Yes, Women in Dragon Age Could Use Longswords

Robert Rath

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Yes, Women in Dragon Age Could Use Longswords

Recently a topic keeps rearing its obnoxious head: the idea that it?s ?unrealistic? for women in games to wield longswords. Women, the argument goes, don?t have the strength to wield heavy blades. These claims are total nonsense.

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Queen Michael

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There's no "irony of arguing about 'realism' in a game with dragons on the cover," because all stories need some kind of realism. Or to put it differently: The stupid parts of, say, Naruto don't become less gorram stupid just because it's a manga about ninjas.

Fantasy may be fantasy, but it still follows the rule of "like reality unlike otherwise stated."
 

Rommel102

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I don't have any problem with the women in Dragon Age (or any Bioware game) being strong fighters, wielding swords, etc.

I think the only unrealistic aspect is that when playing as a human female in Dragon Age or as FemShep that the build of the character doesn't match reality. Femshep and the femhuman warrior DA:I characters are both really petite and skinny characters. To be realistic, both should be a lot more muscular and their bodies should reflect that.

For a perfect example: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Vjp0gyp6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17g69x63n8gjtjpg.jpg
 

Wolyo

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One of the thing about woman using swords, it's when they are well endowed it become difficult sometime impossible to use two-handed guard or technique with swords, even more so if you have a breast plate wide enough to accomodate your physique. That's the only point you could make against a woman using a hand and a half sword.
 

wizzy555

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Rommel102 said:
I don't have any problem with the women in Dragon Age (or any Bioware game) being strong fighters, wielding swords, etc.

I think the only unrealistic aspect is that when playing as a human female in Dragon Age or as FemShep that the build of the character doesn't match reality. Femshep and the femhuman warrior DA:I characters are both really petite and skinny characters. To be realistic, both should be a lot more muscular and their bodies should reflect that.

For a perfect example: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Vjp0gyp6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17g69x63n8gjtjpg.jpg
My character is a male elf reaver and he looks terribly unrealistic too. (not complaining)
 

ForumSafari

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But it's particularly interesting that in a series like Dragon Age, certain players consider women with longswords an unrealistic element. After all, no one has written a two-post treatise about how the dragons have terrible aerodynamics, inadequate wingspan for flight, and don't have light, hollow bones like pterosaurs. Yet apparently some players who can accept such an anatomically unlikely creature feel that a woman swinging a longsword is a major world-building flaw.
Whilst I agree with the gist of the article, longswords aren't actually that heavy and the fighting style of real Western knights was far more complex than people assume because it's stereotyped as brutish clubbing in comparison to Grorious Nippon Katanas, I do disagree with the above point. Suspension of disbelief doesn't cover everything and often it's the little things that break it rather than the big things.

For example if I were to write a novel in which humanity has replaced their bodies with those of apes to live more comfortably on an arboreal planet people would accept the geneering and the forest planet. However, if I then had a character hold a fork back to front and try to eat with it people would rightly call it stupid.

Other examples:
Guardians of the Galaxy.

Things I accept:
green and purple people
cosmic stones
aliens
spaceships
a raccoon that can talk

Things I don't accept:
that people are going to stand there for ten seconds placidly while someone drives a spike through their head one at a time

Jurassic Park.

Things I accept:
dinosaurs are being cloned
people think this is a good idea

Things I don't accept:
knowing what an OS is meaning you know how any program running on it works
being able to toggle vital park systems back on without entering a password

Doctor Who - The Angels Take Manhattan

Things I accept:
timelords
gallifrey
the TARDIS
time travel
pocket dimensions
the weeping angels

Things I don't accept:
The statue of liberty is an angel and no one noticed or realised
no one thought to park the TARDIS a year in the future or a hundred miles away and just hire a car
 

OhNoYouDidnt

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It is really amusing that this longswordfighting champion is called Samantha Swords . I wonder if having such a surname inspired the choice to take up swordfighting?
 

blackaesir

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Wolyo said:
One of the thing about woman using swords, it's when they are well endowed it become difficult sometime impossible to use two-handed guard or technique with swords, even more so if you have a breast plate wide enough to accomodate your physique. That's the only point you could make against a woman using a hand and a half sword.
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
 

SlumlordThanatos

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Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.
 

Wolyo

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blackaesir said:
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
I said well endowed women not every women, and compression doesn't make them smaller, the mass is still here and breast do not compress that much, they will be less prone to move but still they are denying you to use some technique with two hand. Because you can not compress them too much either, if you do you will restrict other movement.

It does not even need to be that big, a C cup can be enough especially if the female is not really tall. It's a concern for women in HEMA that's something you need to think of. And that's for unarmoured combat, a breast plate made to accomodate such physique would still stop you to use two handed technique, so better stick with a one handed sword.

Hell even male with over bloated pectoral muscle can not use two handed sword technique.

Not talking out of my arse here, but experience.
 

oldtaku

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I had my femquisitor using a double handed sword.. what I was rolling my eyes at was the whirlwind attack, where you just hold the sword out and spin real fast, slicing through your enemies like a spinning blender (and somehow don't hit any of your allies ). Somehow that felt a bit too much while slamming the sword into the ground and setting the ground on fire didn't - probably because that one's firmly in the magic camp.

However, I never ever thought 'Gee, she's such a fragile snowflake, she shouldn't be using this sword.'
 

Fifty-One

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blackaesir said:
Wolyo said:
One of the thing about woman using swords, it's when they are well endowed it become difficult sometime impossible to use two-handed guard or technique with swords, even more so if you have a breast plate wide enough to accomodate your physique. That's the only point you could make against a woman using a hand and a half sword.
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
Its funny you mention that because if you take Iron Bull and Cassandra in your group he tells her that he approves of her choice of a standard breastplate because a "fantasy" version would just get her killed.
 

Fifty-One

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SlumlordThanatos said:
Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.
Sadly, I've seen some of these comments on other forums. People are stupid.
 

Albino Boo

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I would like to point out that Margaret of Anjou was not a battlefield commander of Lancastrian forces, her power came the fact she was acting as regent for her mentally ill husband Henry VI. The armies were commanded largely by the Henry's illegitimate cousins the Beauforts and once by the Earl of Warwick.

I would like to add to the list, Sikelgaita the wife of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia. She conducted the siege of Trani in 1080 while her husband attacked Taranto. Sikelgaita is recorded as appearing in full armour at the Battle of Dyrrhachium and rallying the Norman knights after the initial repulse by Byzantine forces. Perhaps the closest person to a valkyrie that has existed in real history.

You could also add Caterina Sforza. She was a little later, born ins the 1460s but her career was eventful. Caterina first military exploit was holding the Castel Sant'Angelo after the death of Pope Sixtus IV, her uncle by marriage. The second exploit was after the assassination of her Husband. By various means she escaped her captors and took full personal control off her husbands duchy. Caterina later defended her Duchy from the Venetians earning herself the nickname the tigress. The next episode in Caterina life was being besieged by Cesare Borgia. During the siege the Cesare forces brought forward Caterina's captured son and threatened to execute him. At which point she lifted up her skirt and proclaimed "Her is the mold to make another". Ultimately Cesare's French forces took the fortress and the rest her life was rather quite in comparison to the rest. Caterina is also a possibly the face of the Mona Lisa.


After saying all that, I feel I must point out that there is no evidence of any of these women taking part in frontline combat. They have weilded command authority but did not actually fight.
 

Phasmal

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I dunno. Gimme a longsword. I'm sure I could figure it out.

I do think the larger trend of `selective realism` is a bit depressing. Women are allowed to have escapist fantasies, too, you know. And if you think we've never dozed off and fantasized about taking on an army of demons with nothing but grim determination and a big fuck-off sword then I'm afraid you just don't know women very well.

Seriously, people shouldn't grump about this stuff.
 

JennAnge

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"Frankly, this probably says more about the player and his assumptions than it does about the game -"

The article could have stopped right there, IMO, though the rest was interesting.

OK, I admit that Fenris is DA2 did bother me a bit; seriously, that sword looked like it weighed as much as he did, and all the lyrium markings were supposed to do was give him Shadow Kat type powers, not the ability to change and overclock his center of gravity.

But this is the same medium that gave us jRPGs and we all know what the waif-per-metal pound ratios are around there, so yeah, I didn't lose sleep over it...
 

WindKnight

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SlumlordThanatos said:
Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.
Keep in mind that the internet came up with the '-4 strength' meme for D&D and the idea some people would come up with this kind crap isn't too far fetched.
 

Rowan93

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ForumSafari said:
But it's particularly interesting that in a series like Dragon Age, certain players consider women with longswords an unrealistic element. After all, no one has written a two-post treatise about how the dragons have terrible aerodynamics, inadequate wingspan for flight, and don't have light, hollow bones like pterosaurs. Yet apparently some players who can accept such an anatomically unlikely creature feel that a woman swinging a longsword is a major world-building flaw.
Whilst I agree with the gist of the article, longswords aren't actually that heavy and the fighting style of real Western knights was far more complex than people assume because it's stereotyped as brutish clubbing in comparison to Grorious Nippon Katanas, I do disagree with the above point. Suspension of disbelief doesn't cover everything and often it's the little things that break it rather than the big things.

For example if I were to write a novel in which humanity has replaced their bodies with those of apes to live more comfortably on an arboreal planet people would accept the geneering and the forest planet. However, if I then had a character hold a fork back to front and try to eat with it people would rightly call it stupid.

Other examples:
Guardians of the Galaxy.

Things I accept:
green and purple people
cosmic stones
aliens
spaceships
a raccoon that can talk

Things I don't accept:
that people are going to stand there for ten seconds placidly while someone drives a spike through their head one at a time

Jurassic Park.

Things I accept:
dinosaurs are being cloned
people think this is a good idea

Things I don't accept:
knowing what an OS is meaning you know how any program running on it works
being able to toggle vital park systems back on without entering a password

Doctor Who - The Angels Take Manhattan

Things I accept:
timelords
gallifrey
the TARDIS
time travel
pocket dimensions
the weeping angels

Things I don't accept:
The statue of liberty is an angel and no one noticed or realised
no one thought to park the TARDIS a year in the future or a hundred miles away and just hire a car
While I agree with your general point, I'm going to try to defend the specific examples you've pointed out;

- Maybe it's only shown happening this slowly to make it clearer to the viewer what's going on, and "in-universe" it's only taking a couple seconds? I mean the first guy is still standing there with a hole in him at the end when they all drop, and it would be a lot less fun to see the cut-down version where the arrow flies too fast to keep track of.

- Interestingly this was referenced in a comic elsewhere that literally went up today - compared to how screwed you'd be if they were using some OS you've never heard of, finding out it's an OS you're familiar with is pretty great, and you don't have to take the line to specifically mean "the fact that I know this OS means the problem is as good as solved".
- Wouldn't you want turning the vital systems on to be fail-safe if someone forgets the password, specifically to avoid having too many people be eaten by velociraptors?

- Presumably they only replaced the statue of liberty with a giant angel disguised as it for the weeks or months they were working in New York for? I forget what, if any, particular plan they had at the time, but probably you could just mark all the ways to the inside of the statue as "out of order", eat anyone who investigates, and when they don't need heavy support anymore they put the real statue of liberty back.
- Probably if someone had thought of it, there'd be a rule as to why it can't be fixed that way. Maybe it's not so much the Tardis itself, but a projected future time line, like you know in Donnie Darko where at one point it shows people with a watery tentacle sticking out of them in the path they're about to go down? I can't find the scene otherwise I'd have linked it, but maybe having that timeline intersect would abort the flight no matter where you chose to actually aim the TARDIS? I mean the time travel rules are bullshit that gets changed whenever they need to, because Doctor Who is a campy sort of thing with its own extra level of not-meant-to-be-realistic beyond ordinary fantasy or soft-sci-fi and especially time travel is hard to get much of that kind of fun out of while having consistent rules that don't break stuff.
 

Major_Tom

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Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.
 

Aggieknight

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Queen Michael said:
There's no "irony of arguing about 'realism' in a game with dragons on the cover," because all stories need some kind of realism. Or to put it differently: The stupid parts of, say, Naruto don't become less gorram stupid just because it's a manga about ninjas.

Fantasy may be fantasy, but it still follows the rule of "like reality unlike otherwise stated."
Not necessarily. Some of the best stories have a near complete lack of realism (ex: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream).

However, one of the important elements is referred to as "Suspension of Disbelief" - a storyteller must convince viewers that the events are believable, even if they are unrealistic. A reader/viewer/gamer can accept a lot of unrealistic events as long as there is an underlying logic that the consumer can hold on too. Once "broken", the storyteller quickly loses their viewers' attention. For example, I can accept that there are giant robots from outer space that can adjust their shape back and forth between human-like bipedal shapes to machines inspired by earth machines, but I cannot accept Marky-Mark as an inventor. Suspension of disbelief broke; attention lost; movie dumb waste of money.

I'm an amateur author that is steadily and slowly working my way through my first novel (have written many short stories), and one of the priorities my reviewers look for in new texts are areas where the reader is pulled out of the story (ala suspension lost).
 

Queen Michael

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Aggieknight said:
Queen Michael said:
There's no "irony of arguing about 'realism' in a game with dragons on the cover," because all stories need some kind of realism. Or to put it differently: The stupid parts of, say, Naruto don't become less gorram stupid just because it's a manga about ninjas.

Fantasy may be fantasy, but it still follows the rule of "like reality unlike otherwise stated."
Not necessarily. Some of the best stories have a near complete lack of realism (ex: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream).

However, one of the important elements is referred to as "Suspension of Disbelief" - a storyteller must convince viewers that the events are believable, even if they are unrealistic. A reader/viewer/gamer can accept a lot of unrealistic events as long as there is an underlying logic that the consumer can hold on too. Once "broken", the storyteller quickly loses their viewers' attention. For example, I can accept that there are giant robots from outer space that can adjust their shape back and forth between human-like bipedal shapes to machines inspired by earth machines, but I cannot accept Marky-Mark as an inventor. Suspension of disbelief broke; attention lost; movie dumb waste of money.

I'm an amateur author that is steadily and slowly working my way through my first novel (have written many short stories), and one of the priorities my reviewers look for in new texts are areas where the reader is pulled out of the story (ala suspension lost).
I get your point and I agree, actually. What I meant was that if it'd been impossible for women to handle a longsword (which it of course isn't), you need to give an explanation for how they can handle them. (Well, unless the universe as a whole is one where everybody goes around with gigantic swords.)
 

Scorpid

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Wolyo said:
blackaesir said:
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
I said well endowed women not every women, and compression doesn't make them smaller, the mass is still here and breast do not compress that much, they will be less prone to move but still they are denying you to use some technique with two hand. Because you can not compress them too much either, if you do you will restrict other movement.

It does not even need to be that big, a C cup can be enough especially if the female is not really tall. It's a concern for women in HEMA that's something you need to think of. And that's for unarmoured combat, a breast plate made to accomodate such physique would still stop you to use two handed technique, so better stick with a one handed sword.

Hell even male with over bloated pectoral muscle can not use two handed sword technique.

Not talking out of my arse here, but experience.
Thats cool they can just hack off a boob like Scythian women would do to get those pesky things out of the way. Only need one to nurse a baby after all.
 

daibakuha

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Major_Tom said:
Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.
Has more to do with how the weapons are used. Katanas are about slicing, using the blade's edge instead of the force behind the swing. Traditional European weapons are more about brute force, generally speaking.

That isn't to say I disagree with the article or anything, I don't at all. But this is why people think it makes more sense.
 

blackaesir

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Wolyo said:
blackaesir said:
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
I said well endowed women not every women, and compression doesn't make them smaller, the mass is still here and breast do not compress that much, they will be less prone to move but still they are denying you to use some technique with two hand. Because you can not compress them too much either, if you do you will restrict other movement.

It does not even need to be that big, a C cup can be enough especially if the female is not really tall. It's a concern for women in HEMA that's something you need to think of. And that's for unarmoured combat, a breast plate made to accomodate such physique would still stop you to use two handed technique, so better stick with a one handed sword.

Hell even male with over bloated pectoral muscle can not use two handed sword technique.

Not talking out of my arse here, but experience.
Well, fair enough, except one, you are saying its a shape issue as well as a mass issue and two, you are talking about a very specific subset of techniquest specific to unarmored two-handed sword fighting that, by your own admission, men with large pecs and anybody wearing armor also can't perform. I mean, I totally hear what you are saying. Its not different than saying a person with short arms is not going to reliably be able to perform some counter-punching techniques or that a person with really long arms will encounter difficulties performing certain infighting techniques related to foil fencing.

But I think in terms of the big picture, a woman's mammary glands just aren't going to preclude her from using two-handed weapons in combat, including two-handed swords. Everyone who seriosuly pursues some martial form of training learns how to fit what they learn to their own strengths and weaknesses.
 

PedroSteckecilo

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[link]http://teadrunktailor.tumblr.com[/link]

This is my friend Alison, she knows how to joust and swordfight with a full weight weapon... people who think women can't use longswords or heavy weapons are wrong.

I've got another female friend who also swordfights, is "well endowed" and actually did some VA for Dragon Age Inquistion... anyone who says women can't use longswords is wroooonnnggggg
 

Abomination

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Exceptions to the norm do not define the norm, folks. While some women are capable of surpassing the average male it doesn't mean that it's going to happen approaching a 50/50 split that Thedas likes to give us.

It's not established that women are on par with men physically in Thedas, in fact the opposite is true, and the reason for female warriors being fewer than men in reality are still present in Thedas - and I'm not just talking the average physical build.

Offer more body type options, not the same damn model. Cassandra doesn't work because she's tiny, not because she's a woman. Just compare her to Iron Bull.
 

Thebazilly

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Abomination said:
Exceptions to the norm do not define the norm, folks. While some women are capable of surpassing the average male it doesn't mean that it's going to happen approaching a 50/50 split that Thedas likes to give us.

It's not established that women are on par with men physically in Thedas, in fact the opposite is true, and the reason for female warriors being fewer than men in reality are still present in Thedas - and I'm not just talking the average physical build.

Offer more body type options, not the same damn model. Cassandra doesn't work because she's tiny, not because she's a woman. Just compare her to Iron Bull.
I don't think you read the article.

The whole point is that the difference in strength between men and women doesn't even factor in. Longswords are light enough and the difference is negligible enough that women being the "weaker sex" doesn't matter. You don't need to be a muscle mountain to swing a sword.
 

bat32391

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Realism gets tossed out the window the second I can shoot lightning out my damn hands. My real problem is I can't use a damn long sword on any character because the damn schematics for decent sword never spawns. Damn rng system.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Wait...what? This is an argument somewhere? That women can't use swords because they're too heavy? In Dragon Age? There are people out there who are actually upset about that? I can't even fathom that train of thought. I mean, have they seen the speed at which the archers fire their arrows? Or the way two-handed warriors swing their weapon around like it's paper? Or the fact that mages can spin their weapons again and again without pulling a muscle in, well, any part of their arm? The idea that a woman can't use a sword, any type of sword, is baffling to me, even more so in a fantasy game.
 

murrow

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albino boo said:
After saying all that, I feel I must point out that there is no evidence of any of these women taking part in frontline combat. They have weilded command authority but did not actually fight.
Not to mention how notoriously unreliable medieval chronicles were. Especially because "sticking to the facts" was lowest in the authors' list of priorities, if at all. You've got your share of made-up speeches, alegories, classical references and verbatim passages ripped-off from the scriptures. Taking anything in them on face value without external corroboration is beyond ludicrous. Which doesn't stop the author from quoting them as if they were yesterday's newspaper.

Funnily enough, some of these chronicles were also ripe with mentions of supernatural phenomena. One could make a similar exercise and conclude that wizardry existed in real life. And that kind of undermines the whole "dragon" argument.
 

mjharper

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Abomination said:
Exceptions to the norm do not define the norm, folks. While some women are capable of surpassing the average male it doesn't mean that it's going to happen approaching a 50/50 split that Thedas likes to give us.

It's not established that women are on par with men physically in Thedas, in fact the opposite is true, and the reason for female warriors being fewer than men in reality are still present in Thedas - and I'm not just talking the average physical build.

Offer more body type options, not the same damn model. Cassandra doesn't work because she's tiny, not because she's a woman. Just compare her to Iron Bull.
Right, compare her to a giant who towers over all humans and most other members of his own race. That makes for a good comparison. Also, accusing her of being 'tiny' is utterly irrelevant in a game with dwarves, plenty of whom wield bloody great warhammers.
 

Bad Jim

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The fun part is that it's pretty common in a lot of older/lower budget games to have female characters/classes using bows, which are far more strength dependent. Medieval longbows had ridiculous draw weights and even men had to train for decades before they were strong enough to fire them properly. Skeletons of medieval archers have visibly deformed spines. This is because firing an arrow with great power and range requires great effort while drawing, and women, not being as strong, would have to use bows with less power and range or use crossbows and fire less often.

Logically it would be far more effective to have the women swinging swords while the men fire arrows than vice versa.
 

Albino Boo

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voleary said:
albino boo said:
After saying all that, I feel I must point out that there is no evidence of any of these women taking part in frontline combat. They have weilded command authority but did not actually fight.
Not to mention how notoriously unreliable medieval chronicles were. Especially because "sticking to the facts" was lowest in the authors' list of priorities, if at all. You've got your share of made-up speeches, alegories, classical references and verbatim passages ripped-off from the scriptures. Taking anything in them on face value without external corroboration is beyond ludicrous. Which doesn't stop the author from quoting them as if they were yesterday's newspaper.

Funnily enough, some of these chronicles were also ripe with mentions of supernatural phenomena. One could make a similar exercise and conclude that wizardry existed in real life. And that kind of undermines the whole "dragon" argument.
Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.
 

GundamSentinel

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Thebazilly said:
Abomination said:
Exceptions to the norm do not define the norm, folks. While some women are capable of surpassing the average male it doesn't mean that it's going to happen approaching a 50/50 split that Thedas likes to give us.

It's not established that women are on par with men physically in Thedas, in fact the opposite is true, and the reason for female warriors being fewer than men in reality are still present in Thedas - and I'm not just talking the average physical build.

Offer more body type options, not the same damn model. Cassandra doesn't work because she's tiny, not because she's a woman. Just compare her to Iron Bull.
I don't think you read the article.

The whole point is that the difference in strength between men and women doesn't even factor in. Longswords are light enough and the difference is negligible enough that women being the "weaker sex" doesn't matter. You don't need to be a muscle mountain to swing a sword.
Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.

And it has little to do with being a muscle mountain. Men on average just have more muscle mass and their muscle mass is more effective (Journal of Applied Physiology numbers state 40% and 33% more muscle mass in the upper and lower body respectively and between 5 and 10% more effective muscle tissue. Or if you don't believe that, watch sports). On average, mind you. There may have been a lot of Brienne of Tarths out there, but there's a reason female soldiers were rare throughout history. Some notable examples don't change that.

*disclaimer* I have no problem whatsoever with female combatants in any form of media and the very notion that people do is quite ludicrous. In fact, I usually play female characters in every game that gives the option.
 

ForumSafari

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Rowan93 said:
- Maybe it's only shown happening this slowly to make it clearer to the viewer what's going on, and "in-universe" it's only taking a couple seconds? I mean the first guy is still standing there with a hole in him at the end when they all drop, and it would be a lot less fun to see the cut-down version where the arrow flies too fast to keep track of.
I think that may be a point but it's fairly obvious that they're still moving at normal speed when you watch it. They should have shot him the second he started reaching for his coat regardless.

Rowan93 said:
- Interestingly this was referenced in a comic elsewhere that literally went up today - compared to how screwed you'd be if they were using some OS you've never heard of, finding out it's an OS you're familiar with is pretty great, and you don't have to take the line to specifically mean "the fact that I know this OS means the problem is as good as solved".
- Wouldn't you want turning the vital systems on to be fail-safe if someone forgets the password, specifically to avoid having too many people be eaten by velociraptors?
I'll be honest here, a lot of my frustration with this is that it's my job. I can configure and deploy software that others can't even though they're passably familiar with UNIX systems. The other issue is that this software is custom written by Nedry so she's not going to have ever seen it before. It just doesn't make sense.

