by Katherine Bayford
Wednesday, 9
March 2022
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17:01

Sorry Sheryl Sandberg, but women do go to war

Meta's COO made a bizarre claim on International Women's Day
by Katherine Bayford
Sheryl Sandberg. Credit: Getty

“No two countries run by women would ever go to war,” Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of meta, and proponent of the Lean In brand of corporate feminism stated in a Cartier-sponsored Dubai speech on International Women’s Day.

This is a rather peculiar claim. It was, after all, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great who organised the death of her husband and the extension of her empire by 200,000 square miles. Did she realise how badly this would reflect on 21st century corporate feminism? It wasn’t just Catherine either: Boudica made a point of cutting Roman citizens in half; Cleopatra took great delight in warring against the ascendent young Octavian; and it was Elizabeth I who told her army at Tilbury:

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too […] rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general…
- Elizabeth I

From the ancient world to the contemporary, evidence abounds of women being eminently capable at military command, political manoeuvring, and bloodlust. One only needs to look as far back as Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher for confirmation of this.

Stateswomen, much like statesmen, understand that war is sometimes a necessary evil. They too understand that war can be beneficial, thrilling, or politically popular. Statistically, in fact, women have been more likely to go to war than men.

This line of thinking — that women are somehow not susceptible to the same desires and emotions as men — has spread elsewhere too; it was only eight years ago when the-then ECB chief Christine Lagarde claimed that “it would be a different world” if Lehman brothers was “Lehman sisters”.

Women are not an amorphous blob of girlboss empowerment or vessels of noble, peaceful, liberal statecraft. Some women conquer territory, others run banks. They are, after all, human, and as such suffer all the multidimensional complex desires and fears that make up the human condition. The idea that having 400 ng/dl less testosterone would prevent women from understanding the ‘need’ for war, or the will to undertake it, is a fantasy.

Can women not feel the same call to war that men do? Must they always be its victim rather than its master? It is patronising to think this way. Women go to war. And, believe it or not, some enjoy it too.

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Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
3 months ago

Meta’s COO, a person obviously lacking any of the psychopathic tendencies necessary to rise in a mega corporate run by a genuine weirdo, proclaims moral rectitude is genital dependent.

Well, everyday’s a school day.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Best remark!

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

LOVE IT!!!!! “moral rectitude is genital dependent”!!!!
I am going to write that down and use it (I promise to give you credit).

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
3 months ago

Sheryl Sandberg – of ALL people – should not be making the claim that women are precious little angels incapable of the evils that men commit.
Women are human beings, and all human beings are capable of evil, as Ms. Sandberg herself so clearly demonstrates.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
3 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Ouch. Accurate, but ouch.

David Morley
David Morley
3 months ago

Not to forget Empress Wu Zetian. Commonly considered the epitome of evil.

Sean
Sean
3 months ago

Sorry but I’m confused. 
For decades feminists have reminded us that throughout history – men are far more likely to resort to physical violence than women. 
Now this author is claiming that acknowledging this rather obvious fact is actually an insult to women? That women are just as screwed up as men when it comes to solving problems with their fists instead of their brains? 
Where is she going with all of this? Will she not be satisfied until women make up 50% of the CEO’s and 50% of the violent felons?
What’s next on her agenda? Making sure half the rapists are women, and “toxic femininity” is a thing we have to warn preschoolers about?

Last edited 3 months ago by Sean
Andrea X
Andrea X
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I think we ought to talk about passive aggressive toxic femininity.
Think of Sturgeon or Ardern (or Trudeau?).

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Relational aggression is a very cruel form of social ostracism that women use against each other – men do this too, but with less subtlety.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Especially Trudeau

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Women do not commit as much violence as men. Full Stop. But the reason for this is not that women are less capable of evil than men, it just means that women are less physically impulsive than men and less likely to use physical strength to do harm.
Women enable plenty of evil, and commit plenty of evil acts.
There is no “good” gender and “bad” gender.
Men are actually far more likely to be survivors of sexual violence (committed against them during childhood) than they are to be perpetrators of sexual violence.
We need to stop dumping men into the perpetrator category and dumping women into the victim category: this dehumanizes members of both sexes.
There are more violent men than there are violent women for the same reason there are more violent young people than there are violent old people: violence works for young people, but does not work for old people. This does not mean that old people are morally superior to young people, it just means that violence is less of an option for them.
Women are smaller and less physically dangerous than men, but we are just as capable of evil.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
3 months ago

“No two countries run by women would ever go to war,”

That kind of sweeping statement is just crying out to be contradicted, isn’t it? Grace O’Malley was an Irish chieftain based in Connaught during the 1500s. She and her chiefdom revolted against English rule. Elizabeth I put down the revolt; her commander had O’Malley’s eldest son Eoghan murdered.

