Female archers?

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Bittersweet
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Postby Bittersweet » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:22 pm

Re Workmonkey's comments: remembering that there are exceptions to every rule or generalisation :)


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:04 am

I was always told to kill any woman with a gun first because a woman with a gun was considered more likely to use it without thinking about it.
The thinking behind this (done by others not by me) was that any woman pointing a gun at a child for instance had already removed that streak of conscience that would consider the act of killing a defenceless person, it being in their "nature" to preserve/nuture life.
I met some women in the Israeli army that I truely believe would kill at the drop of a hat, in fact they were itching for just such a chance to "prove" who tough they were.
As a psychatric nurse I frequently came into contact with women who were abusers, violent and dangerous.
I myself think a woman is as likely to kill as a man given the circumstances but killing is a lot harder to do than you might expect.


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Postby behanner » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:22 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I was always told to kill any woman with a gun first because a woman with a gun was considered more likely to use it without thinking about it.


This is somewhat consistent with a study done on the use of handguns in response to people breaking into homes here in the US. Basically the study found that men fired something like 2-3 rounds when the perpetrator was obviously there to do them harm. Whereas women tended to wait until the last minute and unload the entire clip worth of ammo especially if defending children was involved. I believe that the average number of rounds shot by women was higher then the typical number of bullets in a clip for a handgun showing quite clearly that they were basically firing until there was nothing left.



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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:25 pm

Bittersweet wrote:Re Workmonkey's comments: remembering that there are exceptions to every rule or generalisation :)


Of course there are, I wasn't trying to sound like a chauvenist, I know women who would happily beat the shite out of me. But putting them in a military context is alot different. It's hard enough to condition men to do it, and we are generally the less emotionally aware of the sexes. I happily play pretend battles, but would I want to actually go and do it for real? Starving, exhausted and soiling myself from dysentry, Would I hell.


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Postby Bittersweet » Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:48 pm

No accusation of sexism, I think it's a debate that needs to be realistic. It's quite likely that a 'normal' woman would put off killing to a last resort and then unleash hellfire and damnation beyond reason. Society teaches (well, most of the time) that it's 'wrong' to kill and that the act of killing will traumatise you. Maybe a lot more women believe it than men?

Again though, I don't really believe that anyone (male or female of any age, race or persuasion) really knows what they would do in any given situation where they may have to fight/kill for real until they are in it.
Some may think they know, and they may be right, but others may not really have a clue.


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Postby Tod » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:09 pm

So the bottom line is that women archers are wrong and shouldn't be on the field. So why do event organisors allow it to happen?



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:24 pm

More to the point why do groups allow it. This should be a self policing thing to a certain extent.
My guess is they don't know how wrong it is.
They have been fed a load of historical B***cks by re-enactors justifying female archers because Joan of Orleans was a woman and therefore medieval battlefields were full of Amazonians.
They know but don't care as long as it adds to the overall effect of the show.
Why do groups allow it? Laziness would be high in my reckoning combined with a desire to field at least some archery force whatever the consequence.


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Postby Bittersweet » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:16 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:.........
Why do groups allow it? Laziness would be high in my reckoning combined with a desire to field at least some archery force whatever the consequence.


Not laziness, I don't think, inclusiveness (is that a proper word, maybe inclusivity?):
There's the fact that some women who like 're-enactment' as a hobby don't want to do 'crafts' and/or washing up as this is what they often do all the time at home. It goes along with the same debate on just how authentic a group wants to be...should the men at arms all be billeted in local towns (as opposed to sleeping in a ditch) or in a nice cosy grand pavillion? Should we all be digging latrine trenches instead of using portaloos? Should we all be using fire pits instead of fire tray?

Having said that, I do think it looks better if all archers (whatever their true gender) are in male garb on the field.


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:49 am

I am all for inclusiveness-I would not stop anyone from taking part except for reasons of H&S. My daughter is an archer, and a gunners mate before that. Fleur from the Woodvilles is also both an excellent archer and handy with a bill.
But in both of these cases the ladies in question change into male attire and try to look like men for the duration of the fight.
This thread was about the validity of women archers, archers clearly in female attire and there is no reason for this to happen.
That is laziness.


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Postby Simon_Diment » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:35 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I am all for inclusiveness-I would not stop anyone from taking part except for reasons of H&S. My daughter is an archer, and a gunners mate before that. Fleur from the Woodvilles is also both an excellent archer and handy with a bill.
But in both of these cases the ladies in question change into male attire and try to look like men for the duration of the fight.
This thread was about the validity of women archers, archers clearly in female attire and there is no reason for this to happen.
That is laziness.


I'm not a C15th bod, but having MOP'd at Tewks several times to shop and socialise to me it looks crap with the amount of beskirted archers - I agree with you it seems to be laziness or avoidance of conflict to enforce a male only kit rule.


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Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:11 pm

KIBS requires all our combatants to dress in men's kit when on the field. We just feel that it looks better that way. We don't stop women fighting or taking part in archery (we have more women archers than men), but do require that they look the part and help them acheive that.

I suspect that many groups don't enforce it as it's too much hassle. If you've let women fight in dresses in the past, you need to stop that dead (which is going to have significant resistance) and then help people convert. You could be looking at loosing several members over a change like this. It depends on how many woman fighters/archers you have.


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Postby Trading-Dragon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:48 am

Bittersweet wrote:Not laziness, I don't think, inclusiveness (is that a proper word, maybe inclusivity?):


It is a proper word now that you've made it up. :D I rather like it myself!

Anyhow:
Groups with a decent level of historical authenticity are an absolute rarity and a good portion of what the public gets to see at any given historical event can only be classified as a wandering exhibition of pantomime soldiers.
I am looking at people who will happily wear a whisby-style coat of plates with german gothic arms and legs. I am looking at foot soldiers living in grand pavilions. I am looking at people cooking with potatos, people with modern hairstyles, modern facial hair, tattoos and piercings, people who use viking swords in a WotR setting...the list of anachronisms goes on and on.
And although some grumble about it, that hardly compares to the infuriation caused by a woman portraying a woman in the battlefield.

There seems to be something in the male psyche that can happily overlook the most blatant historical faux pas but then shrivels up and dies when it sees a skirt.
*sighs*

I must confess that I myself am very happy to throw absolute accuracy out of the window as long as the audience enjoys the show. Then again I grew up with the old 'Fighting Knight Show' tradition they have in the eastern parts of the continent. There anything goes as long as it looks plausible and entertains.
Of course, these days we also educate, as well as entertain.

Perhaps the answer is to be open and honest about our many shortcomings. So we tell the people that many centuries ago, women would have been confined to the house and that in our modern times women enjoy the unusual freedom to celebrate out history by taking on a man's role...
...and let's face it: unless you actually told any given MoP that there are no women fighters on the field, they would not even notice. There is a profound lack of historical education in general and I am sorry to say that our noble efforts to strive for a decent historical performance are utterly wasted.
Nobody has ever been educated just by observing because they wouldn't even know what it is they are seeing unless we told them.

What I would therefore really like to see, what I would absolutely love to see would be a girl, with bow and arrow or even with armour and helmet walking off towards the audience after the big scrap and declaring loud and clear: "Ladies and Gentlemen...600 years ago I would not have been here...!"

Nothing educates so much and illustrates the difference between then and now so excellently as owning up to the general public that you have been cheating them all along. It creates a really lasting impression!

On a rather similar note: does anyone remember the Warwick Warriors? I quote: "I have a confession to make - I am NOT a medieval knight, I am a 51(?) year old diabetic and HE is a welsh guy working in a Carphone Warehouse..."

Brilliant!
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