As for the second point, oh holy fucking shit no! For one thing being able to do this without a password on a UNIX system would probably also give the user the ability to turn the services off or even monkey with the service configuration. In general nixlike OS control services from /etc/init.d, a directory that contains scripts with entries for starting, stopping and reloading services. The problem with allowing any old numpty to access this directory is that you either place a file outside with credentials embedded for getting in to a high enough user context (dangerous because they can grab the password right back out) or allow the user access to /etc/init.d, thus taking them through /etc. On nixlikes /etc is the high level directory that holds almost all the config files for the entire OS and its' programs. That means they can then read the contents of the directory and thus get any service account passwords embedded in there. If they were running something like netgenie at the time that would then give them super user credentials for other servers and probably the one it was located on. The other danger is that even if you lock it down so that a user can only start a service you can also deliberately crash a computer by passing malformed commands to the service execution script. If you have a multi purpose user with the ability to turn things on and off they can either crash the system using some kind of malformed code like a fork bomb or they can toggle the service on and off fast enough to cause physical damage. What you ideally really want to do is tell the computer to power the fence back on unless it finds a file or a variable that deliberately inhibits it coming back on. That way the fences default to on unless they're turned off and locked open and the user isn't involved at all.

For another thing the password is there to stop well meaning users who shouldn't be able to turn it back on from having the ability to do so, for instance in the case of the fences you want to have very tight control over who can turn them back on for the purpose of safe maintenance. Muldoon empties the Rex paddock while they fix storm damage, someone sees the fence off, panics, doesn't have access to the work logs because security and toggles the fence back on.

Thirdly Nedry is shown as part of the initial setup crew. If you forgot your password when the park was operational there would almost certainly be another admin on site to reset your password. It's also worth noting that Jurassic Park is basically Project Management Fuck-ups: The Movie

Fourthly funnily enough the raptor fence is the only fence on a separate circuit so it wasn't turned off until the computer was manually power cycled, a user shouldn't be able to toggle the state of any fence but that one especially should default to on at all times and need specifically overriding.
 

CommanderZx2

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I've never heard anyone make the claim that women cannot use longswords. However I find it amusing that you could easily, with very few edits, reuse the first page of that article as defence for sexy female armours.
 

blackrave

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daibakuha said:
Major_Tom said:
Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.
Has more to do with how the weapons are used. Katanas are about slicing, using the blade's edge instead of the force behind the swing. Traditional European weapons are more about brute force, generally speaking.
Um, wut?
If by "Traditional European weapons" you mean warhammers and maces than yes.
But if you talk about swords then no, just no.
Bashing did occur, but WITH A HANDLE not blade.
When it came to blade stabbing and slashing was ordinary methods.
And there is nothing "brute" in proper European sword techniques.
"Brute force" is only a thing in movies and games, since most people have no idea how swords work, that's why sword "technique" is bashing enemy with a sword as if it's a mace.
"Brutes" on actual battlefields were mostly armed with spears, blunt weapons or axes.
 

Ihateregistering1

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I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
 

murrow

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albino boo said:
Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.
I believe you. You clearly know what you're talking about. My comment was rather pointed at the article itself. The author is a bit too fact-hungry for my taste.

Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
Morrowind had different starting attributes for male and female, IIRC.
 

Twinmill5000

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blackrave said:
Um, wut?
If by "Traditional European weapons" you mean warhammers and maces than yes.
But if you talk about swords then no, just no.
Bashing did occur, but WITH A HANDLE not blade.
When it came to blade stabbing and slashing was ordinary methods.
And there is nothing "brute" in proper European sword techniques.
"Brute force" is only a thing in movies and games, since most people have no idea how swords work, that's why sword "technique" is bashing enemy with a sword as if it's a mace.
"Brutes" on actual battlefields were mostly armed with spears, blunt weapons or axes.
Yes. Yessss. Let's debate swords now.

A katana is better for 'slicing' because of the shape of the blade itself, offering much less resistance by extending the actual cutting area (that makes contact with squishy cut-tee material) of the blade through its curved shape, but we're talking about swords so physics don't matter, and it's not like when you're cutting something, it's almost always better to cut at an angle, something every single chef totally won't tell you. Don't get me wrong, a sharp edge is a sharp edge, and a more traditional blade can still chop off an arm, but it actually does take more force, and is better suited for piercing.

A close relative of the katana, tough I find little historical correlation between the two, is a scimitar, and while we're at it, machete, which, like the katana, have a curved edge (more surface area) for slicing, and a weighted tip (so it carries more momentum with each slash). The faults of these two swords should be obvious, as the katana is known for being the most balanced sword for a reason (or lack of reason. Material. In the tip. Weight).

Wait, why am I arguing this? Reality aside, the notion that women can't use longswords is freaking ridiculous and makes me question how the people who put up that asinine argument haven't gassed themselves by sniffing exhaust fumes from their cars (and while a 10-20 pound blade is light when viewed as a paperweight, it, yes, can be difficult to swing around like a... you know, sword, we get that); it's a fucking video game. It's not even worth arguing (except to point out how great glorious nippon steel is), but really, I'm just here to make as many already angry people as angry(ier) as I can make them.



I can't imagine how someone who honestly fights against the notion that women can wield 2h swords will act when they discover something like any other fantasy game ever.
 

blackrave

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Twinmill5000 said:
Bad Twinmill!
Who let you out of a basement?

P.S. All I said that all swords are sophisticated weapons that simply demand special techniques. There were never "brute force" behind any sword. "Brute force" can be related only to blunt weapons.
 

Jake Martinez

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On average, men are about 50% stronger than women. This is a well established fact for anyone who has done any physical education or personal training classes.

If you want to talk about weapons and historical context, once again - even if women were trained in weapons as part of their social class (like japanese Miko) they rarely ever fought unless it was absolutely necessary, because of obvious reasons - they're at a severe disadvantage compared to even an ordinary man due to strength and size.

HOWEVER...
This is a bloody video game. It's fantasy escapism. It's fictional. It's fun (well, that's debatable in the cases of some games).

This really shouldn't even get a topic for discussion, I mean c'mon. We accept all sorts of things far more silly than some computer character picking up a heavy sword.

I'm certain that no one here really thinks there is anything wrong with this or demands historical accuracy from games featuring fantasy characters and settings.
 

Ushiromiya Battler

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
In the Mount and Blade games, playing a female is essentially hard mode. You have to work harder to work your way up as women are essentially tools to for fathers to use in political marriages. Made it a lot more interesting to play.
You get less strength and charisma, but more agility and int. You aren't even allowed inside other lords castles unless you have enough renown.
 

Imp_Emissary

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small said:
im more weirded out by the lack of spears you find in games
The mages took them all to use as staffs......Really. Take your mages staffs away and their stand in weapon are spears. xD

At least that's what it looks like.
Sniper Team 4 said:
Wait...what? This is an argument somewhere? That women can't use swords because they're too heavy? In Dragon Age? There are people out there who are actually upset about that? I can't even fathom that train of thought. I mean, have they seen the speed at which the archers fire their arrows? Or the way two-handed warriors swing their weapon around like it's paper? Or the fact that mages can spin their weapons again and again without pulling a muscle in, well, any part of their arm? The idea that a woman can't use a sword, any type of sword, is baffling to me, even more so in a fantasy game.
SlumlordThanatos said:
Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.
I can personally assure you both that I've seen people making this argument. Some using the same words that Rob is using. Also, that others have stated his points to counter them too (swords aren't actually that heavy, women can and have used them, and "Really? Dragons and magic, no issue. But women using big swords is too much?" ;p).

Heck, some people around here still are. xp

OT: Thanks for the article Rath. Learned a lot about swords and junk.

Apparently, bows are even harder, and DA has loads of women using them, so they should be fine with blades.

[sub][sub][sub][sub]Magic is still better. ;p[/sub][/sub][/sub][/sub]
 

Albino Boo

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voleary said:
albino boo said:
Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.
I believe you. You clearly know what you're talking about. My comment was rather pointed at the article itself. The author is a bit too fact-hungry for my taste.

Well Matilda countess of Tuscany certainly did wield strategic command but again there is only one single account of her being present on a battlefield. I think its from friendly Papal sources, stating that she lead a cavalry charge. Its possible but unlikely that she took part in actual fighting. As an entirely unconnected aside Countess Matilda is a relative by marriage of Elizabeth II.

In the case of the Catalan Company, its a genuine possibility. The Catalan company was hired by the Byzantine Empire as mercenaries against the Seljuk Turks. There was an argument over the possession of some spoils form a battle and the Catalans went rouge. The Empire made their destruction their top priority, spending more resources hunting the Catalans than fighting the Turks. Its more than possible that they lacked the manpower to hold the full circuit of walls and in desperation armed the female camp followers to fill the gaps.

Moving on to Johanna Ferrour. The information about her comes from contemporary court records so isn't from chronicles and has a higher level of versity. That said the records in her case indicates Johanna Ferrour was a leader of a mob and again not necessarily taking on a front line role.

I can't comment on the other stories because I don't known enough about them to say one way or another.
 

Attercap

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.
 

Ihateregistering1

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Attercap said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.
Really? I don't remember that from Fallout 1 and 2, though admittedly it's been a long time since I played them.
 

medv4380

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The articles argument lost me when it didn't even bother to back itself up using Joan of Arc's sword. Replicas put it's length at 29.5 inches. Which puts it on the Short side of the Long sword which is usually 35 to 43 inches, and the long side of the Short Sword 17in to 26in.

Yes, women did fight in wars in the middle ages, but they wouldn't have gotten very far if they didn't use the equipment better suited to them. You wouldn't see a lean 5'4" guy running around with a Great Sword ether.
 

lowtech redneck

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GundamSentinel said:
Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.
Thank you for that sensible post.

Also, I agree with the author that (effectively) complaining that games don't punish you for picking female characters in a fantasy game is kind of stupid, it rubbed me the wrong way when he equated arguments based on physiological differences with ones based on supposed emotional fragility in women*; the two are not the same, and only serves as a means of portraying on side of a nerd argument as troglodytes instead of people who simply need to repeat the MST3000 mantra to themselves.

*I happen to think that hormonal differences do in fact produce substantial differences in 'average' male and female personalities even in the absence of supposedly all-pervasive and quasi-deterministic sexist cultural norms, but that doesn't mean its unrealistic for large numbers of women to be eager and effective soilders/warriors/adventures. Nor does it mean uninterested women are fragile, for that matter.
 

Vault101

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Uuuuggghhh

My inquisitor uses a two hander screw anyone who says she can't
 

Attercap

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Ihateregistering1 said:
Attercap said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.
Really? I don't remember that from Fallout 1 and 2, though admittedly it's been a long time since I played them.
Yeah, it's been a while and the Wiki doesn't seem to indicate that gender affected stats, so I may be wrong for Fallout. I did confirm that Arcanum does what I was thinking of, though there was a background perk to "undo" or "reverse" the effect for the PC. So the stat change by gender definitely has been done.
 

TravelerSF

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I've always seen the large amount of female warriors in Dragon Age more as a reflection of societal norms. I think it might be fair to say that most cultures, especially the medieval European ones, disencouraged women from becoming soldiers and instead encouraged them to take a more traditional, nursing role.

But thanks to the female centric religion system of the Dragon Age universe, women hold a lot more power in that world. Also, as Totalbiscuit once pointed out, it is a world that nearly gets wiped out on a regular basis. Why the heck would you turn away potential fighters? Because they have tits? Pfff.
 

Bat Vader

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Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I had the same reaction a few minutes ago. I guess I never really paid attention to what people said about the Dragon Age games.
 
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daibakuha said:
Major_Tom said:
Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.
Has more to do with how the weapons are used. Katanas are about slicing, using the blade's edge instead of the force behind the swing. Traditional European weapons are more about brute force, generally speaking.

That isn't to say I disagree with the article or anything, I don't at all. But this is why people think it makes more sense.
Actually it's the other way around in regards to brute force. A katana has a lot more weight behind it's edge so it's much more forgiving when your edge alignment is off while with say a longsword you have to have good technique to pull off anything resembling a decent cut.
 

ShenCS

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GundamSentinel said:
Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.
Less than you think! You should never be blocking someone's blows in such a manner as to force a strength contest; it'll damage your weapon, leave you open to attacks from side-arms etc. etc. As with all defensive measure's, one wants to deflect, blocking at an angle and, importantly, guiding the weapon away from you using its own momentum. Blocking primarily with strength is a very low percent scenario beyond amateur level. It shows up a lot in the media because the actors are usually aiming for the other weapon, rather than the one holding it, and it just so happens to look really, really cool. Driving a sword through mail is an interesting one. Ultimately, a man at peak condition would be "better" at doing this than a woman, BUT it's not really that much of an issue apparently because there's a limit to how effective one actually needs to be. The peak condition woman would also be able to skewer people in a lethal fashion without much more trouble than the man. Combat stamina's importance varies GREATLY depending on the context and individual fighting styles. Individual melees (or duels) tend not to take a huge amount of time unless one or both of them are aiming to make it so. Fighting with swords is pretty dangerous I hear. Fighting in armies depends very much on the structure of the army and the exact nature of the battlefield: good armies tend to have a sort of shift system. Regardless, adrenaline tends to extend stamina to as long as necessary for either gender.
TL:DR; direct strength tends not to matter much past a certain level of competency. Overall body coordination, i.e. dexterity is far more important to swordplay. Ironically enough, archery relies waaaay more on strength, as has been mentioned in the thread.

What I don't get about the cretins who complain about women using big weapons because of "realistic physical limitations" is that they then see their male character hit solid ground, with a bladed object no less, so hard that it cracks and shatters and somehow thing that's within even a man's realistic physical limitation?
As for the boob thing; that's why you get people complaining about the ridiculous breasts all female game characters have and are pushing for more realistic tit designs. Oh, and one last thing on the female physique thing: women tend not to bulk out much if they're athletic so they're petite bodies aren't really all that far off. The complete lack of muscle definition however...
 

Robert Rath

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
I'm pretty sure Oblivion had different height and attribute stats between different genders of the same race.
 

Robert Rath

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Oh god, a new article filled with SJW RAAAGGGGGEEEEEEEEE!!!

...just kidding, whoever says this is an idiot, but you're just giving a stage to this opinion, rather than let it fade into obscurity. But for god's sake, I hate the argument that X can do Y, thus every one who belongs to X group can do Y. So there's a female champion, that it doesn't mean squat about females in general.
 

sjard

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Having been a HEMA practicioner for nearly twenty years now, I believe most of the problem is simply hollywoodism combined with the incredibly horrible sword designs in games. A longsword, which is a sword about 48 inches long overall, two handed, and with a weight of 2.8 to 3.5 pounds on average, is not particularly hard to use. I've trained and trained with women of almost every physical body type.

Another misconception is that a physically strong person has to be bulky and bulging muscles. This is the exact opposite of the reality for useful muscle mass. Useful muscles tend to be long and thin, and yes, that means that most of the scariest strongest fighting people in the world look like they're beanpoles.

Parries are not what hollywood and games show. You do not, ever, get into that blade on blade shoving match. If you try against someone who is even halfway trained, you will lose. The term is bindun und windun, Binding and Winding, you have to tell, instantly at the bind, if they are soft or hard at the bind. This tells you how you should behave. But the idea is that you go around their blade, not through it.

Another common myth is that swords can cut through armor. They can't, Period. Dot. You may be able to thrust through some types, and through weak points.

If you really want to know what longsword work is like, look up ARMA on youtube or at thearma.org. ARMA in this case being the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, one of the leading HEMA groups. Yes, John Clements is a bit of a jackass at times, especially in writing, but he does know what he's talking about.

Edit: And finishing reading after posting this, (I was posting for the commenters not the author), I see he already links to the ARMA website.
 

Godhead

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Well if women weren't able to wield longswords because they were too heavy, then how in the world do they do anything? Longswords are like 5 lbs on average.
 

Grace_Omega

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I do not get arguments like this. Even if it was literally impossible for women to wield two-handed swords (or do anything else a game might feature) in real life, that can be easily dismissed because Dragon Age allows players to make female characters and it would be Some Bullshit if the game restricted certain weapons or skills by gender. If we were talking about a game aiming for strict historical accuracy we could have a conversation about realism, but in a game like Dragon Age gameplay considerations have to take precedence.

Also: why does this conversation always revolve around gender? Shouldn't a really weedy male character with no muscles also be incapable of lifting a heavy sword? Or what about putting a movement penalty on overweight characters? If we're considering the idea that women swinging huge swords is an unacceptable break of immersion, shouldn't these be just as important factors?

The fact is, even the people making this argument completely overlook tons of "unrealistic" elements in the game they play. They're just fixating on this one issue for other reasons.
 

Clive Howlitzer

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
Arcanum: Of Magic and Steamworks Obscura had different starting statistics for males and females. It also gave you different background options based on your gender as well. It also had quite a few effects during the course of the game. They weren't created equal but each played on their own strengths.

An underrated game marred by some bugs.
 

GundamSentinel

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ShenCS said:
GundamSentinel said:
Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.
Less than you think! You should never be blocking someone's blows in such a manner as to force a strength contest; it'll damage your weapon, leave you open to attacks from side-arms etc. etc. As with all defensive measure's, one wants to deflect, blocking at an angle and, importantly, guiding the weapon away from you using its own momentum. Blocking primarily with strength is a very low percent scenario beyond amateur level. It shows up a lot in the media because the actors are usually aiming for the other weapon, rather than the one holding it, and it just so happens to look really, really cool.
True. But then I have some other points:

Apart from the question whether or not most soldiers in history were more than amateurs (loads of peasants in the ranks), how about shields? They are made to block, and the same argument can be made against women using them as effectively as men. Also, when you're struggling for your life, I doubt you'll worry about your weapon getting damaged. On top of that, a battle is not a series of one-on-one encounters where you can professionally deal with your opponent as he comes at you.

Driving a sword through mail is an interesting one. Ultimately, a man at peak condition would be "better" at doing this than a woman, BUT it's not really that much of an issue apparently because there's a limit to how effective one actually needs to be. The peak condition woman would also be able to skewer people in a lethal fashion without much more trouble than the man.
Can be argued both ways. Fact remains that someone who is stronger will have an easier time pushing a sword through something. I'll never say women can't stab through mail (hell, a typical longsword's point will stick a fair way through mail without even applying force), but men will generally have an easier time.

Additionally, one shouldn't underestimate how much grappling and shoving would go on in a battle, with a sword being used more as a lever to apply force to rather than to stick someone with.

Combat stamina's importance varies GREATLY depending on the context and individual fighting styles. Individual melees (or duels) tend not to take a huge amount of time unless one or both of them are aiming to make it so. Fighting with swords is pretty dangerous I hear. Fighting in armies depends very much on the structure of the army and the exact nature of the battlefield: good armies tend to have a sort of shift system. Regardless, adrenaline tends to extend stamina to as long as necessary for either gender.
Adrenaline sure helps, but will only take you so far. As an example, the Battle of Hastings lasted some 12 hours. However you split your shifts, still comes down to hours of slogging.

Also, most time spent in an army is not time spent in battle. How about long marches with heavy equipment? How about raising siege lines or building defenses? There's more to being a soldier than just fighting and some of it can be even more fatiguing.

TL:DR; direct strength tends not to matter much past a certain level of competency. Overall body coordination, i.e. dexterity is far more important to swordplay. Ironically enough, archery relies waaaay more on strength, as has been mentioned in the thread.
That's what I found odd about all these recent movies with female archers like Brave and the Hunger Games. Even modern bows still require quite some strength to use properly.
What I don't get about the cretins who complain about women using big weapons because of "realistic physical limitations" is that they then see their male character hit solid ground, with a bladed object no less, so hard that it cracks and shatters and somehow thing that's within even a man's realistic physical limitation?
As for the boob thing; that's why you get people complaining about the ridiculous breasts all female game characters have and are pushing for more realistic tit designs. Oh, and one last thing on the female physique thing: women tend not to bulk out much if they're athletic so they're petite bodies aren't really all that far off. The complete lack of muscle definition however...
I will agree with you there.
 

Ambitiousmould

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Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
 

GundamSentinel

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ambitiousmould said:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.
 

Nixou

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
The Fire Emblem series: usually female characters are a little bit weaker and a little bit faster than males. And since in the Fire Emblem, speed is more important than strength and swordsmen tends to be the fastest units around, it led to the series' Iron Law: Nothing in Fire Emblem is tiny girl waving a sword [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vda4U2ilFE].
 

dreng3

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As someone with an interest in a broad range of martial arts and weapons I do see some problems with women using longswords, though it has nothing to do with physical strength.
If any of my female acquaintances were to ask for instruction with a weapon of my choice I would be far more likely to suggest a polearm than a sword, simply because it is a weapon better suited to women. In a melee women will often have to compensate for inferior reach and a lack of weight behind the blows, so instead I argue that taking advantage of having a smaller build and, in my experience, superior balance and hand to eye coordination, is the best option.
My suggestion is based off the notion that the practicioner will eventually face someone with natural advantages.
If a female acquaintance insisted on using a melee weapon anyway I would recommend either a shortsword or a dagger combined with a martial art as the weapons will lend themselves to the natural physical advantages by allowing the practicioner to close in and use the opponents reach against them.

So based off my experience;
Women using longswords? Fine, not ideal and likely to put her at a disadvantage, but in no way unrealistic.
 

LetalisK

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There is one thing that this article, and thread, has taught me. We have not come as long of a way as we think. I think we don't give our ancestors enough (little) credit when it comes to women and ourselves too much credit.

OhNoYouDidnt said:
It is really amusing that this longswordfighting champion is called Samantha Swords . I wonder if having such a surname inspired the choice to take up swordfighting?
That was the only moment where I went "bullshit!" I have an easier time believing she's a narcissist who changed her last name.
 

Ambitiousmould

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GundamSentinel said:
ambitiousmould said:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.
Fair enough. I hope that I am correct in assuming that you aren't arguing against the idea of women using swords here, and merely trying to restore factual accuracy.
Because I cannot see for the life of me that a woman would be incapable of using a sword after given sufficient training, just as a man would need training. I mean I'm a lad and I couldn't wield a longsword to save my life (and it would be to save my life, I imagine).
Basically Person + Training = Person able to wield a sword, right?
 

Abomination

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ambitiousmould said:
GundamSentinel said:
ambitiousmould said:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.
Fair enough. I hope that I am correct in assuming that you aren't arguing against the idea of women using swords here, and merely trying to restore factual accuracy.
Because I cannot see for the life of me that a woman would be incapable of using a sword after given sufficient training, just as a man would need training. I mean I'm a lad and I couldn't wield a longsword to save my life (and it would be to save my life, I imagine).
Basically Person + Training = Person able to wield a sword, right?
It's true that with sufficient training and practice a woman could best a man of similar situation. The problem is that in those societies women, on a societal level, were "more valuable" than men. If men were off to war someone still had to ensure the kids and home were taken care of. Not every soldier was a bachelor and the whole being pregnant/giving birth thing was not conducive to soldiering. Then there's the whole rape & pillage thing that many non-noble soldiers would sign up for.

Effectively, women in the age were ill-suited to warfare and thus were employed in less than 1% of combat roles. It'd be like having a hammer and a screwdriver. The hammer isn't as good at screwing screws but it can sort of get the job done if you've got no other option and the screwdriver isn't very good at hammering nails but it can get the job done if you've got no other option. In this analogy war is hammering nails and men are hammers, keeping the home in order and raising children is screwing screws and women are screwdrivers. Why would you send women to war? Why would you train women for war?
 

WouldYouKindly

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You could make the argument for the large warhammers and battle axes as those did require quite a bit of upper body strength to swing around. Swords, even greatswords, were made to be balanced in medieval Europe that Dragon Age largely imitates. This makes them require less strength to use effectively.

I think the only real difference with the large swords would be that women, lacking a bit in upper body strength, would have a little less control over the blade and a bit less followthrough with the shoulder. They'd have a lower body advantage, as I think they can generate more power there due to the broader hips. I don't know, I haven't tested it. Either way, I don't want to be hit by a sword no matter who is swinging it.
 

Tuxedoman

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What.

Okay. I've done Hema for nearly six years now. I've fought with Longswords, Daggers, Messers and Sabers, and played around with probably a dozen other weapons.

Funnily enough, we have women in our group.
Funnily enough, they're no better or worse than any of the doodebros.

