Mailvox: the shortest genre

Phony is convinced he has evidence lending support to the myth of the Woman Warrior:

“The amusing thing is that throughout the comments, no one even stops to realize that the entire premise of women attempting to fight with swords is physically ridiculous. “

Nusaybah bint Ka’ab.


Very well, let’s examine the military career of this famous female warrior, which is recounted on Wikipedia:

“Initially, Nusaybah was attending the Battle of Uhud like other women, and her intention was to bring water to the soldiers, while her husband and two sons fought. But after the Muslim archers disobeyed their orders and began deserting their high ground believing victory was at hand, the tide of the battle changed, and it appeared that defeat was imminent. When this occurred, Nusaybah entered the battle, carrying a sword and shield.

“She shielded Muhammad from the arrows of the enemy, and received several wounds while fighting.

“When a horse-mounted Quraish attacked her, she pulled on the horse’s bridle and plunged her sword into its neck, toppling the horse on top of its rider. Witnessing this, Muhammad then yelled for Abdullah to help his mother and the pair dispatched the struggling rider. The pair then circled around Muhammad, throwing stones at the advancing Quraish troops, until Muhammad noticed Nusaybah’s wounds and ordered her son to bandage them, and praised their heroism. Abdullah was wounded himself, as a Quraish cut across his left arm, and Nusaybah treated him and told him not to lose courage. Picking her sword back up, she was complimented by Muhammad on her own courage and he pointed out the man who had wounded her son. Advancing to him, she cut his leg off with a blow of her sword, and he fell to the ground where he was killed by other fighters.

“Nusaybah’s twelfth wound, cut across her shoulder by a Quraish named Ibn Qumiah, left her unconscious on the battlefield. When she awoke after the battle, her first inquiry was whether Muhammad had survived.”

So, this most exemplary of all women warriors managed to unhorse one rider and cripple one man in a tribal skirmish while trying to defend her family in a desperate situation.  If we are to take Nusaybah as sufficient justification for the plethora of female Conans that presently litter bad fantasy, we should also believe that it is perfectly realistic to have your average suburban mother throwing around Chevrolets.  This is akin to asserting that because a middle-aged woman shot a home intruder once, it’s perfectly realistic to write about female SEALs.

And note that this fearsome woman warrior took no less than twelve wounds, very nearly got herself killed, and never took arms again.  Courageous? Indubitably. A warrior? No. Not in the slightest. If this is the historical basis for women warriors, the genre is going to consist of a series of very slim volumes indeed.

Has Phony ever hit a woman?  Has he ever seen a woman’s head snap back, seen her knees buckle, and stood over her as she lays crumpled on the floor?  Has he ever bloodied a woman’s nose or blackened a woman’s eyes?  Has he ever toyed with a woman desperately trying to lay a hand on him before stepping forward and flattening her with a single jab?

I have. It wasn’t even amusing because it was so easy.  I had a harder time fighting a well-trained eleven year old boy.  I wasn’t even throwing any combinations or throwing my strikes at more than half-force, and that was still enough to lay them out. If you are a man who hasn’t ever hit a woman in the face, or if you are a woman who hasn’t ever been beaten up by a man, your opinion on the subject is guaranteed to be irrelevant. The cumulative difference in speed, strength, and mass simply has to be experienced to be believed.

I sincerely encourage anyone who wishes to write about women warriors to visit a full-contact dojo and ask to spar a few rounds with the opposite sex.  They will accommodate you and it will be an eye-opening experience.