A Wholly Separate Reality

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This morning I was reading a book first published in the 40s (I think) and reprinted (among other editions in 95 and I was very surprised to read the intro on that.  The I guess published and probably fairly well known author (well, I’m not aware of having ever read him) writing it talks about the author’s (of the book) great female character, and how she’s not like the women at the time who had three options “scream, be rescued, throw up.”

Now I’m acquainted with this version of reality from our present bubble heads. Yesterday someone was lecturing a bunch of us on how “fandom has changed” apparently in the strange belief that sf/f fandom was EVER not a gathering of oddballs and strange people, which yes, included strange females and strange people from other races. Pfui. The only way it’s changed is that we have more NORMAL college professors.  Which is why they’re so tedious.

I just wasn’t aware these illusions about women — characters or real life, the way the sentence was written was hard to tell — went back that far IN PRINT.

I remember in the eighties being very puzzled at my well educated, mostly female friends in the US imagining a lot of things about women which I knew not to be so.  Like the one who said that women had become hysteric because they “couldn’t hunt or do male stuff” in the renaissance.  Which forced me to explain practically every middle ages woman hunted.  Unless they were a little odd.  The noblewomen joined the hunt, and poorer women would probably set snares, as well as killing the livestock.

I know I was surprised when I started posting DST in a private group and people were so excited that “she’s not waiting to be rescued.”

I was glad they liked the book, but dear lord, when have women characters waited to be rescued, outside some very tedious books, or books where they’re not the main characters?  (Non-main characters always have less action. It’s part of writing.)

I mean, Heinlein female characters had more options than those.  A lot of them were rather able with gun, knife and hands.  Heck, Agatha Christie’s characters had more options than that.  Dear Lord, as our Mary Catelli is fond of reminding us, female fairytale characters had more agency than these people are crediting female characters in the 20h century with having.

Sure, if all you know is the Disney version of fairy tales, it might seem like the main female character gets rescued a lot, but even then they usually follow the hero’s journey and have a hand in their own troubles.

So why are moderns and let’s face it mostly leftists so infatuated of the idea that female characters (and possibly women) had no agency whatsoever before the late 20th and early 21st century?

I don’t know.  But I can’ hazard guesses.

The first is that they want to be seen as rescuers.  If women were treated as empty-headed dolls and perhaps WERE empty headed dolls before the left “liberated” them, then women do naturally belong in the preserve of the left. Also, what the left made it can unmake, and women like me who don’t sing in the choir are ungrateful AND at risk of being enslaved again.  (How many times have we heard that, complete with accusations of “gender traitor” as though vaginas were something you had to swear allegiance to?)  This is a naked attempt at getting power over half the population and demanding right to our gratitude. More the fools those who believe them.

The second is that they’re genuinely ignorant. Having been taught a Marxist version of history they don’t understand power or ability or agency as anything but a collective endeavor that needs to be affirmed int he history books, with holidays, proclaimed from the roof tops, etc.

It never occurred to them that women aren’t mentioned much in the history books except as someone’s wife or mother (unless they’re queens, but they tend to blank those out) because being a wife and mother was genuinely back breaking work in the past.  That managing to get your children to adulthood alive was a miracle. That it took both halves of the marriage for one half (the one not always pregnant) to achieve something in the public sphere.  Instead, like true sexists, they see only male achievements.  As such, they discount everything women did do, and instead invent reasons why women were “suppressed” by men, or their achievements lied about.

In fact, the only people lying about female achievements, from the middle-ages nuns to the early twentieth century female writers are… the left.  Their minds are so distorted that they can’t understand the feats of quiet (and not so quiet) strength it took to be a woman before the pill effected some liberation from wretched biology and before the free market and invention liberated women from the drudgery of household work.

The third is also ignorance, but more profound than simply “of history.”  It’s an ignorance of humanity, how strong both halves of humanity were required to be in centuries past, how much they had to fight and suffer for us, the few, the pampered few to be here… and completely ignorant of how hard life can actually be.