Wielding a londsword isn't about strength. Hell, i'd argue most melee weapons aren't about strength. You only need to be strong enough to wield the weapon while staying in control of it; endurance is key. Not strength.

And although strength does play a role in any sort of swordplay, it is very easy to use too much strength in a blow. You're not trying to hew someone in two after all, as there are far less wasteful ways to kill someone with a sword.

Also, if you put your all into a strike, it is -very- easy for that blow to be deflected. If you're 100% dedicated to it, then you have no way to change course if things aren't going the way you planned, and any swordsman with any worth would -not- stand there and take a tough-ass blow, they would redirect it so that the force doesn't hit them.

I'm rambling though. Point is, no. If me being 57 kilos can fight and train for hours on end, I don't think someone more physically fit than me who is a woman will not be able to, simply because they are a woman. I'm also assuming that when people say longsword, they mean two handed dueling swords. Not big-ass thick greatswords that you can not wield with any level of finesse due to their size, and due to the armour you're in.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Its odd how most fantasy games put women in the roll of archers, since using a bow requires much more strength than wielding a sword.
 

balladbird

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With a name like Samantha Swords, she really had only two choices in life. She could be a swordmaster, or a Golden Age comic superhero. XD

I have encountered a few of the folks the OP mentions, though none who have written essays on the subject. I know that where the line for suspension of disbelief lies is a personal one, but some people will always strike me as silly about it.
 

CrystalShadow

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Rommel102 said:
I don't have any problem with the women in Dragon Age (or any Bioware game) being strong fighters, wielding swords, etc.

I think the only unrealistic aspect is that when playing as a human female in Dragon Age or as FemShep that the build of the character doesn't match reality. Femshep and the femhuman warrior DA:I characters are both really petite and skinny characters. To be realistic, both should be a lot more muscular and their bodies should reflect that.

For a perfect example: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Vjp0gyp6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17g69x63n8gjtjpg.jpg
True, but honestly, realistic 'physique' is actually not what people think it is. To some extent it's one of those 'reality seems too fake to be believable' kind of things at this point. There's quite a few examples of stuff like that. For instance, a recent photo of a moon of... Saturn I think looked 'fake' and like CGI, because people expect to see 'atmospheric haze'. (ugh. Why is it when you don't need it you can think of dozens of examples, but when you do, you end up drawing a blank?)


I always find this of relevance when people start talking about 'strength' (or athleticism of any kind) and appearance.
http://www.boredpanda.com/athlete-body-types-comparison-howard-schatz/

Notice the various things where the real athlete looks like something quite different from people's standard conceptions?
(Often leaning towards the bodybuilder, whose body is basically all show, rather than a real athlete, for instance.)

Take note of the female athletes in particular.

Of note:

-weightlifters (one tiny and muscular, and one huge, and for lack of a better description, very fat looking. - Actually seems to be a common trend for weightlifters to look more 'fat' than 'muscular')

-The appearance of all the various gymnasts. (relevant to the especially acrobatic characters, such as say, Lara Croft)
-Long distance runners (anyone that needs considerable stamina)
-Hammer throw. (Not all that muscular. Largish, but not muscular looking), which is to some extent a feat of both strength and coordination
- Shot put (Similar story. This is again a feat of strength and coordination, and again we see someone that doesn't actually seem that muscular)
- Even consider a female boxer. Muscular, yes, but much less dramatically so than you might expect.

The reality is quite a bit different both from what you see in media, AND what people who tend to comment about 'unrealistic' character bodytypes think it should actually look like.

I wonder, if we used these athletes as a reference, and created a game with 'realistic' (strong) female characters, what would the reaction be?

(I'm guessing the weightlifters in particular wouldn't go down well... XD)
 

LetalisK

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ShenCS said:
TL:DR; direct strength tends not to matter much past a certain level of competency. Overall body coordination, i.e. dexterity is far more important to swordplay. Ironically enough, archery relies waaaay more on strength, as has been mentioned in the thread.
Wait, so RPGs have been lying to me for decades and flipping Strength and Dexterity/Agility? IMMERSION!! It is broken!

sjard said:
Another misconception is that a physically strong person has to be bulky and bulging muscles. This is the exact opposite of the reality for useful muscle mass. Useful muscles tend to be long and thin, and yes, that means that most of the scariest strongest fighting people in the world look like they're beanpoles.
Fear the gymnasts. They're crazy strong.
 

Ariseishirou

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CrystalShadow said:
Rommel102 said:
I don't have any problem with the women in Dragon Age (or any Bioware game) being strong fighters, wielding swords, etc.

I think the only unrealistic aspect is that when playing as a human female in Dragon Age or as FemShep that the build of the character doesn't match reality. Femshep and the femhuman warrior DA:I characters are both really petite and skinny characters. To be realistic, both should be a lot more muscular and their bodies should reflect that.

For a perfect example: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Vjp0gyp6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17g69x63n8gjtjpg.jpg
True, but honestly, realistic 'physique' is actually not what people think it is. To some extent it's one of those 'reality seems too fake to be believable' kind of things at this point. There's quite a few examples of stuff like that. For instance, a recent photo of a moon of... Saturn I think looked 'fake' and like CGI, because people expect to see 'atmospheric haze'. (ugh. Why is it when you don't need it you can think of dozens of examples, but when you do, you end up drawing a blank?)


I always find this of relevance when people start talking about 'strength' (or athleticism of any kind) and appearance.
http://www.boredpanda.com/athlete-body-types-comparison-howard-schatz/

Notice the various things where the real athlete looks like something quite different from people's standard conceptions?
(Often leaning towards the bodybuilder, whose body is basically all show, rather than a real athlete, for instance.)

Take note of the female athletes in particular.

Of note:

-weightlifters (one tiny and muscular, and one huge, and for lack of a better description, very fat looking. - Actually seems to be a common trend for weightlifters to look more 'fat' than 'muscular')

-The appearance of all the various gymnasts. (relevant to the especially acrobatic characters, such as say, Lara Croft)
-Long distance runners (anyone that needs considerable stamina)
-Hammer throw. (Not all that muscular. Largish, but not muscular looking), which is to some extent a feat of both strength and coordination
- Shot put (Similar story. This is again a feat of strength and coordination, and again we see someone that doesn't actually seem that muscular)
- Even consider a female boxer. Muscular, yes, but much less dramatically so than you might expect.

The reality is quite a bit different both from what you see in media, AND what people who tend to comment about 'unrealistic' character bodytypes think it should actually look like.

I wonder, if we used these athletes as a reference, and created a game with 'realistic' (strong) female characters, what would the reaction be?

(I'm guessing the weightlifters in particular wouldn't go down well... XD)
Most of this is due to the fact that body fat covers muscle. You also need to eat a lot to gain bulk muscle, and much of this will inevitably be gained as fat. The "cut" or "ripped" appearance people imagine when they think muscles is due more to body fat % than actual strength; this is why you see fat weightlifters and the guys who do World's Strongest Man competitions are chubby rather sleek.

I swam and did track all the way through high school and college, and honestly, the girls who did track looked way more stereotypically "muscular" than the swimmers, even though when we were all in the gym together, the swimmers were 2x and sometimes even 3x stronger in their upper bodies, just like you'd expect. They just had more body fat, because it matters less in swimming (you're weightless) and it even helps a little to endure cold water for long hours of practice. I was primarily a swimmer, but I threw out my shoulder one summer and could only run; by the end of the summer I looked like a muscled beast, even though my actual physical strength had declined considerably. I'd just lost a bunch of body fat, too.

But yeah, someone like Brienne probably wouldn't look that "ripped" because she'd have no reason to cut. She'd probably just look really bulky.
 

Ariseishirou

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
Pen and paper RPGs used to have these all the time. I might be revealing myself as an old here, but strength modifiers for female characters were the norm as late as 2E D&D (where by optional rules you could get up to 18 strength as a female character, but not the 18+ ranges like 18/00 - I forget what you got in return. Tits, probably ;p). This wasn't exactly accurate, because the strongest female weightlifters in the world could actually lift more like 18/50, but close enough. (The -4 of the popular meme is grossly unrealistic, there are 50+ year old grandmas in my gym who can lift the equivalent of 14 Strength).

What killed all that wasn't actually the strength modifier for female characters - anyone alive in the real world with eyes knows that women tend to have weaker upper bodies, on average - it was arguments over what to give them in return to make up for it. I knew guys who'd scream bloody murder about giving female characters advantages to intelligence or dexterity (back in Ye Olden Days, it wasn't as well-established that women have equal IQs, and that testing lower in the past was due to social disadvantages/lack of education rather than some "inherent" difference, and there were no women fighter pilots or race car drivers like there are now, so some men argued that they didn't have the "reaction times" for it). Wisdom or charisma were less controversial, but there were still a lot of men who refused to let female characters have a bonus to those (women aren't wiser, they're flightier! charisma isn't good looks, it's force of personality, and almost all great leaders are men! etc.). But giving female characters _nothing_ to make up for the strength penalty meant there was no point in playing one.

So most RPGs just dodged the issue by dropping modifiers entirely.
 

CrystalShadow

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Ariseishirou said:
CrystalShadow said:
Rommel102 said:
I don't have any problem with the women in Dragon Age (or any Bioware game) being strong fighters, wielding swords, etc.

I think the only unrealistic aspect is that when playing as a human female in Dragon Age or as FemShep that the build of the character doesn't match reality. Femshep and the femhuman warrior DA:I characters are both really petite and skinny characters. To be realistic, both should be a lot more muscular and their bodies should reflect that.

For a perfect example: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Vjp0gyp6--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17g69x63n8gjtjpg.jpg
True, but honestly, realistic 'physique' is actually not what people think it is. To some extent it's one of those 'reality seems too fake to be believable' kind of things at this point. There's quite a few examples of stuff like that. For instance, a recent photo of a moon of... Saturn I think looked 'fake' and like CGI, because people expect to see 'atmospheric haze'. (ugh. Why is it when you don't need it you can think of dozens of examples, but when you do, you end up drawing a blank?)


I always find this of relevance when people start talking about 'strength' (or athleticism of any kind) and appearance.
http://www.boredpanda.com/athlete-body-types-comparison-howard-schatz/

Notice the various things where the real athlete looks like something quite different from people's standard conceptions?
(Often leaning towards the bodybuilder, whose body is basically all show, rather than a real athlete, for instance.)

Take note of the female athletes in particular.

Of note:

-weightlifters (one tiny and muscular, and one huge, and for lack of a better description, very fat looking. - Actually seems to be a common trend for weightlifters to look more 'fat' than 'muscular')

-The appearance of all the various gymnasts. (relevant to the especially acrobatic characters, such as say, Lara Croft)
-Long distance runners (anyone that needs considerable stamina)
-Hammer throw. (Not all that muscular. Largish, but not muscular looking), which is to some extent a feat of both strength and coordination
- Shot put (Similar story. This is again a feat of strength and coordination, and again we see someone that doesn't actually seem that muscular)
- Even consider a female boxer. Muscular, yes, but much less dramatically so than you might expect.

The reality is quite a bit different both from what you see in media, AND what people who tend to comment about 'unrealistic' character bodytypes think it should actually look like.

I wonder, if we used these athletes as a reference, and created a game with 'realistic' (strong) female characters, what would the reaction be?

(I'm guessing the weightlifters in particular wouldn't go down well... XD)

Most of this is due to the fact that body fat covers muscle. You also need to eat a lot to gain bulk muscle, and much of this will inevitably be gained as fat. The "cut" or "ripped" appearance people imagine when they think muscles is due more to body fat % than actual strength; this is why you see fat weightlifters and the guys who do World's Strongest Man competitions are chubby rather sleek.

I swam and did track all the way through high school and college, and honestly, the girls who did track looked way more stereotypically "muscular" than the swimmers, even though when we were all in the gym together, the swimmers were 2x and sometimes even 3x stronger in their upper bodies, just like you'd expect. They just had more body fat, because it matters less in swimming (you're weightless) and it even helps a little to endure cold water for long hours of practice. I was primarily a swimmer, but I threw out my shoulder one summer and could only run; by the end of the summer I looked like a muscled beast, even though my actual physical strength had declined considerably. I'd just lost a bunch of body fat, too.

But yeah, someone like Brienne probably wouldn't look that "ripped" because she'd have no reason to cut. She'd probably just look really bulky.
Exactly. This reason alone shows women in general won't look as muscular as men can, even if they were just as strong.
From what I recall, a man can get their body fat percentage down to as little as 1% and be perfectly healthy.
Meanwhile, a woman whose body fat percentage drops below about 12% would be very unhealthy.

And confusing low bodyfat for strength and fitness seems to be a common trend. Like the whole '6-pack' thing, which isn't directly related to being fit at all. It's related to having a bodyfat percentage below about 7 percent!

Fat hides things. Makes the muscles not stand out as much. And because, as a proportion of their bodies, women tend to carry more fat, they aren't going to have the same kind of muscle definition... That simply isn't realistic either.

Maybe 'active/action' women in games could do with being a bit bigger in general, but... Probably not substantially more muscular looking...
 

Robert Rath

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I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.

The article might as well be addressing the "katana's are the best sword ever" discuussions. Funky premise to write a story on, but I admit I don't care. Any informative article like this that examines the way people fought and includes numorous interesting stories is an excellent article in my book.
 

LetalisK

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Something just occurred to me. How many "Women shouldn't be using longswords in my fantasy game of dragons and fireballs because it isn't realistic and breaks my immersion" people also argue that "It doesn't matter that boob plate isn't realistic, it's a fantasy game of dragons and fireballs"? It would seem these two things are mutually exclusive, but people never cease to surprise.
 

Tsun Tzu

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Sniper Team 4 said:
Wait...what? This is an argument somewhere? That women can't use swords because they're too heavy? In Dragon Age? There are people out there who are actually upset about that? I can't even fathom that train of thought. I mean, have they seen the speed at which the archers fire their arrows? Or the way two-handed warriors swing their weapon around like it's paper? Or the fact that mages can spin their weapons again and again without pulling a muscle in, well, any part of their arm? The idea that a woman can't use a sword, any type of sword, is baffling to me, even more so in a fantasy game.
Just going to quote this, because it's my entire stance on the subject.

I wasn't even aware this was an issue...haven't seen it in any of the forums I frequent or sites I visit either. So, this is out of left field for me.
 

Robert Rath

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LetalisK said:
Something just occurred to me. How many "Women shouldn't be using longswords in my fantasy game of dragons and fireballs because it isn't realistic and breaks my immersion" people also argue that "It doesn't matter that boob plate isn't realistic, it's a fantasy game of dragons and fireballs"? It would seem these two things are mutually exclusive, but people never cease to surprise.
The number is both surprising and disappointing. But hey, Misogyny never really had to make sense in it's arguments, and the fine line of what counts as 'immersion breaking' is a terrible though common fallback point for those shitheads.

The impressive thing is I've seen both the 'Women are too weak' and the 'Boobplates are awesome' arguments in the same fucking paragraph before. Some days the internet... just meets your lowest expectations.
 

LetalisK

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Shanicus said:
LetalisK said:
Something just occurred to me. How many "Women shouldn't be using longswords in my fantasy game of dragons and fireballs because it isn't realistic and breaks my immersion" people also argue that "It doesn't matter that boob plate isn't realistic, it's a fantasy game of dragons and fireballs"? It would seem these two things are mutually exclusive, but people never cease to surprise.
The number is both surprising and disappointing. But hey, Misogyny never really had to make sense in it's arguments, and the fine line of what counts as 'immersion breaking' is a terrible though common fallback point for those shitheads.

The impressive thing is I've seen both the 'Women are too weak' and the 'Boobplates are awesome' arguments in the same fucking paragraph before. Some days the internet... just meets your lowest expectations.
Wow. On it's own, the boob plate argument can go either way of being misogynistic or honestly just being about fantasy and I just smashed a troll in the gonads with a warhammer so why not. But when used as a garnish on top of the women aren't strong enough argument, it becomes a delicious dish of unadulterated pigotry. That's right, I just made up a new word for sex based prejudice.
 

JohnZ117

A blind man before the Elephant
Jun 19, 2012
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Great article, but I have to know, is there a film on the life of Margaret of Beverly? And if not, WHY!?
 

hermes

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dunam said:
I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.
I believe the tradition comes from classic mythology (meaning Greek and Roman). In those myths, the only representatives of "warrior women" were the amazons, who were almost always archers. They were famous for (allegedly) cutting their right breast to be able to wield a bow more competently...

It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
 

Gildedtongue

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Also still shaking my fist at fantasy games at the misnaming of various swords. "Longsword" is typically synonymous with Hand-And-A-Half or Bastard Swords, and "Broadswords" typically are basket hilted weapons, known to be thicker than rapiers.

The single-handed, long-bladed weapons used in Dragon Age, Dungeons and Dragons, and the rest of fantasy literature are "Arming Swords."
 

Robert Rath

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hermes200 said:
dunam said:
I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.
I believe the tradition comes from classic mythology (meaning Greek and Roman). In those myths, the only representatives of "warrior women" were the amazons, who were almost always archers. They were famous for (allegedly) cutting their right breast to be able to wield a bow more competently...

It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
I'm hardly a Germanic mythology scholar, but other than the Valkyries, I can't think of any other Norse female warrior women.
 

Robert Rath

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hermes200 said:
It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
Not that curious if you look at the influence of greek and roman culture. I mean we're discussing this in a FORUM, aren't we? :)
 

Robert Rath

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Well...

Listen...

Women are not on AVERAGE as strong as men. Does not mean some women are NOT as strong as needed to be soldiers.
Women are also SMALLER then men. Current day War Machines such as tanks and APCs have LITTLE space in them. Most of the well designed ones would be BETTER of served by females.
*Though shorter men should not be stopped from being there either*



Now as for the Realism in Video Games, Novels and Movies...

Here are examples:


BIoshock Infinite:
I accept:
-Flying City
-Racists
-Space Time BS

I do not accept:
-Columbia attacking a Nuclear Superpower


Pacific Rim:
I accept:
-Gaint Monsters
-Giant Robots


I dont accept
-Giant Robots being more effective then current day war machines, especially when a robot punch deals a lot of damage to a monster (a 120mm Shell is MUCH MUCH more powerful).


Jurassic Park
I accept:
-Dinosaurs

I dont accept:
-Dinosaurs as monsters. They are animals.
-Armed men losing to animals.
 

GundamSentinel

The leading man, who else?
Aug 23, 2009
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ambitiousmould said:
GundamSentinel said:
ambitiousmould said:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.
Fair enough. I hope that I am correct in assuming that you aren't arguing against the idea of women using swords here, and merely trying to restore factual accuracy.
Because I cannot see for the life of me that a woman would be incapable of using a sword after given sufficient training, just as a man would need training. I mean I'm a lad and I couldn't wield a longsword to save my life (and it would be to save my life, I imagine).
Basically Person + Training = Person able to wield a sword, right?
Oh absolutely. Women are perfectly capable of wielding a sword. And as I said in a previous post, I have no problem with women using swords, and certainly not in fiction.

It's just that in certain aspects of sword fighting, and in historical combat in general, strength does play a significant role and OP seems very ignorant in what actually matters in sword fighting and melee combat in general. Yes, a sword weighs as much as a laptop and yes, anyone could swing a laptop around. But swinging a sword is just a part of actually using it in combat. A solid thrust requires strength, grappling with your opponent requires strength, and swinging a sword around for a long period of time while slogging through across a muddy battlefield requires a lot of strength and endurance (after an hour, that sword gets heavy).

On average men are stronger than women and as a consequence, men are better suited to it. Would a well-trained woman be able to use a sword effectively? Yes, certainly! Could a well-trained man do it better or keep it up longer? On average, yes.

Of course, weapon type/style would make a big difference in the role strength and endurance play, but I'm afraid to say men just have a natural advantage. Personally, I'd recommend a spear over a sword. :)

Fact is, women played a marginal role in warfare throughout history, much less as combatants. The examples OP comes with are debatable at best and in the end just that: a couple of examples that prove very little. Some might claim social roles to be responsible for lack of female warriors (and I would ask them: where do you think social roles come from?), but personally I think men are just that bit better at killing each other.
 

Dragonlayer

Aka Corporal Yakob
Dec 5, 2013
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I've honestly never heard of anyone complain that Medieval swords were mountains of steel that required the manliest of manly men to lift, let alone swing. But I'm not surprised people would be complaining that women can't do this in reality or games: the internet is full of idiots.

The only thing I think is a bit odd about the selective realism is that Thedas is almost universally more progressive than our own world. I'm not complaining nor do I fail to grasp the meaning of Fantasy (or "escapist fantasy" for that matter), I just think it slightly weird that the worst reaction to homosexuality people have in southern Thedas is a light-hearted titter. Tevinter might be different but only on the basis that gays surprisingly enough can't conceive biological heirs to further the family line and I'm not sure if there was any mention of Qunari views on it.
 

Ambitiousmould

Why does it say I'm premium now?
Apr 22, 2012
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Abomination said:
ambitiousmould said:
GundamSentinel said:
ambitiousmould said:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.
She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.
Fair enough. I hope that I am correct in assuming that you aren't arguing against the idea of women using swords here, and merely trying to restore factual accuracy.
Because I cannot see for the life of me that a woman would be incapable of using a sword after given sufficient training, just as a man would need training. I mean I'm a lad and I couldn't wield a longsword to save my life (and it would be to save my life, I imagine).
Basically Person + Training = Person able to wield a sword, right?
It's true that with sufficient training and practice a woman could best a man of similar situation. The problem is that in those societies women, on a societal level, were "more valuable" than men. If men were off to war someone still had to ensure the kids and home were taken care of. Not every soldier was a bachelor and the whole being pregnant/giving birth thing was not conducive to soldiering. Then there's the whole rape & pillage thing that many non-noble soldiers would sign up for.

Effectively, women in the age were ill-suited to warfare and thus were employed in less than 1% of combat roles. It'd be like having a hammer and a screwdriver. The hammer isn't as good at screwing screws but it can sort of get the job done if you've got no other option and the screwdriver isn't very good at hammering nails but it can get the job done if you've got no other option. In this analogy war is hammering nails and men are hammers, keeping the home in order and raising children is screwing screws and women are screwdrivers. Why would you send women to war? Why would you train women for war?
All that being said (and true), keeping it within the context of Dragon Age (or fantasy games in general) it is a fictional society, wherein it is clear that women are often soldiers and fighters, and therefore them being able to handle swords is entirely fine and realistic.
 

Abomination

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ambitiousmould said:
All that being said (and true), keeping it within the context of Dragon Age (or fantasy games in general) it is a fictional society, wherein it is clear that women are often soldiers and fighters, and therefore them being able to handle swords is entirely fine and realistic.
I have found Dragon Age to, unfortunately, decide on irrational or contradictory social systems.

The whole Qunari believing you are what you were born as or born to be, women can't be warriors etc., that those who deviate will be "re-educated" and eventually, effectively, lobotomized... and then Iron Bull stating they're accepting of trans is just too jarring.

Then the women warriors all over the place, how does the economy function during war? How is the population maintained?

As a student of history I just can't see half the societies functioning... but then again I'm supposedly there to kill darkspawn, demons and dragons.
 

Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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Of course women can wield those types of weapons, they just wouldn't have nearly the endurance with them that they may have with a weapon that's even just a few pounds lighter. Women mostly didn't fight in the Middle Ages because of the huge chasm of strength disparity that our sexual dimorphism provides. It wasn't that they're emotionally different (holy hell, ever had a woman raging mad at you? Get out of the way sucka), it's that they have significant physical disadvantages in strength. Even in today's society where we don't have to battle every year or do physical work men are 50% stronger in upper body strength than women and 20-30% stronger in lower body strength than women (on average, of course). In order to just break even with men an average woman has to double her upper body strength. This comes at a cost to agility that the average man doesn't actually have to worry about thanks to their naturally larger frame. Now, a man doubling his strength does need to worry about it in the same way.

Another thing that women differ from men in is hand grip. The interesting thing there is that even female athletes cannot reach the level of hand strength as men (on the average). It's one of those things that isn't just a matter of "doubling your strength" and yet directly applies to smashing objects with a weapon you want to hold onto for long periods of time.

So you do get women who exceed the average man but there's a bit of a trade off in doing so. Also, the disparity in strength was likely larger back then than it is now due to cultural differences and labor differences.