Last edited 3 months ago by Lennon Ó Náraigh
Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 months ago

Coo of Feta. Doesn’t read much? Reading and scholarship are so last century. As for two women at war. Easy. Victoria vs the Rani of Jhansi.

William Shaw
William Shaw
3 months ago

No, say it isn’t true.
Girls and women are sweet and caring innocent angels everyone knows that.
Sandberg is obviously correct. Female character and capabilities are determined by a deficit of testosterone.

Last edited 3 months ago by William Shaw
R S Foster
R S Foster
3 months ago

…as the Author rightly observes, various parts of the British Isles have a pretty good line in fearsome Warrior-Queens…Boudicca …Aethelflaed “the Lady of the Mercians” who completed her father Alfred’s creation of England…Matilda, daughter of Henry I who refused to defer to her cousin Stephen, invaded the country and started a period of civil war that lasted nearly twenty years…Margaret of Anjou, the She-Wolf of France who pretty much led the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses…Good Queen Bess…Queen Anne, for whom Marlborough waged war across Europe for decades…Queen Victoria, whose Blue-Jackets and Red-Coats took a quarter of the Earth…always dangerous to pick a fight with us…lethal to do it when we have a Woman in charge..!

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago

Yes, but you didn’t actually find a historical example to refute Sandberg’s claim. Curiously, I don’t know of any two countries, both rules by women, who have gone to war.
This could just be the law of averages at work. Still with all the weight of history behind you, unless you can refute it, you can hardly call her claim ‘bizarre’.

Jim R
Jim R
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I can’t refute the claim that two countries ruled by chihuahuas would never go to war. I guess that’s not bizarre then?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim R

Two chihuahua-ruled nations going to war? Now that would be bizarre! Though they do have that ‘little-dog’ complex, a la Napoleon or H***ler.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim R

Chihuahuas are constantly at war.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim R

If countries were run by chihuahuas, war would absolutely happen. They are one of the breeds most prone to bite. They don’t get the bad rep of pit bulls because…well, that’s probably obvious…but they can be mean little devils.

William Shaw
William Shaw
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim R

Chihuahuas are constantly at war with everyone and everything.
Little dog complex and horrible little beasts.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

The first rule of data is to have a decent sample size. The comment by Meta’s COO shows that she has no clue about how to see the world.

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You really think those female leaders would have been dissuaded if their opponent was a woman?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

I don’t know. Maybe. Really I am simply pointing out that the author did not refute Sandberg’s claim.

David Morley
David Morley
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

The odds would be against that. There just haven’t been that many female leaders of countries at the same time.

Given the frequency of female fall outs over relatively minor things f2f wars might be quite common if female leaders were.

Robert Kaye
Robert Kaye
3 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

If Indira Ghandhi had lived to see Benazhir Bhutto become PM there’s every chance we would have seen war. Do we think Thatcher and Kirchner would have sorted things out over tea and biscuits?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Would Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi have sorted out Kashmir without bloodshed if they’d been leaders at the same time?

itsadamclark
itsadamclark
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Catherine of Russia and Maria Theresa of Austria collaborated in the partition of Poland, though they didn’t fight each other.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 months ago
Reply to  itsadamclark

Elizabeth and Mary Stuart and Mary of Guise didn’t have the best relationship.
I am not up to scratch with the Indian subcontinent, but between India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka there have been plenty of military action and plenty of female rulers.

Last edited 3 months ago by Andrea X
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Interesting. I know so little of the subcontinent’s history.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Not to mention Myanmar.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

It would be unfair to blame Neville Chamberlain for declaring war when Poland was invaded in WWII. Or assuming that it was because of his gender, not arising from treaty obligation.

Brian Delamere
Brian Delamere
3 months ago

.

Last edited 3 months ago by Brian Delamere