The week I put DST up, I had been reading (coincidentally. I tended to get my books from library sales before KULL and many of those were history books and biographies) the biographies of several women in the War of The Roses and — again, luck of the draw — the biography of Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith (note that I didn’t have any particular interest in Mormonism — and don’t really — but was interested in the biography.)

Those women, while their husbands achieved “well known thing” were busy as heck, and probably worked and suffered more than they did, not less for being very private. They were pregnant, or raising kids or worse, burying kids all alone and struggling to manage estates or farms on their own so their husband could do “well known thing.”

They weren’t waiting to be rescued. They certainly weren’t waiting to be pampered princesses. Not even those who were genuinely princesses.  “Faint, throw up and be rescued” might have been the options of Victorian wealthy maidens. I doubt it was what they actually DID, though they might have played to the image. (Read Agatha Christie’s biography sometime.)

But that was a very small slice both in time and social standing. They are not and will never be the norm for women.

And sure, most past books didn’t have 100 lbs women beating 300 lbs men.  That’s because that is… what’s that word? Oh, yeah, impossible.  Unless you have an explanation of some sort, and no, training is not enough.  Magic, or bio enhancement or something MIGHT be. Depends on how you handle it.

But going around beating up people is not the only form of agency. It’s not even the best one.  It’s the agency of a type of man, not even all of them. I’ll note that in the Musketeer books (Dumas, not mine) the Cardinal is not powerless, or fainting or throwing up just because he’s not out on the street, fighting.  He has thugs for that.  And Milady, likewise, is not a fainting flower, even though the book was written before the 20th century.  Even Constance Bonacieux has agency.  Yes, in the end she trusts the wrong woman and gets poisoned while they’re trying to rescue her.  But that’s agency too. She makes the decision.  She didn’t need to fight in the streets.  The men did that for her. It’s obvious her husband, even, is her pawn.

So, dear crazy people who think that women “only had three options” all of them passive before the late-twentieth to early twenty first century: I don’t know what color the sky is in your world, but in ours it’s blue and occasionally grey, and if it’s green you probably should run.  If in yours it’s made of green cheese? The problems you face have nothing to do with us.

You are ignoring the rich panoply of human experience. You’re belittling the abilities and experiences of real women in the past.  And it’s entirely possible you’re too pampered and rich to understand much of anything.

Check your privilege.  You’re probably high on it.

Whenever you’re ready to join the real world with real people, we’ll be here.

 

 

 

136 responses to “A Wholly Separate Reality

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Fourth, They are idiots who can’t be taught the facts. 😦

  2. (note that I didn’t have any particular interest in Mormonism — and don’t really[…])

    That’s why you make a terrible Mormon male, great rack or otherwise. 😉

    More seriously, it’s actually kind of depressing how regularly the left (hard- or otherwise) seem to go out of their way to prove Reagan’s quip about them knowing so many things that aren’t so. (Though I question the “not ignorant” part at the beginning of the full quote. 😛 )

  3. I like using ERB Tarzan and Mars stories for examples of damsels in distress. Both Jane and Dejah Thoris need rescuing quite frequently; however, both of them are constantly scheming and working to extricate themselves from their predicaments and not waiting to be rescued, even though both are certain their heroes are on their way to rescue them anyway (except in the couple of instances where they mistakenly thought they were dead.)

    • And both are more interesting women than the one dimensional men with tits who are advertised as their improved replacement. DT was fun and smart and had her own goals which she pursued quite sharply.

      I mean, I like them tall, built, and athletic, and when the “strong woman” characters are so bad fans of amazons are like, “uhm, no thanks,” you’re doing it wrong.

      • Oh, I don’t mind them short, petite, and athletic; much like Marion Harmon’s Astra.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Well… since we’re also talking women taking on men, Hope (pre-Astra) was told that she should get a gun for self-defense.

          Her “martial arts” training mainly involved “breaking contact with an attacker” so she could run like heck or use a gun.

          On the other hand, Astra now can take on about 90% of potential attackers. 😀

          • TheOtherSean

            More like 99.99% if you include all the potential miscreants who might try something against her when she’s being just plain old Hope. That’d make for a pretty bad day for a mugger… or a gang. But breakthroughs are special category, just like superheroes, magicians, and those with psychic powers, not the general case we face in reality or in hard SF.