Either way, most soldiers didn't where armor and a sword in the gut from a woman kills just as much as from a man. Is it unrealistic for a woman to be wielding a relatively heavy weapon into battle? Yeah, a little, but only because it puts them at a disadvantage compared to other weapons they could be using. Women are just at such a disadvantage physically that being disadvantaged by a heavier weapon is small compared to the overall disadvantage.

Now, could a woman in dragon age use longswords? Yes, it's a fucking game. Women can also turn into dragons and slay villages. Using longswords is where disbelief kicks in?
 

NoX 9

I Want A Hug!
Jul 2, 2014
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Wolyo said:
One of the thing about woman using swords, it's when they are well endowed it become difficult sometime impossible to use two-handed guard or technique with swords, even more so if you have a breast plate wide enough to accomodate your physique. That's the only point you could make against a woman using a hand and a half sword.
I am what most would describe as 'well endowed', and I suppose there are certain fighting styles and techniques that wouldn't be easy or possible with large breasts. I regularily practice with a bow though, and I have no trouble doing that. A few years ago I went to some fencing practices and I managed the basics just fine (never got beyond that). Women with a similar physique to me were there and seemed to cope as well.

A good sportsbra does help though...
 

Aggieknight

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Queen Michael said:
I get your point and I agree, actually. What I meant was that if it'd been impossible for women to handle a longsword (which it of course isn't), you need to give an explanation for how they can handle them. (Well, unless the universe as a whole is one where everybody goes around with gigantic swords.)
Aaaahhh! I get it.

Thanks for clarifying. Agree 100%.
 

Twinmill5000

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Nov 12, 2009
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It won't let me quote for some reason, but I still think this needs to be brought up.

Initial D:
Things I accept:
-16 year old that has been drifting since he was 12
-you can monologue about deep philosophy while racing down a mountain
-no cops anywhere

Things I don't accept:
-Ryosuke not having a girlfriend

Kill la Kill
Things I accept:
-Everything.

Borderlands:
Things I accept:
-billions of guns
-magical stations that save your mirror image and resurrect you when you die (but don't end poverty on the planet)
-'meat bicycles'

Things I don't accept:
-Roland [SPOILER REDACTED]

Dragon Age:
Things I accept:
-Women with 2h swords

Things I don't accept:
-Ironbull's... bull.

MAN THIS ARGUMENT IS REALLY EFFECTIVE AND I MADE SOME REALLY GOOD POINTS.
 

PirateRose

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Good article. One could say, that medieval swords tended to weigh about the same or less than a baby. Wow.

I will never forget that time on youtube, when I used to post KOTOR2 videos back in the day and before the exile was canonized as a woman, a random guy decided to private message me and inform me that the Exile can't be a woman because the Exile was a general. Women are too emotional, too weak, wouldn't be able to handle such a task.

So I sent back link to a wiki page of factual, historical women warriors and military leaders, and in case he refused to click that link I shared my favorites. Including the pirate Ching Shih, who commanded a fleet estimated to be of 1,800 ships and a crew of upwards of 80,000 (both men and women), and she beat the crap out of British, Chinese, and Portuguese so hard, they essentially paid her to retire.
 

hermes

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Topsider said:
hermes200 said:
dunam said:
I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.
I believe the tradition comes from classic mythology (meaning Greek and Roman). In those myths, the only representatives of "warrior women" were the amazons, who were almost always archers. They were famous for (allegedly) cutting their right breast to be able to wield a bow more competently...

It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
I'm hardly a Germanic mythology scholar, but other than the Valkyries, I can't think of any other Norse female warrior women.
For one, both the Celtic and Scandinavian gods of war were actually goddesses (Freiya for the Vikings, Andraste for the Celtics) and you can be sure they could pull their own weight in a fight. There are a number of folk characters that are woman too, for example: Brunhild, Muirisc, Aife and Blenda. Some of them are historical figures, some of them are exaggerated folks characters...
Besides, the Scandinavians had the tradition of shieldmaidens in real life, that were basically warrior women, many of them were featured in myths and folk stories.
 

grigjd3

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@PirateRose, babies, overall, weigh quite a bit more than 4-6 pounds. Some newborns come in that low but they gain weight pretty fast. My 1-year-old is considered median weight at 20 lbs.
 

Haerthan

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Lightknight said:
Of course women can wield those types of weapons, they just wouldn't have nearly the endurance with them that they may have with a weapon that's even just a few pounds lighter. Women mostly didn't fight in the Middle Ages because of the huge chasm of strength disparity that our sexual dimorphism provides. It wasn't that they're emotionally different (holy hell, ever had a woman raging mad at you? Get out of the way sucka), it's that they have significant physical disadvantages in strength. Even in today's society where we don't have to battle every year or do physical work men are 50% stronger in upper body strength than women and 20-30% stronger in lower body strength than women (on average, of course). In order to just break even with men an average woman has to double her upper body strength. This comes at a cost to agility that the average man doesn't actually have to worry about thanks to their naturally larger frame. Now, a man doubling his strength does need to worry about it in the same way.

Another thing that women differ from men in is hand grip. The interesting thing there is that even female athletes cannot reach the level of hand strength as men (on the average). It's one of those things that isn't just a matter of "doubling your strength" and yet directly applies to smashing objects with a weapon you want to hold onto for long periods of time.

So you do get women who exceed the average man but there's a bit of a trade off in doing so. Also, the disparity in strength was likely larger back then than it is now due to cultural differences and labor differences.

Either way, most soldiers didn't where armor and a sword in the gut from a woman kills just as much as from a man. Is it unrealistic for a woman to be wielding a relatively heavy weapon into battle? Yeah, a little, but only because it puts them at a disadvantage compared to other weapons they could be using. Women are just at such a disadvantage physically that being disadvantaged by a heavier weapon is small compared to the overall disadvantage.

Now, could a woman in dragon age use longswords? Yes, it's a fucking game. Women can also turn into dragons and slay villages. Using longswords is where disbelief kicks in?
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies. And second I am actually trained to use a sword, and believe me strength isnt such a huge factor. Longswords were made for thrusting and stabbing. Only katanas and broadswords were meant for slashing.

Three with proper training and diet, believe me, women can reach the same amount of strength that men can. So your assertion that there is a strength disparity is nothing more than the left-overs of the Victorian era, a sad chapter in our history.

Edit: swords also aren't that heavy. My sword weighs around 1.5 kgs. My sister's sword weighs 1 kg, and guess what she can slice and dice with that. Hell 8 pounds (those Zweihander) isnt even 4 kg. Actually read the article.
 

Robert Rath

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hermes200 said:
Topsider said:
hermes200 said:
dunam said:
I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.
I believe the tradition comes from classic mythology (meaning Greek and Roman). In those myths, the only representatives of "warrior women" were the amazons, who were almost always archers. They were famous for (allegedly) cutting their right breast to be able to wield a bow more competently...

It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
I'm hardly a Germanic mythology scholar, but other than the Valkyries, I can't think of any other Norse female warrior women.
For one, both the Celtic and Scandinavian gods of war were actually goddesses (Freiya for the Vikings, Andraste for the Celtics) and you can be sure they could pull their own weight in a fight. There are a number of folk characters that are woman too, for example: Brunhild, Muirisc, Aife and Blenda. Some of them are historical figures, some of them are exaggerated folks characters...
Besides, the Scandinavians had the tradition of shieldmaidens in real life, that were basically warrior women, many of them were featured in myths and folk stories.
Freyja and Andraste were hardly the only, or even the primary, gods of war in those particular pantheons. And while shieldmaidens certainly exist in folklore, there's zero hard evidence that they actually existed in reality. Upper body strength's a pretty significant deal when you're trying to pull off a shield wall.
 

Haerthan

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Topsider said:
hermes200 said:
Topsider said:
hermes200 said:
dunam said:
I think the reason that in popular culture women are more likely to use bows is down to the fact that we don't like to see women get hurt and they're not as expendable as men.
I believe the tradition comes from classic mythology (meaning Greek and Roman). In those myths, the only representatives of "warrior women" were the amazons, who were almost always archers. They were famous for (allegedly) cutting their right breast to be able to wield a bow more competently...

It it curious that we took the Greek tradition, though. Other mythologies (for example, the Scandinavian) are full of women that were more than competent in armed combat, and they often used the same weapons as men: battle axes, warhammers and maces.
I'm hardly a Germanic mythology scholar, but other than the Valkyries, I can't think of any other Norse female warrior women.
For one, both the Celtic and Scandinavian gods of war were actually goddesses (Freiya for the Vikings, Andraste for the Celtics) and you can be sure they could pull their own weight in a fight. There are a number of folk characters that are woman too, for example: Brunhild, Muirisc, Aife and Blenda. Some of them are historical figures, some of them are exaggerated folks characters...
Besides, the Scandinavians had the tradition of shieldmaidens in real life, that were basically warrior women, many of them were featured in myths and folk stories.
Freyja and Andraste were hardly the only, or even the primary, gods of war in those particular pantheons. And while shieldmaidens certainly exist in folklore, there's zero hard evidence that they actually existed in reality. Upper body strength's a pretty significant deal when you're trying to pull off a shield wall.
Shieldmaidens have actually existed dude. There is historical evidence, from Byzantine sources, from Danish sources. Archaeology has also discovered graves of women with arms and armour in them. And again that assertion that women were weaker than men. THat is a completely wrong one, especially when the diet was the same (hello middle Ages) and training as a warrior was available for everyone.
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies. And second I am actually trained to use a sword, and believe me strength isnt such a huge factor. Longswords were made for thrusting and stabbing. Only katanas and broadswords were meant for slashing.

Three with proper training and diet, believe me, women can reach the same amount of strength that men can. So your assertion that there is a strength disparity is nothing more than the left-overs of the Victorian era, a sad chapter in our history.
That's not quite accurate. There aren't exactly a shortage of sources discussing the difference in strength [http://www.tradoc.army.mil/historian/pubs/mixed%20gender.pdf] capacity [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17186303] between [http://jap.physiology.org/content/89/1/81] males [file:///D:/Downloads/1987_Bishop_Sex%20difference%20in%20muscular_Ergonomics.pdf] and [http://www.livestrong.com/article/509536-muscular-strength-in-women-compared-to-men/] females [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477683].
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
Shieldmaidens have actually existed dude. There is historical evidence, from Byzantine sources, from Danish sources. Archaeology has also discovered graves of women with arms and armour in them. And again that assertion that women were weaker than men. THat is a completely wrong one, especially when the diet was the same (hello middle Ages) and training as a warrior was available for everyone.
There isn't historical evidence [http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/04/19/viking-women-warriors-and-valkyries/], actually. You're welcome to cite some, but it doesn't exist.

As for the strength thing...I linked six separate studies above, all found with a cursory Google search. It's not exactly radical to acknowledge that sexual dimorphism exists, and that men and women have different distributions of muscular mass.

(The one that kinda shocked me, by the way? Your average untrained male adolescent has significantly more grip strength than a trained adult female athlete. I know the modern, Millennial view is to insist that there are no physical differences at all between males and females outside of genitalia, but that just ain't the case.)
 

Ishigami

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Haerthan said:
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies.
Miller AE, MacDougall JD, Tarnopolsky MA, Sale DG (1993). "Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics". European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 66 (3): 254?62. doi:10.1007/BF00235103. PMID 8477683.

Acc. Wikipedia, you are welcome.


I don't believe it. I mean I don't believe that the author of the article really came across that many of these arguments. To me it seems more likely the author misinterprets some arguments?
I read my faire share of comments about Dragon Age and tbh I?ve never seen the argument a women wouldn?t be able to wield a sword? however I have seen several that made the case that a women would be at a natural disadvantage against a man in close quarter combat due to our dimorphism.
I think that holds up.
 

GundamSentinel

The leading man, who else?
Aug 23, 2009
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Topsider said:
Haerthan said:
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies. And second I am actually trained to use a sword, and believe me strength isnt such a huge factor. Longswords were made for thrusting and stabbing. Only katanas and broadswords were meant for slashing.

Three with proper training and diet, believe me, women can reach the same amount of strength that men can. So your assertion that there is a strength disparity is nothing more than the left-overs of the Victorian era, a sad chapter in our history.
That's not quite accurate. There aren't exactly a shortage of sources discussing the difference in strength [http://www.tradoc.army.mil/historian/pubs/mixed%20gender.pdf] capacity [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17186303] between [http://jap.physiology.org/content/89/1/81] males [file:///D:/Downloads/1987_Bishop_Sex%20difference%20in%20muscular_Ergonomics.pdf] and [http://www.livestrong.com/article/509536-muscular-strength-in-women-compared-to-men/] females [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8477683].
Or just watch sports. You'll see that in basically every discipline that requires strength or endurance, male records are higher than female records. Hell, even the fact that there are so few mixed gender sports. It's pretty damn obvious.
 

Twinmill5000

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Nov 12, 2009
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You're leaving out alot of valid points if you're trying to argue the plausibility of a woman having higher than average upper body strength, as far as raw muscle mass goes. It's common knowledge that testosterone is a primary catalyst for muscle growth, and more traditional, 'masculine' muscle distribution. As is also common knowledge, you can get testosterone from eating red meat, beans, oysters, tuna, etc., and vitamin D is a large catalyst for its absorption into the body.

Thus, in a society next to the ocean (or bean farm), with plenty of work that needed to be done outside (in the sun), it's entirely plausible that the differences in testosterone between men and women are alot less extreme when compared to today's society (where you have the choice to, say, not eat oysters and stand out in the sun all day long).

Probable? No. Absolutely not. Plausible that something such as the Shieldmaidens could have existed? Extremely.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I am saying that it's possible that the conditions for their society, in that era, permitted women to consume much more testosterone than even a FTM transgender takes. It also coincides with the hypothesis that the human body actually relies on largely external sources for its testosterone intake, meaning in a very hunter-heavy society, both men and women would have similar physique.
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
Lightknight said:
Of course women can wield those types of weapons, they just wouldn't have nearly the endurance with them that they may have with a weapon that's even just a few pounds lighter. Women mostly didn't fight in the Middle Ages because of the huge chasm of strength disparity that our sexual dimorphism provides. It wasn't that they're emotionally different (holy hell, ever had a woman raging mad at you? Get out of the way sucka), it's that they have significant physical disadvantages in strength. Even in today's society where we don't have to battle every year or do physical work men are 50% stronger in upper body strength than women and 20-30% stronger in lower body strength than women (on average, of course). In order to just break even with men an average woman has to double her upper body strength. This comes at a cost to agility that the average man doesn't actually have to worry about thanks to their naturally larger frame. Now, a man doubling his strength does need to worry about it in the same way.

Another thing that women differ from men in is hand grip. The interesting thing there is that even female athletes cannot reach the level of hand strength as men (on the average). It's one of those things that isn't just a matter of "doubling your strength" and yet directly applies to smashing objects with a weapon you want to hold onto for long periods of time.

So you do get women who exceed the average man but there's a bit of a trade off in doing so. Also, the disparity in strength was likely larger back then than it is now due to cultural differences and labor differences.

Either way, most soldiers didn't where armor and a sword in the gut from a woman kills just as much as from a man. Is it unrealistic for a woman to be wielding a relatively heavy weapon into battle? Yeah, a little, but only because it puts them at a disadvantage compared to other weapons they could be using. Women are just at such a disadvantage physically that being disadvantaged by a heavier weapon is small compared to the overall disadvantage.

Now, could a woman in dragon age use longswords? Yes, it's a fucking game. Women can also turn into dragons and slay villages. Using longswords is where disbelief kicks in?
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies. And second I am actually trained to use a sword, and believe me strength isnt such a huge factor. Longswords were made for thrusting and stabbing. Only katanas and broadswords were meant for slashing.

Three with proper training and diet, believe me, women can reach the same amount of strength that men can. So your assertion that there is a strength disparity is nothing more than the left-overs of the Victorian era, a sad chapter in our history.

Edit: swords also aren't that heavy. My sword weighs around 1.5 kgs. My sister's sword weighs 1 kg, and guess what she can slice and dice with that. Hell 8 pounds (those Zweihander) isnt even 4 kg. Actually read the article.
Hell, just look at women who've tried to go through infantry training in the modern US military. Lot's of women who attempted it have failed and one female officer has even suggested against it. The officer in question, Katie Petronio, had developed had developed a fair amount of physical debilitations from her deployment despite surpassing most physical requirements and noticed she deteriorated at a much faster rate compared to her male counterparts. Strength doesn't just determine raw physical power, it also entails things like physical endurance and resistance which women appear to be significantly inferior to men on average. There's a huge difference between being able to use a sword and being able to withstand the rigors that come with being a career soldier. As people have said, soldiers just don't have to worry about individual combat.
 

Tradjus

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I have literally never heard this argument made, is this a common one on the net? It's ridiculous, sure, but that's the problem. This argument is so ridiculously stupid that it should simply be ignored, not have articles written about it.
 

TheBanMan_v1legacy

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?
I remember playing 'Pool of Radiance' where a females maximum strength score was 18(50) whereas a males was 18(100)... This was back when the rules were that if you had an 18 strength, you then had a percentile added to for another level of modifier... This was back in the AD&D days, I believe.
 

ProtoChimp

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What fucking what? People are saying...
[HEADING=1]WHAT FUCKING WHAT?![/HEADING]

HOW? How are people this fucking stupid and ignorant. Have they not seen physically strong women before? Body builders, athletes, fucking PE teacher Jesus Christ. This is some old world thinking shit right here.
 

Robert Rath

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Twinmill5000 said:
EDIT: Just to clarify, I am saying that it's possible that the conditions for their society, in that era, permitted women to consume much more testosterone than even a FTM transgender takes. It also coincides with the hypothesis that the human body actually relies on largely external sources for its testosterone intake, meaning in a very hunter-heavy society, both men and women would have similar physique.
If we go by the "anything's possible," metric, then, yeah, anything's possible. It'd be mighty strange to have never before heard about it, to have no surviving evidence for it, etc.

There's a weird skein of revisionist history running through discussions like this that seems to have cropped up within the past few years. A lot of people seem to be thoroughly in love with the notion that, contrary to all contemporary accounts, all surviving archaeological evidence, women were just as or nearly as common on the battlefield as men, when in fact we know that female warriors were extremely rare.

I don't have a problem with women wielding longswords in fantasy games. I don't have a problem with women doing much of anything in fantasy games; the word "fantasy" is right there on the tin. I don't have a problem with admitting that, on the modern battlefield, in most roles, women are perfectly capable combatants.

But trying to square the circle of warfighting having been an overwhelmingly male pursuit throughout the overwhelming majority of human history with modern sensibilities about "gender equity" doesn't serve anyone. I mean, I guess it helps some people to believe that the "sexism" of the realities of sexual dimorphism is a modern conceit, but that sort of begs the question: how do you keep an equally powerful, equally martially capable parcel of humanity oppressed for thousands of years in every known corner of the globe?
 

Venatio

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The great fault in all of this lies in the author for acknowledging the idiots who make this assertion to begin with. People who have any actual knowledge of medieval martial arts know that a sword no woman could comfortably wield is probably a weapon that few, if any, actual male warriors would choose to go into battle with. A heavy sword in a pitched battle is going to be about as useful as a gun with a very small magazine. And we are talking about women who have practiced with swords, which makes a big difference. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, if you have not trained properly you will be unfit for any fight with any weapon.

Is it stupid in medieval movies like "Ironclad" when a woman with no indication of prior training just picks up a sword and hacks through enemy soldiers? Yes, about as annoying as in "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies" when young boys and untrained fishermen are going toe-to-toe with fully armored orcs and somehow not being instantly slaughtered. But a female elf in Inquisition who is a warrior by profession using a sword effectively is not something I would consider egregious.
 

Plasticaprinae

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Abomination said:
ambitiousmould said:
All that being said (and true), keeping it within the context of Dragon Age (or fantasy games in general) it is a fictional society, wherein it is clear that women are often soldiers and fighters, and therefore them being able to handle swords is entirely fine and realistic.
I have found Dragon Age to, unfortunately, decide on irrational or contradictory social systems.

The whole Qunari believing you are what you were born as or born to be, women can't be warriors etc., that those who deviate will be "re-educated" and eventually, effectively, lobotomized... and then Iron Bull stating they're accepting of trans is just too jarring.

Then the women warriors all over the place, how does the economy function during war? How is the population maintained?

As a student of history I just can't see half the societies functioning... but then again I'm supposedly there to kill darkspawn, demons and dragons.
Iron bull did mention female qunari warriors, theyre just called something different. They were made assassins I believe. This might be a female inquis only dialougue. Qunari are tested to see what fits them the best. As long as they do their job, who cares if someone believes they are man, woman, or something else? Their duty to Qun is considered first and foremost. Also, if a woman does become a warrior, under special circumstances, she is then considered a male. Ironbull said that he considered Cassandra a male when she puts her armor on, but female when she takes it off.

Also, the population is maintained because everyone has sex with their colleagues on the battlefield ;)

Jokes aside, men and women equally go to war, you can also assume there are equal amounts that stay behind to rear children. Not every man in dragon age is a warrior!
 

Callate

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Women should stick to more traditionally feminine weapons.

You know, like the naginata- a five to eight foot long bladed polearm.

Just sayin'. ;)
 

Twinmill5000

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Topsider said:
There's a weird skein of revisionist history running through discussions like this that seems to have cropped up within the past few years. A lot of people seem to be thoroughly in love with the notion that, contrary to all contemporary accounts, all surviving archaeological evidence, women were just as or nearly as common on the battlefield as men, when in fact we know that female warriors were extremely rare.

I don't have a problem with women wielding longswords in fantasy games. I don't have a problem with women doing much of anything in fantasy games; the word "fantasy" is right there on the tin. I don't have a problem with admitting that, on the modern battlefield, in most roles, women are perfectly capable combatants.

But trying to square the circle of warfighting having been an overwhelmingly male pursuit throughout the overwhelming majority of human history with modern sensibilities about "gender equity" doesn't serve anyone. I mean, I guess it helps some people to believe that the "sexism" of the realities of sexual dimorphism is a modern conceit, but that sort of begs the question: how do you keep an equally powerful, equally martially capable parcel of humanity oppressed for thousands of years in every known corner of the globe?
I don't believe you've understood my post completely.

While you can tell alot about someone's lifestyle and nutritional choices through their bone structure, bones to very little to indicate muscle mass, and only accurately depict an individual's diet if they're recent. That wasn't the point of my original post; I know women weren't ever as numerous in battlefields (on a global scale scrapping isolated instances) than men. The point of my post was to point out that a woman can have a more 'manly' physique than most men, and that it's actually very likely to see that happen in coastal societies.

I brought up this point because you seem to be stuck in the notion that men and women today accurately reflect (in lifestyle and nutrition, therefore physique) the men and women of five or more centuries ago. That's simply not the case, thus, your points, while still points, aren't absolute, and your evidence is only slightly fitting. I had to point that out.

If I must point out the blatantly obvious, no, without excessive amounts of nutrition related to it, women, on average, have lower upper body strength than men. There. I said it. Yay. I never said otherwise. To deny that would be remarkably stupid. I thought I made that clear in my original post, but I guess not. I also have stated two times before, that this gap between genders and strength is narrowed when the aforementioned nutrition and lifestyle choices are added into the equation.

Another point to consider: hunter-heavy societies, especially well nourished ones, are also extremely rare, but that's going back to my original post.
 

Robert Rath

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Abomination said:
I have found Dragon Age to, unfortunately, decide on irrational or contradictory social systems.

The whole Qunari believing you are what you were born as or born to be, women can't be warriors etc., that those who deviate will be "re-educated" and eventually, effectively, lobotomized... and then Iron Bull stating they're accepting of trans is just too jarring.
Well, where's the conflict between "women aren't warriors" and "trans people are okay"? As far as I'm aware, nothing ever said that Qunari evaluate their people based on genitals, so there's no reason why the people assigning the children to their lives would have a problem noting that the one who acted like a man and was skilled in a "man's" profession should be regarded as a man despite their vagina. The only difference would likely be that they wouldn't be chosen for procreation. Qunari believe you are what you were born as, not that you can't be born with a set of genitals that don't match what you really are.

Then the women warriors all over the place, how does the economy function during war? How is the population maintained?

