forces and I personally am rather sceptical that this is a viable or good idea. However, the current conflict is the first one where women have been deployed considerably in combat. There are of course differences in physiology and physical ability, but there are numerous positions in which women can perform and excel – as has been proven in the last few months.
Israel has compulsory military service. On the one hand the yearly percentage of young people conscripted is falling, but on the other, military service is seen widely as a privilege, a rite of passage and an essential part of personal national identity, as well as an opener of doors. The expansion of service for young women is in part an initiative from the army to widen the pool of conscripts in an atmosphere of falling conscription rates, but also from grass-roots pressure of women wanting to make a significant contribution to serving their country.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

I think maybe women in special forces might make more sense to allow woman in the general infantry.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

It’s hard for me to imagine a real woman happy to drop bombs on innocent little children.. but I guess if she hates children, is barren or butch then, given the level of indoctrination the IDF and young Israelis get I suppose it is possible to turn some degenerate females into viscous killers?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

This comment should not have been allowed. There are no words to say how offensive it is.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
5 months ago

In ancient Celtic Ireland and Scotland
Woman were the Greatest of Warriors
Imbued with wisdom that so few men can possess
These Woman were elevated to the position of Supreme trainers for all the young males as opposed to battlefield commanders due in main to their lack
Of ferocity that Men could exude
The Woman taught the Males to fight more with the brain than that of brawn
And the skill and tactics required in order
To so and to temper the males ferocity and wrecklessness in order to prevail
And even so against superior odds

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Perhaps that is why ‘they’, the Celts that is, were such classic losers? And still are it must be said.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
5 months ago

Do your History
Go see how the Roman Empire had to run away and build Hadrian’s wall
Oh dear it was built for a laugh by way of blowing a fortune that Rome could I’ll afford at that time
Today such a wall would be the Largest Civil Engineering project ever undertaken in Europe
Only the Chinese great wall can surpass that and by a massive margin
But China still exists today and greatly progressing Whilst Rome is extinct entity
And whilst you wag your forked ,nefarious , and stupid tongue
Tell me how many street names in London 2000 yrs later are of Celtic Origin
And answer this most simple of Questions something the Celts answered and applied with consummate ease
Q. Where is Wisdom to be found
Big clue 2 little words are not only the
Answer but the only possible one

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Where on earth did you learn that tosh? Harvard perhaps?
You should ‘ask for your money back’, you’ve been had sir!

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

How many street names in London are of Celtic origin?

Where is Wisdom to be found?

I would genuinely like to know.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Brian, Charlie (Hopeless Stan) just stirs it coz he’s full of it.. his objective is never accuracy so yer kinda wasting yer time..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

Name a fair fight that Celts lost.. to negate the case you’d have to show approximate equality of numbers and weapons since the case is made simply for skill and tactics.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Why disapprove of a simple statement of facts?

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
5 months ago

There were sexist issues at work in the prison at Abu Ghraib which led to breakdown of military discipline. The part played by female American soldiers in the abuses of prisoners is described by Philip Zimbardo in his book, The Lucifer Effect.

Kat L
Kat L
5 months ago

I recently joined twitter/x and am astonished at the number of clips I see of young women taking a fighting stance with fists up, challenging young men to fight. Most of the pale ones don’t fall for it and just stand there but others end up handing their arses back to them. Then I think about all the girl boss films I’ve seen advertised where a 110 lb woman fights of five men at once; thinking to myself surely they aren’t believing this guff?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

It’s a form of porn for a certain section of women who get off on Killing Eve and the like.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
5 months ago

it is interesting that no-one has mentioned the impact of abortion. The ‘pregnancy problem’ is now no longer deemed to exist.
It also must have a major impact on the re-generation issue that is discussed below.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
5 months ago

Cutting through all the blather, this long article says men will be men and women will be women, with some exceptions.

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
5 months ago

A student of mine – former marine – was drafting an essay arguing women shouldn’t be in the military. His primary point was that menstruation impeded female efficacy. I reminded him that females have always been a part of armies as cooks, laundresses and prostitutes. And female slaves have been worked as hard as males, hence that argument wasn’t very persuasive. Then he told me of a strength requirement that was lower for female soldiers and I encouraged him to find more facts like that, as well as the issue of changing dynamics due to sexual tension in the ranks. He was shocked that I supported his primary thesis! I just explained his arguments needed to be defensible – menstruation doesn’t necessarily make women inferior soldiers – but our (generally) smaller bodies, weaker muscles, and the inevitable fact of sexual chemistry or assault certainly do.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Jenny Caneen

With some birth control pills, women don’t menstruate at all.