          • Well, that is the self-defense advise I give everyone, including myself.

            I may enjoy violence more and do controlled forms of it for recreation, but I have no illusion that I am ready to go toe to toe with someone who uses violence for a living (including a large fraction of the mugger community, although most of them use weapons or bravado). Even in the cases I do, a smart risk/reward calculation says avoid violence.

            That is one of my real concerns. I’m 246, enjoy controlled violence, have some training in it (the tiny bit from the Navy and one rank belt in Tang So Do…still a gup, nowhere close to dan), and have a well above average ability to process pain (if a bit rusty) and yet I know to avoid violent confrontation.

            We are teaching women half my weight, not nearly as physical in terms of getting hurt and learning to process it, and with no more training in unarmed combat than I have (often less) that they can beat any man.

            That is going to get someone killed.

        • Yeah, but I prefer them not stuck in that pixie cute stage usually. There is a woman at our trivia bar who has a bit of that, but Astra is still a bit much.

    • Tarzan’s Quest. As I recall (many years since I actually read it..) Jane has become quite jungle-wise in her own right and is a highly effective leader for the plane-crash survivors, obstructed by the usual ineffective nincompoops and villains of the piece (not always clearly distinguishable, in his stories). Damsel in distress waiting for rescue my foot!

    • The females in the Solomon Kane stories are rescued, BUT they have managed to keep their virtue and culture (and heads) intact, sometimes for a decade or more in a hostile environment. And other women have agency, but not major roles. But that’s about the only ones from a major author I can think of from that time.

    • Upvoted. Jane Clayton (nee Porter)’s character progression from: “scream and faint” in book one, to “faint” in book two, to “needs help to escape but then takes over matters” in book three–to “survives in the jungle and makes her own fire and flint tools” by book nineish, is one of my favorite aspects of the series and yet it’s so often ignored.

      • The kind of men ERB wrote about, and who bought magazines with his stories, couldn’t afford the wife of an Edwardian gentleman, who “didn’t do anything” (except, you know, manage a large staff including budget, hiring, training, organizing, and evaluating). They had to have wives who could do all the parts of running a household directly.

        As Jane goes from Edwardian gentlelady to queen of the jungle she has to learn the skills of the middle class wife who were reading the stories or married to the men who were.

      • Burroughs’ books are all underrated IMNSHO. There is quite a bit of social commentary and understanding of human nature, sly satire (and sometimes not so bashful), and respect for principles and moral values that have dropped out of the books favored by the SJWs and Company.

  4. I was just thinking about my great-great grandmother, Clara Gamble Haring. Born on the outskirts of London about 1854, her family emigrated to the US when she was ten years old. They ended up in Coos Bay, Oregon, at that time still a frontier town on the coast, and she married Amos Haring, a seaman. They homesteaded some land farther north along the Oregon Coast — she was the first white woman in the valley where their homestead was, though there were a couple of bachelors already starting farms there. Amos, in order to get necessary cash, would go back out to sea for months at a time, leaving Clara and the children alone on the homestead to do all of the work while he was gone. She raised nine children, gardened, cared for livestock, protected them and their livestock, made their clothing, and much more. My great-grandmother, my grandmothers, my mother, all were equally strong women. I think the ‘weak women’ mythos is purely a construct of wealthy urban women who have never had any real work to do.

    • And of kids who were raised as the Scheduled Generation, where every moment is laid out in advance and they’re taught they have zero agency, because mommy will decide, and mommy will fix. So they assume that’s so for everyone, and their =fantasy= is … agency.

      And the rest of us wonder why they can’t recognise competence when they see it…

    • Tom Russell’s tribute to the women of the old west: Hallie Lonigan

    • Indeed – and I have written about a number of Texas women, both historical and fictional – who were essentially partners in whatever business their husband owned, or in some cases, managed businesses of their own. Life for women before (say) 1960) was not for helpless, hysterical-prone sissies. These women had serious work to do – to include raising children, keeping the home farm/ranch running, keeping the books for whatever business hubby had, to doing a lot of work involved in that business when hubby was absent.