As a student of history I just can't see half the societies functioning... but then again I'm supposedly there to kill darkspawn, demons and dragons.
Why would you assume the economy would have issues functioning because women are soldiers? There would still be the exact same number of civilians left after recruiting for the armies, there would just be more men and less women left behind. As for the population, I'm not really sure how women going off to fight would somehow doom the nations of Thedas to underpopulation; there are still female civilians and it's not like every soldier dies. Not to mention you'd have to mitigate the deaths women suffered fighting in wars by noting that healing magic likely caused a significant decrease in the number of women dying from childbirth and other injuries in general.

And, since women still need men to reproduce, and since polygamy and adultery wasn't really a big thing in Europe, the only thing that's changed is that the man who is not producing any new children on his own can be left behind instead of the woman who's not producing any new children on her own.
 

Lightknight

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Haerthan said:
Ok I am going to ask you to back up your assertion that our sexual dimorphism has a huge strength difference. Through scientific studies.
Here's the fastest example to show: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_human_physiology#Skeleton_and_muscular_system

"Females in general have lower total muscle mass than males, and also having lower muscle mass in comparison to total body mass;[26] males convert more of their caloric intake into muscle and expendable circulating energy reserves, while females tend to convert more into fat deposits.[27] As a consequence, males are generally physically stronger than females. While individual muscle fibers have similar strength between male and female, males have more fibers as a result of their greater total muscle mass.[28] Males remain stronger than females, when adjusting for differences in total body mass, due to the higher male muscle-mass to body-mass ratio.[29] The greater muscle mass is reported to be due to a greater capacity for muscular hypertrophy as a result of higher levels of circulating testosterone in males.[30]

Gross measures of body strength suggest a 40-50% difference in upper body strength between the sexes, and a 20-30% difference in lower body strength.[31] One study of muscle strength in the elbows and knees?in 45 and older males and females?found the strength of females to range from 42 to 63% of male strength.[32] Another study found men to have significantly higher hand-grip strength than women, even when comparing untrained men with female athletes.[33] Differences in width of arm, thighs and calves also increase during puberty."


So again, twice the strength is double. Not only that but men have larger organs such as the heart and lungs which factors into endurance. Men have a narrower pelvic angle which not only makes the mechanical motion of running easier but also distributes weight more efficiently. Denser bones not only make resiliency and resistance to breakage better, but also helps with the growth of muscle fibers that further add to strength. Add that to larger frames on average and additional aggression and males are far more suited for battle than women.

Have you really not wondered why women aren't hired in male sports if the difference wasn't significant enough to matter? Remember, women are allowed to try out for the male leagues but men are not allowed to try out for the women's leagues. Did you think it was just blatant sexism?

And second I am actually trained to use a sword, and believe me strength isnt such a huge factor. Longswords were made for thrusting and stabbing. Only katanas and broadswords were meant for slashing.
Fun fact, I worked my way through college as a professional blacksmith and sold a lot of blades. So sit back and enjoy if you like this sort of thing:

For you to make this assertion would mean that you have a specific time period and region in mind when you think about the term "long sword" when it's actually an incredibly nebulous term. About the only two things that are certain are the cross hilt and the fact that the sword is large. But not necessarily the blade, it can just be the hilt that is extra long but either way needs to be double handed to qualify as long sword.

If we're talking about medieval age usage then you should also be aware that the weapon was intended for people actually wearing a full suit of armor. It wasn't until after the middle ages that people started using it without armor. So you're talking about a woman wearing both full plate armor as well as wielding this beast of blades.

What I assume people are actually talking about here would be something like a claymore or Zweihänder and so I base my responses on those. Since people are talking middle ages then I'm going on claymore since the Zweihänder is what retired it after the middle ages. Now, you made the claim that only "broadswords" are made for slashing. The term broadsword is frequently used when discussing claymores and the two terms can be used interchangeably?

Broadsword if used properly though is referring to the basket hilted blade developed in the 16th century and is more akin to a broad bladed rapier than what most people think. They think broad and swords like the claymore spring to mind hence how the terms have become acceptable to use interchangeably nowadays even though that's not strictly correct. Now, in both instances you are correct that broadswords could be and were used for cutting.

Now, longswords were originally cutting weapons primarily. The use of plate armor caused them to migrate towards the thrusting blades you mentioned but the cutting and hacking ability wasn't ever really removed. In fact, most schools of fencing (with the longswords we're talking about made prior to rapiers) include both hacking and stabbing. As time progressed and got further and further from the middle ages the point became more and more the focus. But please understand that even many types of rapiers (another nebulous term depending on region and time period) had a cutting edge along part of the blade. Both to discourage grasping and to cut depending on the school of fighting they're using.

Anyways, I digress and wish to come to the point. Here's a depiction from the 1467 fencing manual of a longsword match by Hans Talhoffer, a renowned fencing master of the era who wrote about it while it was actually happening. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Talhoffer] Please note that his work is basically gospel where fighting styles of his era are concerned.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/De_Fechtbuch_Talhoffer_025.jpg/1024px-De_Fechtbuch_Talhoffer_025.jpg

So, tell me, do you get the feeling that they're trying to stab each other with these long swords or are they maybe trying to hack and slash? To anyone with eyes, hack and slash is obvious. That is towards the end of the claymore's reign and yet they're still hacking.

See, the style changes according to what your opponent is wearing. If they're in armor, stab and hack when it makes sense to do so (armored styles still have slashing opportunities). If they're unarmored, hack and slash and stab when it makes sense.

A lot of armored fencing techniques actually boil down to wrestling and using a free hand. That really doesn't suit females in battle. Sorry, but it doesn't. The pommels were also commonly used as blunt instruments and could be turned around and used as clubs if you had gloves on.

<spoiler=click to view a depiction from the era of a knight using the pommel like a hammer>http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/Ms.XIX.17-3_16v.png/640px-Ms.XIX.17-3_16v.png

Three with proper training and diet, believe me, women can reach the same amount of strength that men can.
No, a woman can reach the strength level of an average man. They cannot reach the same level of strength that a man is capable of reaching. A man pulling off the same feat of doubling his strength (like a woman has to just to reach average) would put him at four times the strength of the average woman.

This is why male on female violence is taken so very seriously. It isn't just stereotyping sexism. The average man hitting the average woman is someone twice as strong as the other taking a swing.

Also, as stated, hand grip is extremely relevant here and is something that female athletes can't even reach the average male's hand strength. It's just one of those things.

I'm sorry if you're a female and someone told you that you could grow up to be just as strong as Arnold some day. That was a lie you were told.

So your assertion that there is a strength disparity is nothing more than the left-overs of the Victorian era, a sad chapter in our history.
It isn't assertion. It is a medically researched and verified fact. Sorry. Testosterone is a hell of a steroid and any dismissal of scientific fact in order to believe what we want is a left-over of dark ages thinking, a far more sad chapter in our history.

Edit: swords also aren't that heavy. My sword weighs around 1.5 kgs. My sister's sword weighs 1 kg, and guess what she can slice and dice with that. Hell 8 pounds (those Zweihander) isnt even 4 kg. Actually read the article.
I don't think you understand the difference that just a few pounds make in a fight. Have you done any sort of grappling sport or anything like that? Hell, let's look at boxing. Just boxing will exhaust you even if you're not getting punched. A variance in weight is significant. That's why boxing gloves come in sizes that differ only in ounces and the ounces have to be agreed upon before the match. Heavier gloves tire you out quickly.

I know you and your sister have swords that don't feel that heavy. But in an actual fight against multiple opponents you'd likely rather have something on the lighter end if you're a female then something on the heavier end to last the whole time as detaching from the battle to rest may not be viable. Either way, you'd be at a tremendous disadvantage in the entire battle.

Thankfully, just as there are female boxers that could absolutely knock the average male on his ass, so too am I sure there could have been skilled fencers that could have dispatched opponents a lot more readily than the average man. Why not? Skill is thankfully not bounded by strength even if strength can compensate for lack of skill. It's just that if people are talking about claymores then we're talking about a much heavier weapon that was likely used while wearing plate mail and would have been particularly ill suited for females. If we're merely talking longswords as in rapiers then why not?

I think you and I can easily agree that a woman could at least wield such a weapon even if it would tire her out significantly faster than a lighter weapon whereas a male may not notice the difference as much. It's like this, a lightweight boxer could use an 18 ounce glove. They're fully capable of using it in a fight. But it is too heavy for their weight class and they would be far better suited to use the 8-10 ounce gloves of their class.

A woman could use a heavier sword, but it's a significant disadvantage. So, unrealistic? Technically true. It would be an extremely poor choice for a woman to pick a heavier weapon when given the choice of other options. It's still better than a pitchfork or dagger. The issue in choice of weapon isn't how much it takes to swing a weapon. It's how much endurance it takes to swing it over and over again.

But I can't stress this point enough. This is a game where women turn into dragons. Let them have long swords and whatever else they want. Not sure why it matters to people.
 

Haerthan

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Lightknight said:
Really long snip
Thanks for the sources, really interesting. But your math is a bit wrong since 50% is not double. 100% is double, so your math is a bit wrong. Second I am thinking of the long sword that is depicted as a knight's blade, around 30-34 inches, used with a shield. So from say 1000 AD to 1500 AD. No idea why I mentioned the Zweihander, shouldn't have done that. So at most between 1 to 2 kg. Those were made as thrusting and stabbing as well. Only the Zweihander were used for slashing. Lastly I do understand the difference it does, but with proper application of thinking (former Tai Chi and Sword form practitioner-though I still keep in touch) weight has less issue. I saw grown men being thrown around by a waif of a woman. I did it myself. But thanks for the sources, it was insightful.

Nods Respectfully Towards You said:
snip once more
I don't know enough about the US military to have an opinion, but I would like a source on that. Personally I would do what the Communists in Romania did in 1960s, put a pre-military program for the high school students where attendance was mandatory for both men and women. Than the integration into the army units after the age of recruitment has been reached. Granted I would only do this if Romania still had a conscripted army. The conscription was dropped in 2004, when they joined NATO. To my knowledge, http://www.mpopa.ro/psihologie_militara/mil_09_femeile.pdf this shows an interesting thing. I know it is in Romanian, but at one point it says that while there are physical differences, research shows that women suffer from less PTSD incidences, that performance is not down, women put the same amount of work in as men. The conclusion for it says that women are able to deal with the large majority of the rigours of physical army life, that their integration into army units is mainly an issue of mentality and that lawmakers should not interfere in the integration.

Topsider said:
So we are just going to ignore all of the Byzantine records? The Danish ones as well?
John Skylitzes, a Byzantine historian attests to them when the Varangians (Greek name given to Vikings) were defeated in Bulgaria in 971 AD, female warriors were among the fallen. The Greenland saga, based on historical truth, has a pregnant woman fighting off Native Americans. Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian, has more shieldmaidens fighting in 750 AD on the Danish side. These are historical accounts. Not someone taking a look at a statue, coming to the correct conclusion that it was a Valkirye most likely, and than state that there were no female warriors in a warrior culture at all.
Furthermore archaeology in both the British Isles and Scandinavia has shown an equal distribution of male and female grave sites, leading to a belief of an equal distribution when it came to immigration into the British Isles. Furthermore some women have had weaponry with them in their graves. I am not even going to go into legendary shieldmaidens. I will only say that in that regards, legends have a kernel of truth to them.

Also you made the assertion of sexual dimorphism, which you sourced, so it was up to you to source, not me.

Edit: of course she is British. If there is one thing the Brits excell at is ignoring other sources with regards to other people.
 

Ariseishirou

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Lightknight said:
I'm sorry if you're a female and someone told you that you could grow up to be just as strong as Arnold some day. That was a lie you were told.
I agree with your point overall, and not to be pedantic, but... that's actually not true. Arnold's personal record for bench press is 440lbs. The current women's powerlifting record for bench press is also 440lbs. The women's world record for squats is 100lbs more than he could ever manage. While you couldn't be as strong as the strongest man, if you're a woman, you technically _can_ be as strong as Arnold - in his prime, no less!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schwarzenegger#Powerlifting.2Fweightlifting

http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/records/raw/women-world
 

happyninja42

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Ariseishirou said:
and not to be pedantic, but...
Oh come on, you meant to be pedantic and you know it. xD Otherwise you wouldn't put the "but..." on there. Just own your pedanticness if you're going to be pedantic. xD
 

Haerthan

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Happyninja42 said:
Ariseishirou said:
and not to be pedantic, but...
Oh come on, you meant to be pedantic and you know it. xD Otherwise you wouldn't put the "but..." on there. Just own your pedanticness if you're going to be pedantic. xD
It is still true what he said in the end. So in the end it is all about willpower and training. Cause no average male or female can bench press that shit.
 

Ariseishirou

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Happyninja42 said:
Ariseishirou said:
and not to be pedantic, but...
Oh come on, you meant to be pedantic and you know it. xD Otherwise you wouldn't put the "but..." on there. Just own your pedanticness if you're going to be pedantic. xD
Well hey, he seems like a historical weapons aficionado and I'm a gym rat. The least I could do is offer him the same helpful technicalites he's offering everyone else ;p

He's 100% correct about the averages, but some of the outliers out there are Brienne-tier beast mode Amazons that you would not want to mess with, man. Only the very strongest men in the world are stronger than they are, and if you're not one of them, you're not going to hack it.
 

happyninja42

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Ariseishirou said:
Happyninja42 said:
Ariseishirou said:
and not to be pedantic, but...
Oh come on, you meant to be pedantic and you know it. xD Otherwise you wouldn't put the "but..." on there. Just own your pedanticness if you're going to be pedantic. xD
Well hey, he seems like a historical weapons aficionado and I'm a gym rat. The least I could do is offer him the same helpful technicalites he's offering everyone else ;p

He's 100% correct about the averages, but some of the outliers out there are Brienne-tier beast mode Amazons that you would not want to mess with, man. Only the very strongest men in the world are stronger than they are, and if you're not one of them, you're not going to hack it.
Oh that's fine, I wasn't questioning his or your input on the subject, just being silly about you being pedantic, but then trying to say you're not trying to be pedantic. xD That particular quirk of communication always amuses me. "I don't mean to specifically correct a minor generalization you made with more precise data....but I'm going to anyway." xD

On the subject of women's strength, I had a similar discussion long ago with a friend, when that movie King Arthur came out. The one with Kiera Knightly in it. My friend was talking about how it was unrealistic to have Kiera using a bow, and he was like "The English Longbowman were insanely powerful, and trained all the time! Kiera has arms like spaghetti noodles! There's no way she could shoot like them!" To which I responded. "Well, 1. The English Longbowman were the crazy super specialists, whereas thousands of people used bows regularly. 2. The cultural group that she's a part of were not the English Longbowman. (I forget who they were, the Woads I think they were called? Blue tattood tribal nomads in England basically) 3. Bows are by design, built to help someone utilize muscle force to a greater effectiveness. So even someone with little muscle force, could shoot an arrow effectively. Could they shoot for as long as someone stronger than them, and use a stronger pull bow for as long? Probably not, but they could still use the weapon."
 

UsefulPlayer 1

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I think the more important conversation is the longbow.

Why is it typically only a dextrous weapons in so many RPGs?

I feel like bows require the strength of superman to operate.
 

Lightknight

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Haerthan said:
Lightknight said:
Really long snip
Thanks for the sources, really interesting. But your math is a bit wrong since 50% is not double. 100% is double, so your math is a bit wrong.
Yes, sorry. You are correct. 50% is not twice as strong, it is 1.5 times as strong. Hopefully you can agree that this isn't a trivial amount though and that I wasn't just pulling numbers out of my victorian-age ass.

Thank you for the correction.

Second I am thinking of the long sword that is depicted as a knight's blade, around 30-34 inches, used with a shield. So from say 1000 AD to 1500 AD. No idea why I mentioned the Zweihander, shouldn't have done that. So at most between 1 to 2 kg. Those were made as thrusting and stabbing as well. Only the Zweihander were used for slashing.
Long Swords of that period averaged between 35 inches and 43 inches. So it's the size above the one you're thinking about.

Regarding the claim that they weren't used for slashing, as I showed in the picture, long swords were absolutely used for hacking and slashing. How you use them just depended on whether or not the person you were fighting was wearing armor. No armor? Cleave away. Fully armored? Pointy end applies the most pressure in the least area giving the greatest chance of puncturing. Look at the styles the sword master was portraying. Down and behind for the guy on the left, above the head for the guy on the right. These are clearly cleaving stances. If the individual was wearing armor and was fighting against someone wearing armor then you'd see stabbing and clubbing like I showed in the second image that I had to spoiler due to the size. Those images are from one of the most famous swordsmen of all time. Had I found images of his work contradicting what I am saying I would have quickly recanted because he's a sword master living in the time period this was actually happening. Even rapiers were occasionally used for slashing though much rarer due to the fragility of the tip.

Lastly I do understand the difference it does, but with proper application of thinking (former Tai Chi and Sword form practitioner-though I still keep in touch) weight has less issue. I saw grown men being thrown around by a waif of a woman. I did it myself. But thanks for the sources, it was insightful.
Right, skill will win against incompetence even over strength. For example, my first week in wrestling I was bested by a guy half my size.

However, with minimal training weight quickly becomes a huge factor. It's why you have to EXTRA good at what you do in things like boxing to fight in a higher weight class, why it's so rare, you know? It's not that the most skilled person can't be a light weight. It's just that weight matters in anything where force is applied.

So, this guy half my weight that beat me the first week? Within half a year I beat him and two smaller guys at the same time as a demonstration that our coach (a national championship wrestler in whatever the weight class close to 110 was) wanted to show us. A point he wanted to make. I wasn't the most skilled wrestler but I was at that point skilled enough to make my skill and weight absolutely conquer them.

Anyone with skill can beat a n00b. But just a little bit of skill in the hands of someone with strength can go a lot further than the same amount of skill in the hands of someone with less strength.

Ariseishirou said:
Lightknight said:
I'm sorry if you're a female and someone told you that you could grow up to be just as strong as Arnold some day. That was a lie you were told.
I agree with your point overall, and not to be pedantic, but... that's actually not true. Arnold's personal record for bench press is 440lbs. The current women's powerlifting record for bench press is also 440lbs. The women's world record for squats is 100lbs more than he could ever manage. While you couldn't be as strong as the strongest man, if you're a woman, you technically _can_ be as strong as Arnold - in his prime, no less!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schwarzenegger#Powerlifting.2Fweightlifting

http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/records/raw/women-world
Ah hah! That's great! Hahaha. She even did that while only within 10-15 lbs of Arnold. She should be very proud of that weight.

However, I would recommend comparing April Mathis with Arnold Schwarzenegger (at the time he was lifting that amount) and come to your own conclusions:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-oxojpxADRdo/VDM5T5HDgtI/AAAAAAAAJvU/Ue4IDemUPGw/s640/April-Mathis-at-Port-St-Lucie.jpg

http://liberallifestyles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/arn-49-Young-Arnold-Schwarzenegger-12.jpg

Do you see how much harder women have to treat their bodies to get to that level than men do? Do I think April (in her early twenties) hit the steroids? Sure, and hard. Really hard. She's still that strong though, regardless. I'd actually like to learn more about her but can't find so much as a wiki. Strange.

It's important to understand that the next closest record to hers I think are like 403. This is not at all a normal thing for a woman to do. This is like a one person thing so far.

The men's current record is well over 1,000 lbs. So perhaps Arnold would have been that strong had he grown up today. But from what he's said, he used steroids to maintain his muscles, not to get them. And he freely admits to using them so I'm not sure he'd lie about the why.
 

Haerthan

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Lightknight said:
Haerthan said:
Lightknight said:
Really long snip
Thanks for the sources, really interesting. But your math is a bit wrong since 50% is not double. 100% is double, so your math is a bit wrong.
Yes, sorry. You are correct. 50% is not twice as strong, it is 1.5 times as strong. Hopefully you can agree that this isn't a trivial amount though and that I wasn't just pulling numbers out of my victorian-age ass.

Thank you for the correction.

Second I am thinking of the long sword that is depicted as a knight's blade, around 30-34 inches, used with a shield. So from say 1000 AD to 1500 AD. No idea why I mentioned the Zweihander, shouldn't have done that. So at most between 1 to 2 kg. Those were made as thrusting and stabbing as well. Only the Zweihander were used for slashing.
Long Swords of that period averaged between 35 inches and 43 inches. So it's the size above the one you're thinking about.

Regarding the claim that they weren't used for slashing, as I showed in the picture, long swords were absolutely used for hacking and slashing. How you use them just depended on whether or not the person you were fighting was wearing armor. No armor? Cleave away. Fully armored? Pointy end applies the most pressure in the least area giving the greatest chance of puncturing. Look at the styles the sword master was portraying. Down and behind for the guy on the left, above the head for the guy on the right. These are clearly cleaving stances. If the individual was wearing armor and was fighting against someone wearing armor then you'd see stabbing and clubbing like I showed in the second image that I had to spoiler due to the size. Those images are from one of the most famous swordsmen of all time. Had I found images of his work contradicting what I am saying I would have quickly recanted because he's a sword master living in the time period this was actually happening. Even rapiers were occasionally used for slashing though much rarer due to the fragility of the tip.

Lastly I do understand the difference it does, but with proper application of thinking (former Tai Chi and Sword form practitioner-though I still keep in touch) weight has less issue. I saw grown men being thrown around by a waif of a woman. I did it myself. But thanks for the sources, it was insightful.
Right, skill will win against incompetence even over strength. For example, my first week in wrestling I was bested by a guy half my size.

However, with minimal training weight quickly becomes a huge factor. It's why you have to EXTRA good at what you do in things like boxing to fight in a higher weight class, why it's so rare, you know? It's not that the most skilled person can't be a light weight. It's just that weight matters in anything where force is applied.

So, this guy half my weight that beat me the first week? Within half a year I beat him and two smaller guys at the same time as a demonstration that our coach (a national championship wrestler in whatever the weight class close to 110 was) wanted to show us. A point he wanted to make. I wasn't the most skilled wrestler but I was at that point skilled enough to make my skill and weight absolutely conquer them.

Anyone with skill can beat a n00b. But just a little bit of skill in the hands of someone with strength can go a lot further than the same amount of skill in the hands of someone with less strength.
Yes, those 2-handers that you showed in the picture were for hacking and slashing, but I wasnt talking about those. I am talking of one-handed swords. The type I was trained with, well I was trained to use 1 1/2, but the form was definitely onehanded. Strength had nothing to do with 1handed forms. Yea 2h sure, those things are more based on strength, but I am not talking about those.
Lastly, yes armour was important, but weapons such as the estoc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc) or halberds were designed to puncture mail. They had no point. So yes "the longsword",(langes schwert) was used that way. But those were mainly horseback. Furthermore the development of plate armour also ensured that those types of swords would be adapted to have a better thrusting point and smaller cutting capability.

Also yes the fact that if armour was present or not was an important factor. For a longsword, if armour was present, you would use the tip, meaning it was less a question of strength, but dexterity and an application of the principles behind levers. If armour wasn't present, the yea hack away.

Now if we focus on Japan, the onna-bugeisha used naginatas, in contrast with their male counterparts, who used the katana. But this was prior to the Edo period, when Neo-Confucianism heavily restricted women. They were trained in the use of naginata. So while there is some sexual dimorphism, clever application of training, willpower and normal physics can override said dimorphism. Only when we allow it to be entrenched in a culture it becomes an issue. Hence why we still need feminism. It is just a matter of using our brains.
 

Carrington666

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UsefulPlayer 1 said:
I think the more important conversation is the longbow.

Why is it typically only a dextrous weapons in so many RPGs?

I feel like bows require the strength of superman to operate.
I can't say anything about the strength requirements for using a bow, but actual historical bow techniques seems to be way weirder than what we see in movies and games.


I've watched this video twice now and still think he is using magic ;-)
 

Robyrt

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Carrington666 said:
UsefulPlayer 1 said:
I think the more important conversation is the longbow.

Why is it typically only a dextrous weapons in so many RPGs?

I feel like bows require the strength of superman to operate.
I can't say anything about the strength requirements for using a bow, but actual historical bow techniques seems to be way weirder than what we see in movies and games.