Adam Grant
Adam Grant
5 months ago

I recall the depiction of female sailors in one of the later Patrick O’Brian books as being less sexy. At one point Dr. Maturin takes on a female assistant who explains that there are lots of women in the service (the British Royal Navy in the early 1800’s), often older and dressing like the men, competent and preferring the company of their mostly male shipmates to the mostly female co-workers they’d have on land. On larger ships there would have been lots of jobs involving more detail work and less brute strength.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
5 months ago

I would like to hear from the women who served or are serving. What do they think? What did they experience?
Here are some views from Israel where women are actively engaged in combat:
https://www.hadassahmagazine.org/2023/12/20/the-female-heroes-on-the-battlefield-and-homefront/

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago

I’m surprised a writer of Mary Hartington’s calibre would conflate normal sexuality with rape but maybe that says more about Mary than the topic. Because women soldiering is itself an aberration it follows that any sexual ‘view’ of such a woman is also going to be an aberration. Real women are not brutal, sadistic killers of innocent children (and other women) like those in the Israeli army.. they are a special type of demonic creature not worth of the term human let alone female.

Brian Thomas
Brian Thomas
5 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I assume you are able to explain your rationale for describing female soldiers as an aberration? Your use of the term “special type of demonic creature” provides one with a hint of course.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
5 months ago
Reply to  Brian Thomas

The latter point refers solely to the IDF (hint: lookup ICJ ruling)..
The firmer point: yes. Women are, by their very natures more inclined to give life than kill, more likely to heal than harm, more likely to conciliate than to argue, more likely to be gentle than violent; ie opposite of most men. A quick glance at the relevant crime figures will show that.. and so, yes, any female wishing to be turned into a vicious killer is therfore, an aberration, I submit.
Of course some will happily join an army full of men for the attention, hoping never to have to fight a war.. but that’s explained by common naivety isn’t it?

Brian Thomas
Brian Thomas
5 months ago

One scene in “The Life Of Brian” has John Cleese referring to Eric Idle’s desire to have babies, not as signifying his “struggle against oppression”, but his “struggle against reality”. Today’s political and social movements are also a struggle against reality. When governments put men and women together in barracks, boats and bombers during war time, what on earth do they think will actually happen?

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy
5 months ago

This is a mystifyingly opaque, and in some ways incoherent, offering from a usually astute commentator. Why would quests for equality of opportunity require that women warriors–or for that matter women doctors, politicians, university professors, etc.–also cease to be objects of sexual desire for men? What’s the connection? The guy who wonders what you’d look like “going commando” is likely doing so because you’re a woman, and whether you’re wielding a spear or a purse is a matter of complete indifference to him in this connection. If there’s something scandalous or sexist in this, what is it? It certainly doesn’t imply the man doesn’t take your warrior status seriously, any more than it implies he doesn’t take female doctors or professors seriously.

As for the ‘conquest’ metaphor, has a women who engages in sexual relations with a man, or becomes pregnant, been ‘conquered?’ There’s a none-too-subtle logical equivocation at work here. Culturally, men ‘pursue’ women and strive to ‘win’ them; but this is an entirely cooperative affair in which women actively collaborate with men to ensure that they succeed in their ‘conquest.’ Women are the entirely willing victims or prizes in this game of mock warfare; if they weren’t, the future of the species would be very much in doubt.

It’s difficult to believe a woman warrior would aspire to be any different than a woman physician in this regard, just as it’s hard to see how becoming warriors could be construed as a win for women if ceasing to be regarded as women, and/or being forbidden to take advantage of the biological and cultural roles normally open to women, was one of the requirements. As far as I can make sense of the aggrieved tone of this article, the grievances seem to be with biology and the nature of sexual attraction themselves. But surely that’s silly; and in any event, our biological hard wiring is not something one sex bears any more responsibility for than the other.

Don Lightband
Don Lightband
5 months ago

Is the modern world really “less fixated on virginity” than the world of Jeanne d’Arc? Virtually the only real moral consensus W E I R D nations have anymore is that concerning the preserved-at-any-cost “innocence” of all its children. Will the commemtariat be so kind as to explain for me in what way this “innocence” is any more than a euphemism for virginity?

harry storm
harry storm
5 months ago

Bad enough men have to fight and die in combat. I see no good reason to send women to do so as well. Auxiliary roles, sure. Combat roles, no.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
5 months ago

Until recently going commando implied not wearing underwear or “pants” as y’all like to say but still wearing trousers or pants as we USians like to say. But it seems that has “evolved”. Odd that.