Oh, and that man? Buried with an axe.
September 18, 2018 6:50 PM   Subscribe

"I know that sounds absurd, like PC culture gone amuck. Men are, on average — and I don’t mean to disparage the capability of individual men here — less competent on the battlefield. Their higher center of gravity makes them less stable. Their voices are too guttural and low to carry well across the din of battle. Testosterone makes them prone to irrational behavior and leaves them poor candidates not just for leadership roles but even subordinate roles. Their larger body mass makes them easier targets for missile weapons and less capable of the sorts of guerrilla tactics that vikings favored on their raids. To say nothing of how men are socialized to constantly bicker with other men."
- Some Viking Warriors Were Probably Men
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane (20 comments total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
 
They make some good points. Also, men are heavier in general which means more food and water is needed to support them and they will take up more available cartage when transporting wounded mens.
posted by some loser at 7:07 PM on September 18 [15 favorites]


More of this revisionist history? This is the problem with having so many men in academia. It has to end, or we're going to keep getting these absurd takes.

Plus, they're distracting, how are real historians supposed to get anything done if they have to constantly deal with men and their 'issues' the workplace.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:08 PM on September 18 [37 favorites]


IIRC, a Nazgûl learned this lesson the hard way.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:27 PM on September 18 [15 favorites]


This author has some good stuff. Thank you for the link.
posted by Hicksu at 7:52 PM on September 18


It's still going on. I really hate how they've been relaxing the height requirements for fighter pilots so men have more opportunities to fly. We could design better planes if we limited the space for pilots to about five and a half feet, but we'll accommodate anyone up to 6'5". Apparently the air force likes social engineering more than combat readiness.
posted by mark k at 7:54 PM on September 18 [67 favorites]


We could design better planes if we limited the space for pilots to about five and a half feet

Also good for when aliens attack and we need teenagers to save the world.
posted by curious nu at 7:55 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Ridiculous. This is exactly the kind of revisionism I've met so many times whenever men tried to convince me that Vicke Viking, too, was a boy...
posted by bigendian at 7:57 PM on September 18


Still, though, we can’t write Thor off completely.

Well thank goodness for that! Pfft.

The TV show Vikings, one of my all time favorite shows, is plagued by historical inaccuracy.

Oh gee, really? There's a shitload of historical inaccuracies in Vikings, which is one of the reasons that I don't watch it. I'm sorry, Floki fanpersons.

Nordic cultures were pretty great when it came to gender equality. I can easily see this translate to war/battle. Use what works best.... women? Why not!
posted by elsietheeel at 8:17 PM on September 18


I’ll keep watching Vikings and cheer on Queen Lagertha’s husband Ragnar for having the ovaries to stand shield-to-shield beside his wife.

It goes to show just how ingrained sexism is that I literally had trouble parsing this sentence. I kept flipping back and forth in my head who was the subject. “No, she has ovaries. No he’s the warrior. Wait. Who is standing by whom?”

Or possibly I need sleep.

Maybe a bit of both.
posted by greermahoney at 8:30 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


A TV show that’s not historically accurate? Horrors. I think this was written by someone with no actual battlefield experience, in this century or any other.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:33 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Also, men are heavier in general which means more food and water is needed to support them

The difference in calorie consumption is a lot bigger than weight differences can explain. From a Mars mission simulation experiment: "During one week, the most metabolically active male burned an average of 3,450 calories per day, while the least metabolically active female expended 1,475 calories per day. It was rare for a woman on crew to burn 2,000 calories in a day and common for male crew members to exceed 3,000." This is why we shouldn't have male astronauts, not joking.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:07 PM on September 18 [43 favorites]


Men couldn't be Viking raiders. They have external genitalia which leaves them too vulnerable. Also it is known that in Viking culture, children were property of their fathers. It would risk the future of each clan to send fathers into danger.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 PM on September 18 [22 favorites]


I may have read that article wrong but it seems like the author is stating that they were comparing a 4'11" 95 pound woman to a 6'3" 215lb man, in which case, i think size (and specifically net muscle mass) does adequately explain those caloric differences, with the "metabolic rate" of each (lowest woman to highest man) picking up any remaining "unexplained" slack calories.

Which is a shame because I liked the idea of there being a mysterious reason behind this discrepancy that we could speculate wildly about.. like if its not their body size what else could it be? testicle size? brain oxygen usage? but now we'll never get to do that because I had to ruin it with reading the article. sigh.
posted by some loser at 9:27 PM on September 18 [6 favorites]


I know you're going to tell me that ancient excavations have found male warrior figures. But really, I suppose this is the crux of the matter for me. Are we sure those weren't just isolated civilizations? One or two among millions? We were taught in school about women making men fight for entertainment -- I think a lot of your readers will still have that in mind when you have those scenes where men are soldiers in India or Arabia. Or those feisty men trying to provoke a war! Or gangs of men locking up women for sex... some of us have had fantasies like that! (Can I confess, shall I confess, that while thinking about this I... no, no, I can't confess it.) It's not just me, though, my dear. A whole battalion of men in army fatigues or police uniforms really does make most people think of some kind of sexual fetish, I'm afraid!

...Surely it makes more sense that it was women who provoked the war. I feel instinctively -- and I hope you do, too -- that a world run by men would be more kind, more gentle, more loving and naturally nurturing. Have you thought about the evolutionary psychology of it? Men have evolved to be strong worker homestead-keepers, while women -- with babies to protect from harm -- have had to become aggressive and violent. The few partial patriarchies that have ever existed in human society have been very peaceful places.

-- Naomi Alderman, The Power
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 9:37 PM on September 18 [25 favorites]


Agreed. Perfect time to reference The Power.

This piece reminds me a lot of reading Egalia's Daughters back in university. It's sort of like reading the FPP article, except with that same tone applied to every aspect of society. I remember finding it enlightening but whenever I tried to get any female friends to read it they found it a bit too on the nose. I'm not sure how well it's aged of if it's well received generally.
posted by Telf at 10:00 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Yes, Telf! I was talking with my teenage daughter just the other day about reading Egalia's Daughters back in secondary school (in the original Norwegian, natch) and couldn't for the life of me remember the title. Thanks for the reminder!

I found it illuminating as well, being a late-teen boy. I share your misgivings generally, though.
posted by Harald74 at 12:50 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


The TV show Vikings, one of my all time favorite shows, is plagued by historical inaccuracy.

You need to watch the much more accurate Norwegian series Norsemen. It has issues too, but fewer than Vikings. And it's true to another highly important part of Norsk culture, namely humor. After all, everyone knows that men have no sense of humor, it's why women have to clean up their messes when someone gets all testerical about a joke they didn't understand.
posted by fraula at 1:42 AM on September 19 [30 favorites]


This piece reminds me a lot of reading Egalia's Daughters back in university. It's sort of like reading the FPP article, except with that same tone applied to every aspect of society. I remember finding it enlightening but whenever I tried to get any female friends to read it they found it a bit too on the nose.

A friend has been recommending it for a while, and I think the time has come. There was a time when "too on the nose" might have been a turn-off for me too, but right now, I feel that I've wasted years of my life looking for a nuance that often just isn't there. Things can't be expressed starkly enough for me as it stands.
posted by sohalt at 1:51 AM on September 19


Testerical!!!!

Omg.

Will start using IMMEDIATELY
posted by sio42 at 5:21 AM on September 19 [26 favorites]


greermahoney, I expect you've figured this out, but in case it's still blurry: The author is inverting the annoyingly common practice of equating "balls" with "courage", even when speaking of women.
posted by Weftage at 8:19 AM on September 19


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