I've watched this video twice now and still think he is using magic ;-)
Most medieval fantasy games are based on England, which is famous for its enormous longbows requiring lots of strength. These evolved into modern archery competitions, where you stand still and aim from long distances like a rifle. This video is using a horse bow or shortbow, which is smaller and requires high dexterity. These were used as medium-range fire support and harassment troops, often from horseback, like a pistol. They're way more common in the Near East: you can see the historical art in the video is full of Egyptians, Persians, Byzantines and Mongols.
 

ArcaneGamer

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Robert Rath said:
Yes, Women in Dragon Age Could Use Longswords

Recently a topic keeps rearing its obnoxious head: the idea that it?s ?unrealistic? for women in games to wield longswords. Women, the argument goes, don?t have the strength to wield heavy blades. These claims are total nonsense.

Read Full Article
I quite agree. This is came up recently? Why is this such abig deal? There were women in DA: Origins that wielded a longsword, weren't there? I distinctly remember Aveline from DA2 (Of whom was one of my favorite characters BTW) wielding a sword and shield, she was the (non-two handed sword) Warrior of the group. I also remember Merril pointing out Aveline's attempt at courting Donnic is a dowry tradition. It's funny because she's accidentally emasculating him by treating him as women were treated in Medieval times - as property and a burden. But I'm getting off topic. Why is this such an issue? Isn't Andraste and/or Leliana based on Joan of Arc? So, swords weren't that heavy, huh? Interesting. Is it weird that I liked Samurais a little more than I liked Knights growing up? I like the Knights a little more now, but not for their fighting styles, but for their code of honor. (Although, nowadays I like Ninjas more, but that's a different discussion.) Samurai had something similar called Bushido. I kind of saw similarities there. Now that I think about it, I wonder who would win? Knight or Samurai? But again, I'm getting off track.

(On Page 2) Well done, sir. I think I remember Cassanadra talking about her training, but that's about it. At least as far as I remember. Also, probably the whole sexism thing probably didn't help either.

(Page 3) Again, Joan of Arc. I'm...actually rather happy learning there were more women fighting wars. While when playing RPGs, I either go for the Mage or Rogue, (Mages, because having someone that isn't conventionally strong, suddenly use their intellect and power of the arcane to help people and/or defeat foes, & Rogues for their faster attacks, [and admittedly, cooler looking weapons] and [much like mages] using their cunning to either trick, rob, blow up with explosives, or just outsmart their enemies. A warrior is usaully willing to be fair in a fight, or might sterotypically try to beat someone with strength alone. But a Rogue would go about it differently, with speed and precision with either their daggers or bow and arrows, various tricks, or just cheat to win.) but a trope I enjoy as well is the Lady of War,or a female character that's a warrior. A lady took 5 arrows to the face and STILL kept fighting? That is cool!
 

LetalisK

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Lightknight said:
About the only two things that are certain are the cross hilt and the fact that the sword is large. But not necessarily the blade, it can just be the hilt that is extra long but either way needs to be double handed to qualify as long sword.
Does it piss you off that RPGs basically make "longsword" synonymous with a one handed sword?
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
So we are just going to ignore all of the Byzantine records? The Danish ones as well?
John Skylitzes, a Byzantine historian attests to them when the Varangians (Greek name given to Vikings) were defeated in Bulgaria in 971 AD, female warriors were among the fallen. The Greenland saga, based on historical truth, has a pregnant woman fighting off Native Americans. Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian, has more shieldmaidens fighting in 750 AD on the Danish side. These are historical accounts. Not someone taking a look at a statue, coming to the correct conclusion that it was a Valkirye most likely, and than state that there were no female warriors in a warrior culture at all.
Furthermore archaeology in both the British Isles and Scandinavia has shown an equal distribution of male and female grave sites, leading to a belief of an equal distribution when it came to immigration into the British Isles. Furthermore some women have had weaponry with them in their graves. I am not even going to go into legendary shieldmaidens. I will only say that in that regards, legends have a kernel of truth to them.

Also you made the assertion of sexual dimorphism, which you sourced, so it was up to you to source, not me.

Edit: of course she is British. If there is one thing the Brits excell at is ignoring other sources with regards to other people.
Well, yes, I, for one, am going to ignore them - at least until I can actually see them. The Greeland saga I'm happy to put into the same category as the Odyssey; the one Byzantine account and the one Danish account you mentioned, I have questions about. Are they contemporary accounts? If not, how long after the supposed events in question were they written? Herodotus was actually a lot more reliable than a lot of people initially thought, but even he had myths in his Histories that clearly were exaggerations or whole-cloth fabrications.

Given that modern Viking scholars can't agree on the existence of shieldmaidens, I'd say the evidence for their existence is a lot slimmer than you'd like to admit.

Also, why do people keep acting like I didn't provide exhaustive scientific evidence of the male/female upper body strength differential?
 

Robert Rath

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I don't see the big deal. I mean sure, there's definitely physical differences between men and women, which may make it easier for men in general to wield heavier shit, but this is just one of hundreds of little factors that affect the end result, not a definitive no-go. It's up there with being born in a certain class, where you live and what foods your region had available to eat, all sorts of weird little shit like that adds up to the finished product, and while each may have some minor affect, no one factor is anywhere near as definitive as this conversation is making it out to be.

I mean fuck, look at game of thrones. Look at Gwendoline Christie and tell me she couldn't properly wield a longsword because she owns a vagina. Physical sex is just a single factor, nothing more, nothing less.

Plus, like, it's dragon age. This sort of thing falls well, WELL within the boundaries of suspension of disbelief. If it can even be called that. There being a disproportionate amount of women who can fight, in a world where, honestly, it makes sense that women's role as delicate flowers might not be a feasible one when dragons and shit are all around you, might not hold up.

Hell, considering it IS an alternate reality, evolutionary forces over time causing women to grow bigger and stronger overall than they are in this reality is completely reasonable. You'd be surprised how quickly a species can change when there's actually a need to change to survive. Just add a bit more testosterone to encourage more muscle growth, while also ensuring it doesn't fuck with the ability to bear children. But maybe this is just coming from my position as someone who's taken a genetics class and i need to "check my privileged", bleh.
 

Haerthan

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Topsider said:
Haerthan said:
So we are just going to ignore all of the Byzantine records? The Danish ones as well?
John Skylitzes, a Byzantine historian attests to them when the Varangians (Greek name given to Vikings) were defeated in Bulgaria in 971 AD, female warriors were among the fallen. The Greenland saga, based on historical truth, has a pregnant woman fighting off Native Americans. Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian, has more shieldmaidens fighting in 750 AD on the Danish side. These are historical accounts. Not someone taking a look at a statue, coming to the correct conclusion that it was a Valkirye most likely, and than state that there were no female warriors in a warrior culture at all.
Furthermore archaeology in both the British Isles and Scandinavia has shown an equal distribution of male and female grave sites, leading to a belief of an equal distribution when it came to immigration into the British Isles. Furthermore some women have had weaponry with them in their graves. I am not even going to go into legendary shieldmaidens. I will only say that in that regards, legends have a kernel of truth to them.

Also you made the assertion of sexual dimorphism, which you sourced, so it was up to you to source, not me.

Edit: of course she is British. If there is one thing the Brits excell at is ignoring other sources with regards to other people.
Well, yes, I, for one, am going to ignore them - at least until I can actually see them. The Greeland saga I'm happy to put into the same category as the Odyssey; the one Byzantine account and the one Danish account you mentioned, I have questions about. Are they contemporary accounts? If not, how long after the supposed events in question were they written? Herodotus was actually a lot more reliable than a lot of people initially thought, but even he had myths in his Histories that clearly were exaggerations or whole-cloth fabrications.

Given that modern Viking scholars can't agree on the existence of shieldmaidens, I'd say the evidence for their existence is a lot slimmer than you'd like to admit.

Also, why do people keep acting like I didn't provide exhaustive scientific evidence of the male/female upper body strength differential?
Your prerogative if you want to ignore sources nd archaeology. It is clear I can't change your mind. And that is something I don't actually want to.Second I saw your sources on the difference potential. I took that and I stopped pestering people bout it. My only opinion is that the difference can be overcome with a clever application of training, diet, willpower and physics.

Edit: The Byzantine seems to be from the 10-11th century so contemporary to his events. The Danish seems to be from the 13th century, just like the rest of the Scandinavian reports talking about the Vikings.
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
Your prerogative if you want to ignore sources nd archaeology. It is clear I can't change your mind. And that is something I don't actually want to.Second I saw your sources on the difference potential. I took that and I stopped pestering people bout it. My only opinion is that the difference can be overcome with a clever application of training, diet, willpower and physics.

Edit: The Byzantine seems to be from the 10-11th century so contemporary to his events. The Danish seems to be from the 13th century, just like the rest of the Scandinavian reports talking about the Vikings.
The point I'm making is that I'm not ignoring the sources; at best, I'm ignoring what you're asserting the sources say. You haven't actually provided them, so I have no idea if your interpretation's accurate or not. The only thing you've mentioned that I'm even remotely familiar with is the discovery of arms buried with Viking women - arms, mind, not arms and armor. Wikipedia tells me there's no consensus among historians who study the period on what this means as it relates to the probability of shieldmaidens, and I'm also unable to find exactly what arms in particular they're referencing - was it something like a seax, the long knife that everybody had, or are they talking actual implements of war?

Questions like these ought to be answered, in my view; instead, people seem content to go, "A blade got found in a female grave! WARRIOR WOMEN PROOF FINALLY OMG!" That doesn't seem like good history to me.
 

Jennacide

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See, it's the fact this topic even exists that I often turn into a bitter, hateful person.

I don't even know where to begin being mad. Start with idiots being sexist because there is no gender divide in strength in a video game, and that should be viewed as unrealistic? Or how about this not being the first instance in this series of the supposed claim. Cassandra isn't the first female character to wield a longsword as her primary weapon. Even ignoring the Warden or Hawke, did these people forget that Aveline existed in DA2? She used the exact same setup as Cassandra does, longsword + shield.

Or I can just stop at the most mind blowing part, whining about their ability to use longswords, but no comments on the use of greatswords and battle axes? That'd be stupid too, but at least I'd see where the hell they were coming from.
 

Haerthan

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Topsider said:
Haerthan said:
Your prerogative if you want to ignore sources nd archaeology. It is clear I can't change your mind. And that is something I don't actually want to.Second I saw your sources on the difference potential. I took that and I stopped pestering people bout it. My only opinion is that the difference can be overcome with a clever application of training, diet, willpower and physics.

Edit: The Byzantine seems to be from the 10-11th century so contemporary to his events. The Danish seems to be from the 13th century, just like the rest of the Scandinavian reports talking about the Vikings.
The point I'm making is that I'm not ignoring the sources; at best, I'm ignoring what you're asserting the sources say. You haven't actually provided them, so I have no idea if your interpretation's accurate or not. The only thing you've mentioned that I'm even remotely familiar with is the discovery of arms buried with Viking women - arms, mind, not arms and armor. Wikipedia tells me there's no consensus among historians who study the period on what this means as it relates to the probability of shieldmaidens, and I'm also unable to find exactly what arms in particular they're referencing - was it something like a seax, the long knife that everybody had, or are they talking actual implements of war?

Questions like these ought to be answered, in my view; instead, people seem content to go, "A blade got found in a female grave! WARRIOR WOMEN PROOF FINALLY OMG!" That doesn't seem like good history to me.
I used Wikipedia as well for my source. Arms usually means weapons dude. Also some of the graves dug were found with a sword and shield, so more than just the seax. And Wikipedia again shows that there are more historians that believe in the existence of shieldmaidens than not. I will trust the Scandinavian historians on their own history before I trust a British historian to be able to make an "educated" guess about non-British cultures (hint: They are ignorant of other cultures).

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/07/invasion-of-the-viking-women-unearthed/1?csp=34tech&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+usatoday-TechTopStories+%28Tech+-+Top+Stories%29&siteID=je6NUbpObpQ-K0N7ZWh0LJjcLzI4zsnGxg#.VAX0LNNesn8
That should answer your question.
http://vikingburials3589.blogspot.ca/2012/03/beside-every-great-man-women-in-viking.html Interesting read, which references even more burial sites and the fact that women did wield weapons.

But like I said, you trust a British scholar and I trust Scandinavian scholars. Also I am not trying to change your mind and I don't want to.
Here are some other sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Skylitzes (Byzantine source) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxo_Grammaticus (Danish source). Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shieldmaiden


Captcha: Move along. Captcha is right, nothing to see here.
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
Arms usually means weapons dude. Also some of the graves dug were found with a sword and shield, so more than just the seax. And Wikipedia again shows that there are more historians that believe in the existence of shieldmaidens than not.
Wikipedia points to exactly three historians in referencing an opinion on the existence of shieldmaidens, so you're technically correct. Wikipedia also states there is no historical consensus on their existence, and very, very few historical references to them.

I will trust the Scandinavian historians on their own history before I trust a British historian to be able to make an "educated" guess about non-British cultures (hint: They are ignorant of other cultures).

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/07/invasion-of-the-viking-women-unearthed/1?csp=34tech&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+usatoday-TechTopStories+%28Tech+-+Top+Stories%29&siteID=je6NUbpObpQ-K0N7ZWh0LJjcLzI4zsnGxg#.VAX0LNNesn8
That should answer your question.
http://vikingburials3589.blogspot.ca/2012/03/beside-every-great-man-women-in-viking.html Interesting read, which references even more burial sites and the fact that women did wield weapons.
It references the fact that women were found buried with weapons. It also references the fact that infants were found buried with weapons. Now, presumably we're not assuming that just because they were found buried with weapons, said infants were in fact battle-hardened warriors.

The Tor.com reference specifically points to a cogent comment for more insight. I'll spoiler it below, because it mirrors my feelings on the matter pretty precisely:

I'm a historian who studies burial in the early middle ages, and the burial of women with weapons is one of my specialties! I'm in the process of publishing research about a woman buried with a spear in the 6th century, and am excited to see this important topic being discussed here outside the ivory tower at Tor.com.

The bad news first: while many women have been found buried with weapons, the evidence doesn't support the claim made in the title of equal gender representation on the battlefield. The 2011 study that the article cites concludes: 'Although the results presented here cannot be used to determine the number of female settlers, they do suggest that the ratio of females to males may have been somewhere between a third to roughly equal.' The key thing to note is the word 'settlers': the article is arguing that women migrated from Scandinavia to England with the invading Viking army in the 9th century. Several of these women, the article notes, were buried with weapons, but they are still far outnumbered by the armed men. Most of the women settlers mentioned in the study were buried with 'traditional' female outfits: brooches that held up their aprons.

The good news, though: while women buried with weapons are rare, they *are* being found, and this is in large part thanks to an increased willingness to trust the bone specialists. Archaeologists have been using bones to identify the biological sex of skeletons for the past century, but when burials were found which didn't fit their notions of 'normal,' they tended to assume that the bone analysts had made a mistake. This is not entirely unreasonable, because bones are often so badly decomposed that it is impossible to tell the sex of the person. But I can point to cases where the bones clearly belong to a woman, and the archaeologists insisted that it had to be a man because only men were warriors. That's modern sexism plain and simple, and bad archaeology. But thankfully, archaeologists in recent decades have become aware of this problem, and as a result, more and more women are showing up with weapons!

But women with weapons are still a minority, usually fewer than 10% at any given cemetery. Sometimes there are no women with weapons in a cemetery at all. So they existed, but the evidence suggests weapons were still most commonly associated with men.

There are a few things to conclude from this.

First, we're just talking about graves (because that's what survives for archaeologists to dig up). Just because a woman is buried in an apron, does not mean she wasn't a warrior before she died. There was no rule (as far as we know) that warriors had to be buried with their weapons. What if they wanted to leave them to their daughters instead? And who says a warrior woman can't wear a dress to her own funeral? There might be many warrior women who are invisible because they were buried in 'traditional' female outfits.

Second, we can't be sure that everyone buried with a weapon was a warrior. We find infants buried with weapons sometimes; they clearly weren't fighters (though perhaps they would have been had they grown up?). Weapons were powerful ritual objects with lots of magic and social power, and a woman might be buried with one for a reason other than fighting, such as her connection to the ruling family, ownership of land, or role as priestess or magical healer.

Third, we shouldn't rush to map our modern ideas of how gender *should have been* onto the past. We should study the past for what it is, whether that's good or bad. Archaeologists who ignored evidence that Viking women weren't all housewives caused great harm, but going to the other side and saying that men and women were equal on the Viking battlefield isn't really any better. It minimizes the reality of gender inequality that Viking women had to struggle against, much like the inequality faced by their modern counterparts.

But finally, we do need to continue to reimagine the world of sword and sorcery to reflect the real role played by women in the past. Because some women *did* fight, even if they weren't in the majority, and that's incredibly important. And shoot, when we write fantasy, why not imagine that 50% of the warriors on the battlefield were women? That might not be how it was, but this is fantasy, and we can write the world as it SHOULD be.

But like I said, you trust a British scholar and I trust Scandinavian scholars. Also I am not trying to change your mind and I don't want to.
Well, that's good, I guess. Because I "trust" far more than a solitary British scholar. There's been an awful lot of scholarship on the Vikings, after all, and female warriors in general. They were exceptionally rare, though such rare exceptions did exist.

Here are some other sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Skylitzes (Byzantine source) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxo_Grammaticus (Danish source).
So, neither contemporary sources, as I suspected. Your Byzantine references a battle fought in 971, while he himself was born nearly a century later. Much the same Saxo Grammaticus, on the other hand, born around 1150, reaches even further back to assert shieldmaidens fought in a battle in 750.

Is it possible they're right? Sure. It's equally possible they're retelling folk stories as fact, which is something one encounters frequently in early historians.

If you're strongly invested in the notion of battlefield equality in the Migration Period/Early Middle Ages, then I think that's pretty harmless. Just be aware you'll be battling from a position that doesn't have much evidentiary weight behind it, and little in the way of scholarly support.
 

Robert Rath

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Women have been treasured for ages, since the first woman uttered "I can bear a child, you cannot", to which men probably replied "Fair enough, I'll take out the trash and mow the lawn".

Raw strength doesn't make a soldier though; Discipline, tenacity and adaptability do and as far as I can tell, none of those are limited by gender.
That being said, if you add strength to that combination then men would be a clear better choice.

-

I honestly don't think women have been brought up to be suitable warriors for most of time, but that they probably could have fulfilled the role just fine.

It's important not to dismiss the physical differences as women have lower metabolic rates, less lung capacity, they tire quicker due to a lower red bloodcell count and of course the brute strength where the difference is quite high.
Men are also on average, taller than women which is significant if we're talking about reach.

If men and women were raised with the same upbringing, men would likely still be prefferable to women for combat, but the difference would be less than it is now.

I leave the possibility open for other differences being a factor in womens favor, but currently I don't know any.

-

In the argument that it is unrealistic for women to wield longswords, I think it's a ridiculous argument to have when it's set in a different world where many things are clearly different.

As a general rule in real life, I don't see why women shouldn't be able to.

The question is whether it seems like good writing that medieval-styled women are just as capable fighters as men and generally people (both men and women) don't see it that way. While they might accept dragons, magic and elves, a woman wielding any large sword goes beyond their suspension of disbelief, just like we laugh at Supermans disguise but readily accept that he can fly or shoot lasers out of his eyes.

Women mentally translate into being lithe and dexterous while men equal raw strength, so a small or thin sword seems natural in the hands of a woman.

You could argue that people who think this way are wrong, but it's equally wrong to tell people what to think. If you do it aggressively in the name of progress, they're even less willing to listen.
 

Twinmill5000

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Excuse me, but why are you still trying to disprove the existence, nay, possibility of a society of female warriors in the past? Even if they're actually a myth, and the Shieldmaidens never existed outside of fiction, deviating from the discussion for this long does absolutely nothing to prove it.

I believe the discussion at hand was, oh look, some 194iq redditors (in reddit iq mind you), are trying to form an argument based around the notion that gender equality should not exist in fiction, because look at all of these real world stats, and that really rustles their jimmies that the only thing they seemingly cannot accept are females with big swords, now let's hate on them because those people are the ones giving everyone else, especially gamers, a bad name.



I mean, if they can't accept females with big swords, then this youtube video will probably give them a seizure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK1k8455prQ

Want to know why I'm bitter, why I sound butthurt about the whole thing? Because there are people out there who legitimately want to oppress women, who actually believe that they belong in the kitchen, making sandwiches, and they're not being sarcastic, and about half of the posts here are from people trying to convince themselves that, well, these boys have a point, while still not accepting their argument, because even if you have a shred of humanity left in you, and lack all of the mental agility in the world, you probably are better than the cheeto-huffing neckbeard who claims women don't have a right, in fiction, to use slightly bigger swords.

These people are what you should be directing your vitriol at, not eachother. These people don't have a point. It went right out of the window when they hinted that it's not just about a depiction of a gender in a video game, but the depiction of a gender in a video game that's already out, that they probably paid for (or own), and covers a fantasy setting with so many more things to focus on (and be mad about).
 

Haerthan

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Topsider said:
Haerthan said:
Arms usually means weapons dude. Also some of the graves dug were found with a sword and shield, so more than just the seax. And Wikipedia again shows that there are more historians that believe in the existence of shieldmaidens than not.
Wikipedia points to exactly three historians in referencing an opinion on the existence of shieldmaidens, so you're technically correct. Wikipedia also states there is no historical consensus on their existence, and very, very few historical references to them.

I will trust the Scandinavian historians on their own history before I trust a British historian to be able to make an "educated" guess about non-British cultures (hint: They are ignorant of other cultures).

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/09/female-viking-warriors-proof-swords
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/07/invasion-of-the-viking-women-unearthed/1?csp=34tech&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+usatoday-TechTopStories+%28Tech+-+Top+Stories%29&siteID=je6NUbpObpQ-K0N7ZWh0LJjcLzI4zsnGxg#.VAX0LNNesn8
That should answer your question.
http://vikingburials3589.blogspot.ca/2012/03/beside-every-great-man-women-in-viking.html Interesting read, which references even more burial sites and the fact that women did wield weapons.
It references the fact that women were found buried with weapons. It also references the fact that infants were found buried with weapons. Now, presumably we're not assuming that just because they were found buried with weapons, said infants were in fact battle-hardened warriors.

The Tor.com reference specifically points to a cogent comment for more insight. I'll spoiler it below, because it mirrors my feelings on the matter pretty precisely:

I'm a historian who studies burial in the early middle ages, and the burial of women with weapons is one of my specialties! I'm in the process of publishing research about a woman buried with a spear in the 6th century, and am excited to see this important topic being discussed here outside the ivory tower at Tor.com.

The bad news first: while many women have been found buried with weapons, the evidence doesn't support the claim made in the title of equal gender representation on the battlefield. The 2011 study that the article cites concludes: 'Although the results presented here cannot be used to determine the number of female settlers, they do suggest that the ratio of females to males may have been somewhere between a third to roughly equal.' The key thing to note is the word 'settlers': the article is arguing that women migrated from Scandinavia to England with the invading Viking army in the 9th century. Several of these women, the article notes, were buried with weapons, but they are still far outnumbered by the armed men. Most of the women settlers mentioned in the study were buried with 'traditional' female outfits: brooches that held up their aprons.

The good news, though: while women buried with weapons are rare, they *are* being found, and this is in large part thanks to an increased willingness to trust the bone specialists. Archaeologists have been using bones to identify the biological sex of skeletons for the past century, but when burials were found which didn't fit their notions of 'normal,' they tended to assume that the bone analysts had made a mistake. This is not entirely unreasonable, because bones are often so badly decomposed that it is impossible to tell the sex of the person. But I can point to cases where the bones clearly belong to a woman, and the archaeologists insisted that it had to be a man because only men were warriors. That's modern sexism plain and simple, and bad archaeology. But thankfully, archaeologists in recent decades have become aware of this problem, and as a result, more and more women are showing up with weapons!

But women with weapons are still a minority, usually fewer than 10% at any given cemetery. Sometimes there are no women with weapons in a cemetery at all. So they existed, but the evidence suggests weapons were still most commonly associated with men.

There are a few things to conclude from this.

First, we're just talking about graves (because that's what survives for archaeologists to dig up). Just because a woman is buried in an apron, does not mean she wasn't a warrior before she died. There was no rule (as far as we know) that warriors had to be buried with their weapons. What if they wanted to leave them to their daughters instead? And who says a warrior woman can't wear a dress to her own funeral? There might be many warrior women who are invisible because they were buried in 'traditional' female outfits.

Second, we can't be sure that everyone buried with a weapon was a warrior. We find infants buried with weapons sometimes; they clearly weren't fighters (though perhaps they would have been had they grown up?). Weapons were powerful ritual objects with lots of magic and social power, and a woman might be buried with one for a reason other than fighting, such as her connection to the ruling family, ownership of land, or role as priestess or magical healer.

Third, we shouldn't rush to map our modern ideas of how gender *should have been* onto the past. We should study the past for what it is, whether that's good or bad. Archaeologists who ignored evidence that Viking women weren't all housewives caused great harm, but going to the other side and saying that men and women were equal on the Viking battlefield isn't really any better. It minimizes the reality of gender inequality that Viking women had to struggle against, much like the inequality faced by their modern counterparts.

But finally, we do need to continue to reimagine the world of sword and sorcery to reflect the real role played by women in the past. Because some women *did* fight, even if they weren't in the majority, and that's incredibly important. And shoot, when we write fantasy, why not imagine that 50% of the warriors on the battlefield were women? That might not be how it was, but this is fantasy, and we can write the world as it SHOULD be.

But like I said, you trust a British scholar and I trust Scandinavian scholars. Also I am not trying to change your mind and I don't want to.
Well, that's good, I guess. Because I "trust" far more than a solitary British scholar. There's been an awful lot of scholarship on the Vikings, after all, and female warriors in general. They were exceptionally rare, though such rare exceptions did exist.

Here are some other sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Skylitzes (Byzantine source) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxo_Grammaticus (Danish source).
So, neither contemporary sources, as I suspected. Your Byzantine references a battle fought in 971, while he himself was born nearly a century later. Much the same Saxo Grammaticus, on the other hand, born around 1150, reaches even further back to assert shieldmaidens fought in a battle in 750.

Is it possible they're right? Sure. It's equally possible they're retelling folk stories as fact, which is something one encounters frequently in early historians.

If you're strongly invested in the notion of battlefield equality in the Migration Period/Early Middle Ages, then I think that's pretty harmless. Just be aware you'll be battling from a position that doesn't have much evidentiary weight behind it, and little in the way of scholarly support.
I don't think you are understanding what I am trying to say. I am not saying that shieldmaidens made up 50% of the raiding parties of the Vikings. I am saying that there were female warriors, some who were buried with their weapons. I am saying I believe in their existence. There is scholarly support, there is archaeological evidence and if we ignored historical sources just cause of the distance between their writing and the events, then we know nothing of the Vikings, except from archaeological sites, prior to 1000 AD.
I am not invested in battlefield equality in the Middle Ages, because it was impossible then, due to the culture and the lack of proper diet availability. Hell some countries still have issues integrating women in combat situations (US) in their army. I also believe that shieldmaidens (or female warriors) existed, were rare, but enough to warrant a reference in several historical accounts and archaeological sites.
 

Robert Rath

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Haerthan said:
I don't think you are understanding what I am trying to say. I am not saying that shieldmaidens made up 50% of the raiding parties of the Vikings. I am saying that there were female warriors, some who were buried with their weapons. I am saying I believe in their existence. There is scholarly support, there is archaeological evidence and if we ignored historical sources just cause of the distance between their writing and the events, then we know nothing of the Vikings, except from archaeological sites, prior to 1000 AD.
And I'm simply saying that the very article you culled your sources from states, quite clearly, there is no consensus on whether or not shieldmaidens actually existed, and the archaeological evidence left behind by the Vikings that might shed some light on the matter is unclear.

Hell some countries still have issues integrating women in combat situations (US) in their army.
The Marines have been trying for years now to get women to pass the bare minimum male standards. They went through dozens - possibly hundreds - of candidates before they finally managed to get a woman through IOC, which is a grueling program, but far from the most grueling. The specific sticking point at this time? Pull-ups [http://archive.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20140127/NEWS/301270047/Marine-Corps-struggles-challenge-making-women-do-pullups]. We've gone years now where they've been unable to get even half of female Marines - not exactly athletically disinclined individuals - to manage three pull-ups.

And the Army just opened up Ranger school to women. Crucially, they've said they're not allowing women in on different standards than the men. Apropos nothing, an eighty pound ruck is less than half the body weight of the typical male candidate, and will be well more than half the body weight of the typical female candidate. The Eglin phase will be hella interesting to watch.

I also believe that shieldmaidens (or female warriors) existed, were rare, but enough to warrant a reference in several historical accounts and archaeological sites.
Perhaps so. The lack of a phenomenon of such rarity being absent from contemporary accounts is pretty telling, though.
 

Kathinka

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Funny enough, I have now seen half a bazillion people saying that women could use longswords (although obviously less effective than men), but no one who has yet claimed the opposite..Is that really a thing, are there really those people? Because I haven't been able to find any. This whole thing seems a bit like click bait riding on the currently oh so popular social justice discussion.
But it made for an interesting thread, so I won't complain.
 

Haerthan

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Topsider said:
Haerthan said:
I don't think you are understanding what I am trying to say. I am not saying that shieldmaidens made up 50% of the raiding parties of the Vikings. I am saying that there were female warriors, some who were buried with their weapons. I am saying I believe in their existence. There is scholarly support, there is archaeological evidence and if we ignored historical sources just cause of the distance between their writing and the events, then we know nothing of the Vikings, except from archaeological sites, prior to 1000 AD.
And I'm simply saying that the very article you culled your sources from states, quite clearly, there is no consensus on whether or not shieldmaidens actually existed, and the archaeological evidence left behind by the Vikings that might shed some light on the matter is unclear.

Hell some countries still have issues integrating women in combat situations (US) in their army.
The Marines have been trying for years now to get women to pass the bare minimum male standards. They went through dozens - possibly hundreds - of candidates before they finally managed to get a woman through IOC, which is a grueling program, but far from the most grueling. The specific sticking point at this time? Pull-ups [http://archive.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20140127/NEWS/301270047/Marine-Corps-struggles-challenge-making-women-do-pullups]. We've gone years now where they've been unable to get even half of female Marines - not exactly athletically disinclined individuals - to manage three pull-ups.

And the Army just opened up Ranger school to women. Crucially, they've said they're not allowing women in on different standards than the men. Apropos nothing, an eighty pound ruck is less than half the body weight of the typical male candidate, and will be well more than half the body weight of the typical female candidate. The Eglin phase will be hella interesting to watch.

I also believe that shieldmaidens (or female warriors) existed, were rare, but enough to warrant a reference in several historical accounts and archaeological sites.
Perhaps so. The lack of a phenomenon of such rarity being absent from contemporary accounts is pretty telling, though.
Perhaps. But usually if a phenomenon is rare, there won't be too many accounts talking of it. ANd you are also forgetting that the Vikings didn't keep too many records up until the 12th century, only the runestones. So most of the knowledge we have of them is through archaeological evidence, foreign historical sources and late 12-early 13th century Danish records.

Furthermore legends always have a kernel of truth to them. Did Ragnar Lodbrok and his wife Lagertha exist? Most likely. Did they do all of the things they are supposed to have done? NO.

Also good on the US. That is what feminism wanted. Equal representation and opportunity. Now the pull-up issue I don't know much about it, but I would think those women would get the necessary training to overcome that issue.
 

Ryan Minns

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Kathinka said:
Funny enough, I have now seen half a bazillion people saying that women could use longswords (although obviously less effective than men), but no one who has yet claimed the opposite..Is that really a thing, are there really those people? Because I haven't been able to find any. This whole thing seems a bit like click bait riding on the currently oh so popular social justice discussion.
But it made for an interesting thread, so I won't complain.
I saw a post about someone wishing female characters weilding large weapons be buffed up as they felt the scrawnyness of them made larger weapons look a little odd. Basically only that type of comment but I only look using my phone during my break so I could have missed a real claim
 
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I feel thankful for the fact that I haven't seen the people arguing this. Have no trouble believing they exist though, about a year back we had someone arguing that Bikini plate was the most effective form of armor for women to use. Their basis was that it hurts too much for a woman to be hit in the boob, as opposed to, say, disemboweled in the midriff
 

Hero in a half shell

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Twinmill5000 said:
I mean, if they can't accept females with big swords, then this youtube video will probably give them a seizure.

Actually there is overwhelming evidence to support this scenario as being perfectly historically accurate and believable.

Scissors can be proven to have existed in historical times without doubt: https://www.pinterest.com/cathyr19355/viking-scissors/


And if you look just at the evidence of scissors found in the ancient graves you'll find plenty in the graves of women, proving that they were used by women:

http://koelner-dom.de/index.php?id=16692&L=1
In that source a Frankish woman was buried in a grave that contained scissors, a war javelin, a throwing axe and a shield: proof that the scissors were used as weapons of war.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rvT_aYLCKfIC&pg=PA198&lpg=PA198&dq=scissors+in+woman%27s+grave&source=bl&ots=ZF_RMX93Iu&sig=V_ws-7eClm4ICvhmdS9djw2ac4Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=I_bDVPD8FeSw7AaZ6oHgCg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=scissors%20in%20woman%27s%20grave&f=false
Here we see regular scissors buried alongside 'shears' - the technical term for a very large pair of scissors, so we have proof that these scissors were made of varying sizes and lengths.

That proves scissors existed, were wielded by women in battle and were larger than traditional scissors of today (up to an unknown limit that I speculate could well include larger than a big-ass mountain) We can amicably concur that Kill la Kill is obviously perfectly historically accurate in this battle scene.

Even if you reject this inarguable evidence I have gathered here, there is no arguing against this quote from an renowned historian and academic Steven Coates:

When the boys were dispatched to their uncles they were seized and separated from their household. Lothar and Childebert then sent their henchman Arcadius to the Queen with a pair of scissors in one hand and a sword in the other.
When you send henchmen to a Queen you bring your most fierce-some weapons. We can understand from this that the scissors were clearly feared above all others, proving the videos authenticity.
Yes this is a parody of the other posts trying to argue with certainty things which we cannot prove for certain. and yes I spent way too much time personally compiling all those links.
 

beastro

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Talking about Tolkien's work and using the word allegory for it is disgusting.

He went out of his way not to be that, especially when it came to things like weapons and armour and that's reflected in the lack of plate and other Late Middle Age items because the Migration Age didn't have them.

Everything save the use of gunpowder at Helmsdeep conformed to what was used and worn in cica 600AD Europe.

With that said there's a large different between a longsword and a greatsword and I have a feeling they're being mixed up here, not that a greatsword itself was all that heavy for someone trained, and thus has the musculature for it (same for a longbow) to use one.

Also I'm really, really starting to miss the old RPG stats of Male and Female characters with men getting good raw strength bonus' while women getting others , usually a constitution or dexterity bonus.
 

Reasonable Atheist

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What a load of crap, nobody is saying women cant use swords. You made this up so you could dispute it. I am reminded of the "fake geek girl" controversy that nobody supported, the only reason anyone even knew about it was from people decrying it as evil. Same thing here, you should be ashamed.
 

Doog0AD

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Vis-a-vis historians and dates: The records of the Punic Wars were written almost half a century after the Second Punic War, and yet we seem to take those more or less at face value.
 

Robert Rath

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You know, as an aside, I've noticed that there's a few people in here making claims with no sources to back them up, but in other threads have demanded sources from others.

Huh, makes one think that the truth is not the goal of these arguments but more re-affirming ones own beliefs on matters of gender and sexuality. Well, not like it's the first time I've seen that happen in relation to a topic that deals with women, so... nothing out of the ordinary here.[sub]sadly[/sub]

The Almighty Aardvark said:
I feel thankful for the fact that I haven't seen the people arguing this. Have no trouble believing they exist though, about a year back we had someone arguing that Bikini plate was the most effective form of armor for women to use. Their basis was that it hurts too much for a woman to be hit in the boob, as opposed to, say, disemboweled in the midriff
Hey man, nipples are *real* sensitive, so being stabbed in one of those would hurt a whole lot. It totally makes loads of sense that you should armour that shit up! Sure, a knife to the gut would probably be lethal, but nipple cuts would be so painful, like a purple nurple mixed with a paper cut! Nobody wants to experience that, right?

I mean, a metal plate squashing the boobs down would do the trick enough, but then how else would you know there were boobs under there? Gotta signal that to your enemy so they know where to not hit you. 'Don't stab a chick in the tatas' is just like, common courtesy really.

[sub]I am being sarcastic, by the way. Not to assume anything of you, but I've seen enough posts about defending boob plates that what I've just posted could be seen as a serious and legit argument by those *wonderous* standards already established on the topic.[/sub]
 

Robert Rath

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You know, it seems to me to be more logical if the argument was about the greatswords in the game rather than normal longswords and someone just mistook the name. Then you can argue it has some merit for skinny women swinging a sword larger than they are.
 

Oroboros

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There is an ocean's worth of evidence of women taking up the sword (or bow or axe etc) for those willing to look for it, that goes far beyond the well known Scythian and Viking burials.

The Dahomey Amazons, Order of the Hatchet, the Gladiatrices etc. to name just a few groups of female fighters.

Seriously, it doesn't take a whole lot of strength to use a sword effectively. I doubt a lot of people trying to cast doubt on the existence of female warriors have ever picked up a sword, much less sparred again a woman skilled in using one.
 

Kathinka

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Oroboros said:
There is an ocean's worth of evidence of women taking up the sword (or bow or axe etc) for those willing to look for it, that goes far beyond the well known Scythian and Viking burials.

The Dahomey Amazons, Order of the Hatchet, the Gladiatrices etc. to name just a few groups of female fighters.

Seriously, it doesn't take a whole lot of strength to use a sword effectively. I doubt a lot of people trying to cast doubt on the existence of female warriors have ever picked up a sword, much less sparred again a woman skilled in using one.
I don't think anyone here is denying their existence. Merely arguing against the claim that they were more present and numerous instead of the more likely scenario of very rare cases. A claim not supported by our current historical, medical and archaeological knowledge and instead hyped up to cater to one viewpoint or another in the ever so popular sexism debate.
 

Kerethos

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The only real hindrance to a woman using any weapon as effectively as a man is a big bust. A large chest (for a man) or bust (for a woman) prevents some guard stances and cuts, or at least makes them more difficult. That's about it.

You'll have to adapt your technique around the two things sticking out from your chest, if you've got a big enough bust for them to get in the way. Or, you know, you could just use a shield and remove the problem entirely - if it's even there in the first place.

Because the thing about weapons is that you generally pick the one your best with. Which means that and if you've got a large bust that makes techniques difficult or impossible to perform you'd pick a weapon where your bust was not a hindrance and fight with that instead. Crazy, I know, but people do that.
 

Lilani

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Queen Michael said:
There's no "irony of arguing about 'realism' in a game with dragons on the cover," because all stories need some kind of realism. Or to put it differently: The stupid parts of, say, Naruto don't become less gorram stupid just because it's a manga about ninjas.

Fantasy may be fantasy, but it still follows the rule of "like reality unlike otherwise stated."
"Realism" doesn't necessarily have to mean "plausible in the real world," though. The most important realism in a fantasy world is continuity within itself--that is, the world following its own rules. In Middle Earth, the Ents are a race of talking trees. However, they are specific types of trees from a very specific place. Talking palm trees on the coast may be just as realistic as talking hardwoods from the forests, however Ents do not have brethren who take the form of palm trees, and Ents are very ancient trees while palms tend to be younger. Such an addition would be out of character for the world, and would require an exception to the rule of how creatures like Ents come about.

In the world of Dragon Age, it's been established that whatever disparity there is between the strength of women and men, it's negligible enough that two of equal skill can battle on equal footing. So long as it follows that rule, it's remaining true to itself.
 

Chris Moses

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Nov 22, 2013
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Who says dragons don't have hollow bones? And who says they done get their fire from all the hydrogen inside them (displacing even more weight)?

What I can't stand are the dragons with 4 legs and two wings! Unless the dragon is an alien then it's a terrestrial vertebrate descended from therapods just like every other terrestrial vertebrate and will have only 4 appendages making 2 wings and 2 legs the optimal layout for powered flight.

Oh... there's an OT? Whoops. Yeah sure, women could swing long swords. If you really wanted to parse hairs you could even say the swords are lightly built for them. Thinner and/or slightly shorter blades but something that still looks like a long sword.
 

Lightknight

Mugwamp Supreme
Nov 26, 2008
4,860
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As with my other posts, this is a video game in which women can transform into fire breathing dragons. Who is really going to get held up on a woman using a sword that is pretty difficult to use for the average woman. What's more is if you really think about it, the men would die from exhaustion too from how many times they swing their blades in these games. It's all fantasy and as such entirely immune to failures to meet realities. Hell, in this universe maybe women are exactly as strong as men or even stronger? Maybe breasts in this universe are muscle instead of fat deposits.

Haerthan said:
Yes, those 2-handers that you showed in the picture were for hacking and slashing, but I wasnt talking about those. I am talking of one-handed swords. The type I was trained with, well I was trained to use 1 1/2, but the form was definitely onehanded. Strength had nothing to do with 1handed forms. Yea 2h sure, those things are more based on strength, but I am not talking about those.
Long swords are called such because of the length of the hilt being two handed, not because of the length of the blade but the two most always coincided as being longer than traditional one handed swords since the additional handle length meant more leverage. So if you were talking about one-handed swords then you weren't talking about long swords by any definition. Maybe some types of rapiers would make sense if you were trained in one nowadays. They have long blades but they're pretty thin (usually, again, rapier is an ambiguous term) with a single handed hilt.

But I'll point out that some rapiers were also intended for making quick agile cuts depending on the thickness of the blade and whether or not there was actually an edge on it. I'll admit that this is rarer but I've absolutely seen rapier slashing techniques in period accurate manuals and more than one client requested a rapier with a partially sharpened blade which I learned was common and some rapier masters preferred a two edged blade like a long dagger. People often thing of the thin foils when they're thinking of rapiers but in general they really had substantial blades even if the tip was somewhat weaker than the rest. Modern rapier training consists only of thrusts. Traditionally this was not the case. Regardless, the rapier is a post-middle ages weapon.

Lastly, yes armour was important, but weapons such as the estoc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc) or halberds were designed to puncture mail. They had no point.
Two things,

1. They absolutely had a point. They protected against a lot of stray blades or attacks from non-specialized weapons. Knowing that polearms could puncture armor doesn't do you a lick of good if the knights are plowing into the ranks of other knights or foot soldiers. Telling me that there are weapons that could puncture them and therefore they're unnecessary is as ridiculous as me telling a police officer that because armor piercing rounds and high caliber rounds exist that they might as well not wear bullet proof vests when the truth is that their vests will protect them from a lot of what they normally see.

2. What I'm saying is that long swords have a variety of uses including hacking and slashing that could also be used against the armor wearers at the right times. In all honesty, most blades can't really puncture armor unless it's really shitty stuff and are instead targeted towards the weak points. Like in the picture I showed where someone was using the pummel as a blunt instrument, the other opponent was puncturing the eye slots. Regardless, no one would want to go up against a person in plate armor without themselves wearing armor. While it could puncture the weak spots of the armor you not only needed a strong thrust in the right places but all the while the person has their own blade that just needs to land home and not a specialized attack. While I have made some traditional armor (an absolutely terrible idea, people won't pay you what it's worth and you can forge 30 blades in the time it takes you to make one suit) and know that it can vary pretty widely in weight according to thickness, I know that most females would have a difficult time lugging real plate-mail into battle for the same reason modern female soldiers have great difficulty carrying the same packs the men carry to the point of 52% compared to men who suffer it at 26%. [http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/] Considering that this is the most common sort of injury sustained in military theaters now, this is a big deal.

Now, why did I bring that up? A suit of armor can be around 100 lbs. A modern soldier's pack is 80 lbs or more. So women, by far, did not wear plate armor and so would not be the unit to go up against the plate armored unit. Honestly, they'd be better suited running away from armored knights to fight unarmored foes. Which, again, means hacking and slashing.

So yes "the longsword",(langes schwert) was used that way. But those were mainly horseback. Furthermore the development of plate armour also ensured that those types of swords would be adapted to have a better thrusting point and smaller cutting capability.
They weren't used mainly on horseback or at least we don't actually know the veracity of that claim. They were used in both scenarios. We have no way of knowing how frequently they were used in any scenarios but there were usually far better weapons to use from horse back.

Long swords evolved into the claymore. They didn't evolve into the rapier. I stated that earlier. Long swords also didn't (couldn't) puncture armor straight through the plate. They punctured at the junctions or in slots. In all honesty, most of the time it really was more useful to use the blade reverse as a blunt instrument which was more effective in most cases against the plate portion of the armor. This required the end being held to be strong enough to survive and a thinner tip harms that possibility. Likewise, a lot of knight on knight fights devolved into wrestling pretty quickly. To the point where fencing manuals frequently had more on wrestling techniques than the actual use of a blade. God only knows that if I were a female or small male that that's the type of fighting I'd want to do. Struggling in 100 lb armor with another man wearing the same weight but big enough to control it. Hell, just regular wrestling is brutally grueling to endurance. I simply can't imagine what that would have been like with armor.

Also yes the fact that if armour was present or not was an important factor. For a longsword, if armour was present, you would use the tip, meaning it was less a question of strength, but dexterity and an application of the principles behind levers. If armour wasn't present, the yea hack away.
You still do both. You want to hack at the joins from the sides to get to the flesh or to loose a strap or clasp holding them together. You only stab when there's a blatant weak spot like the face. Are you imagining people running around and stabbing a blade through the actual armor? You need something like a powerful longbow to really get at it like that. To be honest, fatigue was a far more powerful opponent to the knight in plate than a sword. Now, would a rapier (the best at stabbing in small places) be a better tool against a knight? You'd lose the ability to cleave at the junctions and potentially fail to cut through the cloth armor they wore underneath. I think you'd be better with a sword that can do all and the long sword is one of those.

Now if we focus on Japan, the onna-bugeisha used naginatas, in contrast with their male counterparts, who used the katana. But this was prior to the Edo period, when Neo-Confucianism heavily restricted women. They were trained in the use of naginata.
The naginata is brilliant because it's basically a sword with a lever attached to it. While the weight seems like a disadvantage, the long shaft actually gives the individual more leverage to swing the blade with. The length of the polearm was to counter some of the strength and weight advantages of male opponents.

You'll notice that their other two weapons were varieties of daggers.

So while there is some sexual dimorphism, clever application of training, willpower and normal physics can override said dimorphism.
No, at no point is the sexual dimorphism overridden. A man putting the same effort in that a woman puts in grows faster much more rapidly and loses weight far more rapidly. You've got to think of all men as steroid users where it comes to testosterone.

What I think you mean is that women can be a force to be reckoned with which I sure as hell agree with. At no point did I say that women were powerless or incapable. I only said that the use of this particular blade would be ill-suited for females in general. The same would be true for smaller men.

Are you thinking that something I'm saying is inherently sexist? That I'm trying to make a point of inferiority? I believe that society is turning a blind eye to the fact that we are different. I think that's a shame because differences actually mean specialization where as a male I am likely to be weaker in some areas that you are strong and vice versa. These differences should be celebrated. Not seen as some sort of politically incorrect thing to even acknowledge. Sorry if you thought you were debating with some sort of sexist asshole but you're barking up the wrong tree if so. I'm just stating the facts for what they are.

You will not get denser bones, you will not get a narrower pelvic angle to help with mobility and weight distribution. You will not get larger organs or have a larger frame with greater reach. Some women far better than others and some males fare worse than others on those things they were born with but by and large men will have the advantage in those areas by a fair margin and they cannot be overcome with exercise or diet. The only thing you have at your disposal is to have to work harder than a male to achieve the same amount of muscle they got from being born male or from working significantly less for. Think of this, I have absolutely massive forearms. Massive to the point that friends will demand I show them the "baby head" by flexing them. How do I have massive forearms? I don't know. My dad has them too so it's likely genetic but I don't work them out. For you to get muscles like that you'd have to work at it. It isn't because I'm better than you or any nonsense like that. It's because of biology.

Now, put a gun in your hand and any male is screwed. This disparity is essentially nullified by technology.

Only when we allow it to be entrenched in a culture it becomes an issue. Hence why we still need feminism. It is just a matter of using our brains.
Wait what? What does women being naturally physically weaker have to do with feminism? This is biology. I'm not saying that women aren't able to do anything. I'm saying that compared to men, women are far weaker as a product of biology. This has literally nothing to do with feminism.
 

Mikeybb

Nunc est Durandum
Aug 19, 2014
862
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Haerthan said:
I used Wikipedia as well for my source. Arms usually means weapons dude. Also some of the graves dug were found with a sword and shield, so more than just the seax. And Wikipedia again shows that there are more historians that believe in the existence of shieldmaidens than not. I will trust the Scandinavian historians on their own history before I trust a British historian to be able to make an "educated" guess about non-British cultures (hint: They are ignorant of other cultures).
Given the amount of raiding and attacks experienced by the north eastern coast of England during the middle ages, the two histories are somewhat entangled anyway, especially in regards to combat.
Granted, it's not a complete view, but it is an aspect of the culture viewed from an outside perspective based on frequent points of contact and conflict.
It's not ignorance per se, but it is a smaller aspect aspect of these events and cannot be viewed as sole evidence, but neither can it be discounted.

That said, I'm inclined to believe in the presence of female warriors based on the cumulative claims that have been made, some of which you linked.

As to the wider topic?
The only problem I can imagine with women using longswords is if the weapon isn't scaled to the wielder (I meant this as an art asset, but it occurred to me that it would probably make sense in real sword use to find a blade that fit the wielder), and if the animation doesn't sync up with the body type of the wielder.
In fairness, the latter point can be negated if the game in question follows an aesthetic that allows characters to display strength beyond that which their body type would imply.
 

Haerthan

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Lightknight said:
As with my other posts, this is a video game in which women can transform into fire breathing dragons. Who is really going to get held up on a woman using a sword that is pretty difficult to use for the average woman. What's more is if you really think about it, the men would die from exhaustion too from how many times they swing their blades in these games. It's all fantasy and as such entirely immune to failures to meet realities. Hell, in this universe maybe women are exactly as strong as men or even stronger? Maybe breasts in this universe are muscle instead of fat deposits.

Haerthan said:
Yes, those 2-handers that you showed in the picture were for hacking and slashing, but I wasnt talking about those. I am talking of one-handed swords. The type I was trained with, well I was trained to use 1 1/2, but the form was definitely onehanded. Strength had nothing to do with 1handed forms. Yea 2h sure, those things are more based on strength, but I am not talking about those.
Long swords are called such because of the length of the hilt being two handed, not because of the length of the blade but the two most always coincided as being longer than traditional one handed swords since the additional handle length meant more leverage. So if you were talking about one-handed swords then you weren't talking about long swords by any definition. Maybe some types of rapiers would make sense if you were trained in one nowadays. They have long blades but they're pretty thin (usually, again, rapier is an ambiguous term) with a single handed hilt.

But I'll point out that some rapiers were also intended for making quick agile cuts depending on the thickness of the blade and whether or not there was actually an edge on it. I'll admit that this is rarer but I've absolutely seen rapier slashing techniques in period accurate manuals and more than one client requested a rapier with a partially sharpened blade which I learned was common and some rapier masters preferred a two edged blade like a long dagger. People often thing of the thin foils when they're thinking of rapiers but in general they really had substantial blades even if the tip was somewhat weaker than the rest. Modern rapier training consists only of thrusts. Traditionally this was not the case. Regardless, the rapier is a post-middle ages weapon.

Lastly, yes armour was important, but weapons such as the estoc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc) or halberds were designed to puncture mail. They had no point.
Two things,

1. They absolutely had a point. They protected against a lot of stray blades or attacks from non-specialized weapons. Knowing that polearms could puncture armor doesn't do you a lick of good if the knights are plowing into the ranks of other knights or foot soldiers. Telling me that there are weapons that could puncture them and therefore they're unnecessary is as ridiculous as me telling a police officer that because armor piercing rounds and high caliber rounds exist that they might as well not wear bullet proof vests when the truth is that their vests will protect them from a lot of what they normally see.

2. What I'm saying is that long swords have a variety of uses including hacking and slashing that could also be used against the armor wearers at the right times. In all honesty, most blades can't really puncture armor unless it's really shitty stuff and are instead targeted towards the weak points. Like in the picture I showed where someone was using the pummel as a blunt instrument, the other opponent was puncturing the eye slots. Regardless, no one would want to go up against a person in plate armor without themselves wearing armor. While it could puncture the weak spots of the armor you not only needed a strong thrust in the right places but all the while the person has their own blade that just needs to land home and not a specialized attack. While I have made some traditional armor (an absolutely terrible idea, people won't pay you what it's worth and you can forge 30 blades in the time it takes you to make one suit) and know that it can vary pretty widely in weight according to thickness, I know that most females would have a difficult time lugging real plate-mail into battle for the same reason modern female soldiers have great difficulty carrying the same packs the men carry to the point of 52% compared to men who suffer it at 26%. [http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/] Considering that this is the most common sort of injury sustained in military theaters now, this is a big deal.

Now, why did I bring that up? A suit of armor can be around 100 lbs. A modern soldier's pack is 80 lbs or more. So women, by far, did not wear plate armor and so would not be the unit to go up against the plate armored unit. Honestly, they'd be better suited running away from armored knights to fight unarmored foes. Which, again, means hacking and slashing.

So yes "the longsword",(langes schwert) was used that way. But those were mainly horseback. Furthermore the development of plate armour also ensured that those types of swords would be adapted to have a better thrusting point and smaller cutting capability.
They weren't used mainly on horseback or at least we don't actually know the veracity of that claim. They were used in both scenarios. We have no way of knowing how frequently they were used in any scenarios but there were usually far better weapons to use from horse back.

Long swords evolved into the claymore. They didn't evolve into the rapier. I stated that earlier. Long swords also didn't (couldn't) puncture armor straight through the plate. They punctured at the junctions or in slots. In all honesty, most of the time it really was more useful to use the blade reverse as a blunt instrument which was more effective in most cases against the plate portion of the armor. This required the end being held to be strong enough to survive and a thinner tip harms that possibility. Likewise, a lot of knight on knight fights devolved into wrestling pretty quickly. To the point where fencing manuals frequently had more on wrestling techniques than the actual use of a blade. God only knows that if I were a female or small male that that's the type of fighting I'd want to do. Struggling in 100 lb armor with another man wearing the same weight but big enough to control it. Hell, just regular wrestling is brutally grueling to endurance. I simply can't imagine what that would have been like with armor.

Also yes the fact that if armour was present or not was an important factor. For a longsword, if armour was present, you would use the tip, meaning it was less a question of strength, but dexterity and an application of the principles behind levers. If armour wasn't present, the yea hack away.
You still do both. You want to hack at the joins from the sides to get to the flesh or to loose a strap or clasp holding them together. You only stab when there's a blatant weak spot like the face. Are you imagining people running around and stabbing a blade through the actual armor? You need something like a powerful longbow to really get at it like that. To be honest, fatigue was a far more powerful opponent to the knight in plate than a sword. Now, would a rapier (the best at stabbing in small places) be a better tool against a knight? You'd lose the ability to cleave at the junctions and potentially fail to cut through the cloth armor they wore underneath. I think you'd be better with a sword that can do all and the long sword is one of those.

Now if we focus on Japan, the onna-bugeisha used naginatas, in contrast with their male counterparts, who used the katana. But this was prior to the Edo period, when Neo-Confucianism heavily restricted women. They were trained in the use of naginata.
The naginata is brilliant because it's basically a sword with a lever attached to it. While the weight seems like a disadvantage, the long shaft actually gives the individual more leverage to swing the blade with. The length of the polearm was to counter some of the strength and weight advantages of male opponents.

You'll notice that their other two weapons were varieties of daggers.

So while there is some sexual dimorphism, clever application of training, willpower and normal physics can override said dimorphism.
No, at no point is the sexual dimorphism overridden. A man putting the same effort in that a woman puts in grows faster much more rapidly and loses weight far more rapidly. You've got to think of all men as steroid users where it comes to testosterone.

What I think you mean is that women can be a force to be reckoned with which I sure as hell agree with. At no point did I say that women were powerless or incapable. I only said that the use of this particular blade would be ill-suited for females in general. The same would be true for smaller men.

Are you thinking that something I'm saying is inherently sexist? That I'm trying to make a point of inferiority? I believe that society is turning a blind eye to the fact that we are different. I think that's a shame because differences actually mean specialization where as a male I am likely to be weaker in some areas that you are strong and vice versa. These differences should be celebrated. Not seen as some sort of politically incorrect thing to even acknowledge. Sorry if you thought you were debating with some sort of sexist asshole but you're barking up the wrong tree if so. I'm just stating the facts for what they are.

You will not get denser bones, you will not get a narrower pelvic angle to help with mobility and weight distribution. You will not get larger organs or have a larger frame with greater reach. Some women far better than others and some males fare worse than others on those things they were born with but by and large men will have the advantage in those areas by a fair margin and they cannot be overcome with exercise or diet. The only thing you have at your disposal is to have to work harder than a male to achieve the same amount of muscle they got from being born male or from working significantly less for. Think of this, I have absolutely massive forearms. Massive to the point that friends will demand I show them the "baby head" by flexing them. How do I have massive forearms? I don't know. My dad has them too so it's likely genetic but I don't work them out. For you to get muscles like that you'd have to work at it. It isn't because I'm better than you or any nonsense like that. It's because of biology.

Now, put a gun in your hand and any male is screwed. This disparity is essentially nullified by technology.

Only when we allow it to be entrenched in a culture it becomes an issue. Hence why we still need feminism. It is just a matter of using our brains.
Wait what? What does women being naturally physically weaker have to do with feminism? This is biology. I'm not saying that women aren't able to do anything. I'm saying that compared to men, women are far weaker as a product of biology. This has literally nothing to do with feminism.
Yes, you stated that, but the hacking and slashing was not the main way to use those weapons, due to the advancements of the armour.
Second I meant, halberds and estocs did have points, sorry about that. And no I am not imagining dudes running around stabbing knights in the chest, I always knew that the weak points were the joints, the neck area and the crotch area. Also you are putting too much faith in the longbow. The longbow actually didn't have enough power to penetrate plate armour. Crossbow yea, longbow no. Case in point: Battle of Agincourt, 1415. The English won because the French knights got stuck in the mud, and the English infantry and archers practically walked up to them and stabbed them in the face, or they drowned in the mud (rainy day that day).

Third no what you are saying is not sexist. I just believe that you are wrong in believing that women couldn't use swords, as rapiers (yes even the ones with an edge, and if I remember my history, the French Musketeers were equipped with muskets and rapiers), estocs and other types of longswords weren't meant for hacking and slashing. Could they be used for that? Yes. Now claymores, 2handers and other swords like that were mainly used for hacking and slashing. But these differences in biology were used in the Victorian era to completely strip women of the rights they had. So celebrating them is not that good of an idea based on the historical evidence we have.

Now the issue of the modern female soldiers suffering in military training due to their lower bone density and muscle mass can only be solved (short term that is) through genetics research. Long term, well it will take some time. There are other ways, but to be honest I don't have time to look them up. Lastly I never said that biology was sexist. I never said that. I said that if we allow to entrench backward ideas in our culture just because of biology, that is sexist. Yes biology has nothing to do with feminism, but culture (and politics) has everything to do with feminism.
 

zegram33

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See, this is interesting for me, because I can see a couple of reasons why this argument could possibly work, but they are almost perfectly the opposite of dragon age.

The only was I can see this argument holding water is if a)its a world where its established that females do NOT fight and thus will be less likely to have the training or muscle mass to fight, and b) all melee fighting is done in some form of roman shieldwall type thing, where the physical strength to keep hacking and slashing is important (see jim Butchers fantastic "codex alera" series for this exact world, basically, except with a realistically large number of characters annoyed about this)

Hoooowever: we know that in dragon age, most fighting is done in loose groups (in story: because otherwise a lone mage can toast huge numbers of idiots)

Also: we know that female fighters exist in dragon age, and are common. "Aveline" from DAII is literally named after "Ser Aveline" from the distant past, who was the first female knight and is now revered as something like the patron saint of female knights and soldiers.

The sheer existence of a patron saint of female soldiers means that its pretty common, meaning a lot of women will train up to the point that they're physiologically just as strong as any male soldier (women being "weaker" as a gender is more or less a societal thing which is obviously not present in Thedas).

and for Cassandra specifically: She's a member of the royal family (historically, even women in that situation received a decent amount of martial training) WHICH IS ALSO a family famous for being dragon-slayers.

so with all that stacking up (women accepted as equals to males, receiving both royal training and probably some dragon-slaying training, and no shieldwalls or large group action that would be most detrimental to someone of smaller stature or slightly lower strength: I'd almost say a small person is MORE dangerous in Thedas: Think how many demons and uch are huge, towering behemoths: its gonna be easier for a smaller person to slip under their guard than it would be for arnie)
 

Robert Rath

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SlumlordThanatos said:
Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.
Well, as long as you ignore that men are on average between 1/3 stronger to twice as strong(depending on the study) as females, their higher average V02Max, and much better carb-burning ability(women tend to shift to fat burning faster during strenuous activity which is much less efficient so they bonk faster) all of which means that men make much better fighters in reality(competition doesn't mean a damn thing as there is a VERY large difference in both mindset and training). But then, I always make the assumption that any character I play in a game is freakishly outstanding at what they do anyway, so the term average really never enters into it.


Haerthan said:
Also you are putting too much faith in the longbow. The longbow actually didn't have enough power to penetrate plate armour. Crossbow yea, longbow no. Case in point: Battle of Agincourt, 1415. The English won because the French knights got stuck in the mud, and the English infantry and archers practically walked up to them and stabbed them in the face, or they drowned in the mud (rainy day that day).
Given that the only surviving military longbows were shipboard weapons from over a century later we don't actually know whether the Agincourt time period longbows could penetrate standard French plate from the early 1400s. Saying hands down that longbows couldn't penetrate plate however is entirely incorrect. At various points in time armor could stop the bow and the bow could penetrate armor. It all depends on the exact period in question.
 

Kathinka

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ravenshrike said:
Haerthan said:
Also you are putting too much faith in the longbow. The longbow actually didn't have enough power to penetrate plate armour. Crossbow yea, longbow no. Case in point: Battle of Agincourt, 1415. The English won because the French knights got stuck in the mud, and the English infantry and archers practically walked up to them and stabbed them in the face, or they drowned in the mud (rainy day that day).
Given that the only surviving military longbows were shipboard weapons from over a century later we don't actually know whether the Agincourt time period longbows could penetrate standard French plate from the early 1400s. Saying hands down that longbows couldn't penetrate plate however is entirely incorrect. At various points in time armor could stop the bow and the bow could penetrate armor. It all depends on the exact period in question.
Just throwing this in here: Contemporary accounts of the battles of the hundred years war tell of longbow missiles being ineffective against knights in hardened steel plate armor (Which by this point in the late middle ages even knights of fairly modest means were able to afford). Modern experimentation show that it would have been fairly hopeless, even with silly strong bows (700 J and up) at ridiculously short distances (below 20 meters).
That doesn't mean it was a bad or ineffective weapon. It was still very useful against the general rabble that makes out the biggest part of a medieval army, mostly armored in some sort of mail or maybe wrought iron, as well as exposed parts of horses of course.

Right, just wanted to leave this here. Carry on.
 

Demagogue

Sperm Alien
Mar 26, 2009
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Twinmill5000 said:
Wait, people are saying what?
This, but additionally... and we are writing a three page piece about it why?

Congrats Interweb... you've just been trolled.
 

spartan231490

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Jan 14, 2010
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Wolyo said:
blackaesir said:
Without silicone or other breast "augmentation" going on, I am pretty sure most women would be just fine. The breastplate is just going to press them down (silicone would frustrate this). Its armor, not a pushup bra. Hell, for running and fighting, compression would be what any woman would want. So unless she had freakishly huge boobs, its not going to be a real issue.

Of course, now we are getting into the whole realistic armor vs. female fantasy armor problem. Your point is much more accurate for female fantasy armor... which would just get a woman killed rather than protect her.
I said well endowed women not every women, and compression doesn't make them smaller,
really? Have you never seen a woman in a sports bra? Have you ever seen a busty woman in two sports bras? Compression can make them quite a bit less pronounced. I'm fairly confident that a woman would need something in the range of H cups for a properly made armor to interfere with two-handed sword use.
the mass is still here and breast do not compress that much, they will be less prone to move but still they are denying you to use some technique with two hand. Because you can not compress them too much either, if you do you will restrict other movement.

It does not even need to be that big, a C cup can be enough especially if the female is not really tall. It's a concern for women in HEMA that's something you need to think of. And that's for unarmoured combat, a breast plate made to accomodate such physique would still stop you to use two handed technique, so better stick with a one handed sword.

Hell even male with over bloated pectoral muscle can not use two handed sword technique.

Not talking out of my arse here, but experience.
 

Ariseishirou

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Lightknight said:
Now, put a gun in your hand and any male is screwed. This disparity is essentially nullified by technology.
Oh, I don't know about that. I've run into many men who've argued that the invention of the gun hasn't changed anything, because men are better at using guns, too. Women shouldn't be in the army, because men can carry heavier backpacks/do more pullups/have faster reaction times/have a better "killer instinct"/could fight someone hand-to-hand if it came down to it.

I've known men to in all sincerity argue that even if a woman were armed with a gun and they not, they would win, because she would be scared and miss, they would react faster and rush her, etc. etc. There are men who absolutely refuse to accept that they could in any way be beaten by a woman at any fight under any circumstances, ever. (Not a hypothetical or a strawman - my own father and brothers argued that if they were the man at the end of Double Jeopardy - the film - and a woman was standing in their office with a handgun, they would just duck and dive and tackle her and grab the gun away before she could do anything.) We even had someone here on this board argue that all accounts of successful female snipers have been Soviet/Scandinavian/IDF propaganda, and that women make "naturally" terrible shots.

You might think these men are idiots - so do I, honestly - but there are scads of them out there, and we've all heard them before.

Which is why I don't blame people for being a bit skeptical when someone says "men are just better at X, because biology" because men have said that about everything in existence in the history of the universe at some point or another, it seems like, except possibly childbearing. (Certainly not child-rearing, there are whole websites dedicated to the "natural", "biological" superiority of fathers out there.) And if it were biologically possible for men to be better at child-bearing, I'm sure many of them would say they were naturally better at it.

I think it's fairly obvious that men have a natural advantage when it comes to sword-fighting, so as I've said I agree with you, but I also sympathize with people who'd argue the point, if not for any reason other than they've heard too much "men are naturally better at X" about literally everything to take such claims at face value right away. It might seem tedious in an obvious case like this, but skepticism is always healthy, I think.
 

Darkness665

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Nice read, thanks for that.

Dark Souls is my favorite pastime but great sword and ultra great sword movement sets are so unrealistic they border on hilarious. I rarely use them as they are horribly slow, a Balder side sword with some enhancement (+10 Divine) is a better option for much of the game. The physics of holding a 16 (arbitrary weight unit) sword over the shoulder and flinging it towards the enemy is so unrealistic that either you ignore it or you laugh. It is merely a video game and as such the balance of the game play is more important than reality. Which is as it should be.

My default character in any RPG is a female thief/archer. Never held me back yet, they always murder the Big Boss and everything else that gets in the way. Or drops souls.

For those that care, not many I realize, I switch to a halberd when the stats support it as the side sword is limited to ~400 damage at its maximum. The halberds provide good range and two handed attacks are devastating to human scale enemies. From a game play viewpoint the scimitars are beautiful weapons as you can easily get three slashes in before the opponent gets one. Many of my weapon choices are based on initiative, who hits first can set not only the tone of the fight but can offset any initial advantage the opponent has/had.

And for a Movie twist I recall that the book Timeline covered this very subject although I don't recall it being mentioned in the movie based on it.
 

Erttheking

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Reasonable Atheist said:
What a load of crap, nobody is saying women cant use swords. You made this up so you could dispute it. I am reminded of the "fake geek girl" controversy that nobody supported, the only reason anyone even knew about it was from people decrying it as evil. Same thing here, you should be ashamed.
*Looks around the comment section*

I think you're giving the internet a little too much credit. Plenty of people right here are saying a lot of stuff like that.
 

Reasonable Atheist

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erttheking said:
Reasonable Atheist said:
What a load of crap, nobody is saying women cant use swords. You made this up so you could dispute it. I am reminded of the "fake geek girl" controversy that nobody supported, the only reason anyone even knew about it was from people decrying it as evil. Same thing here, you should be ashamed.
*Looks around the comment section*

I think you're giving the internet a little too much credit. Plenty of people right here are saying a lot of stuff like that.
I see some people saying that they would have a more difficult time, and possible suffer in endurance with a sword. That much I can understand, there is a reason physical competitions are separated by gender.The longsword is a graceful weapon, however fighting is fighting. Can women fight? yes. Can some women fight better then some men? yes. Are we going to merge women and men's boxing into one league? Of course not that would be unfair.

I do not see anyone saying women flat out could not use swords.
 

Erttheking

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Reasonable Atheist said:
erttheking said:
Reasonable Atheist said:
What a load of crap, nobody is saying women cant use swords. You made this up so you could dispute it. I am reminded of the "fake geek girl" controversy that nobody supported, the only reason anyone even knew about it was from people decrying it as evil. Same thing here, you should be ashamed.
*Looks around the comment section*

I think you're giving the internet a little too much credit. Plenty of people right here are saying a lot of stuff like that.
I see some people saying that they would have a more difficult time, and possible suffer in endurance with a sword. That much I can understand, there is a reason physical competitions are separated by gender.The longsword is a graceful weapon, however fighting is fighting. Can women fight? yes. Can some women fight better then some men? yes. Are we going to merge women and men's boxing into one league? Of course not that would be unfair.

I do not see anyone saying women flat out could not use swords.
Well I don't think the argument wasn't that woman couldn't use swords. It's that they couldn't use long swords and should use short swords. That's what the article was disagreeing with. And not to mention I've seen plenty of people who have experience with swords saying that longswords aren't that heavy and really endurance wouldn't be too much of a problem, so it seems like the people who are saying it would be are not exactly on the ball.

Besides, as bad as the Escapist can get at times, it's honestly one of the most tame websites I've seen. If it's this heated here, it must be even worse elsewhere.
 

Reasonable Atheist

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erttheking said:
Reasonable Atheist said:
erttheking said:
Reasonable Atheist said:
What a load of crap, nobody is saying women cant use swords. You made this up so you could dispute it. I am reminded of the "fake geek girl" controversy that nobody supported, the only reason anyone even knew about it was from people decrying it as evil. Same thing here, you should be ashamed.
*Looks around the comment section*

I think you're giving the internet a little too much credit. Plenty of people right here are saying a lot of stuff like that.
I see some people saying that they would have a more difficult time, and possible suffer in endurance with a sword. That much I can understand, there is a reason physical competitions are separated by gender.The longsword is a graceful weapon, however fighting is fighting. Can women fight? yes. Can some women fight better then some men? yes. Are we going to merge women and men's boxing into one league? Of course not that would be unfair.

I do not see anyone saying women flat out could not use swords.
Well I don't think the argument wasn't that woman couldn't use swords. It's that they couldn't use long swords and should use short swords. That's what the article was disagreeing with. And not to mention I've seen plenty of people who have experience with swords saying that longswords aren't that heavy and really endurance wouldn't be too much of a problem, so it seems like the people who are saying it would be are not exactly on the ball.

Besides, as bad as the Escapist can get at times, it's honestly one of the most tame websites I've seen. If it's this heated here, it must be even worse elsewhere.
I dont even, endurance is always a problem in any kind of fighting, any kind. Adding another 3 or so pounds to your weapon is not a non-issue. I will go back to boxing again, add a few pounds to the gloves and see if it makes a difference.

Also to be considered, is most accounts I have heard say it is a lot more about how many blows you can deflect or withstand, rather then how much you can dish out.

nerd out begins now

*nasal breath* when luke defeated dearth vader he was not even trying to hit him, just wear him down into submission with his superior endurance and youth, and that is using a weapon that arguably weighs nothing *nasal breath*

nerd out concluded.