      • One of the more feminist sff authors of the 60s/70s (I think it was MZB) wrote about this in an author’s note. She contended women who led the way into fields often had little use for most feminist victim mentality (and this in the 80s) because they had done the hard work, measured up, knew their worth, and weren’t about to lend their hard earned prestige to wilting violets.

        That has always stuck with me in a “the more she proclaims she’s a feminist the less she actually lives the feminist ideal”.

        See the fact that Hillary Clinton, who got everything because of who she married (her Senate seat was essentially a payoff for not deserting Bill in 1998), is a feminist hero while Sarah Palin (who got to a governor’s mansion on her own) is a feminist villain.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          That’s not fair to Hillary.

          She needed someone with charm. Bill needed someone who could scare the crud out of people. They married because they needed each other.

          Their lasting political influence is because they hollowed out the Democratic Party during his presidency. Part of the hollowing out was making her a cultic figure among the feminists. You are very right that part of the issue is that real personal success does not translate into being the feminist fetish of collective success. But Hillary was able to tap into that, because she said the right things, and probably because she has the screws loose to really think that her own personal success translates to being the success of all women.

  5. I am put in mind of the bible mistranslation Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. A mistake in that scholars now feel that the term translated to witch in english actually should have been poisoner.
    Before small effective handguns a woman’s only equalizers were a blade or poison. Sure, a female could shoot a bow, but not the powerful 100 plus pound war bows of pre gunpowder days. Certainly not repeatedly, simply did not have the upper body strength.
    But you compensate for weakness by relying on strength. And when you lack physical strength you develop other skills in response.
    Until recently when apparently the ultimate virtue resides in victimhood.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nit, the Hebrew word translated as “witch” has more to do with “caster of malicious spells” than poisoner.

      • TheOtherSean

        Burn Auto-Corrupt at the stake! 😛

      • As well as false prophecy and doing nasty things with dead bodies

        • Necromancy is actually mentioned as separate Thing You Do Not Do, IIRC.

          • Last time we did this discussion, IIRC, it was pointed out that the subject comes up at least twice– in one of the places there’s a lot more detail; in the other it uses the word used for poisoner-spell-caster that would probably include witchdoctor.

      • Stronger: it’s only in the Septuagint Greek (φαρμάκους/pharmakous) that there’s any ambiguity. The Hebrew מכשפה is unambiguously “sorceress, practitioner of magic” with no etymological connection to poison at all.

      • Rich Rostrom

        Which in that era was not a clear distinction.(IMO) Do something secret with a mysterious plant and the target dies. Was it magic or material? In that era, who really knew the difference?

        I further note that “witches”, “wise women”, shamans, witch doctors, and so on were expected to be experts in the effects of herbs and roots and fungi, which was right next door to outright magic. See “The Power of Every Root” by Avram Davidson for an example of this belief in 20t-century Mexico.

    • You go to the old woman. She gives you a powder to put your uncle’s soup to hasten your inheritance.

      Witch? Or poisoner? At least one definite poison-seller was denounced to the Inquisition in Vienna as a witch — alas, after she had already caused three deaths.

  6. The women of my family didn’t study physics or enlist in the military until seventy years ago. But nearly every single one of them, on every branch, across well over a century, was smart, tough, and capable. Still true.

    • And this doesn’t just apply to women. My wife has a cousin who’s a construction worker, and he tells all sorts of fascinating stories about his work. He’s destined to be forgotten in time, as are *most* men and women, just by sheer numbers, but he’s good at what he does, and he literally helps build the nation, one little project at a time.

  7. I think the rescuer bit is the key, although there is a lot of “because we’re better than you” in it.

    As I’ve said before, no one has picked up the white **man’s** burden (emphasis because we’re on gender not race here) more than modern progressives.

    The irony on both sides of that, the people who revile Kipling embracing his famous poem’s intent and those who adore him mostly rejecting it, is not lost on me.

    And it’s a smile I needed today.

  8. Green sky: TORNADO coming!!

  9. Dorothy Dimock

    Thinking of E.E. Smith. In Gray Lrnsman Kimball Kinnison has a conversation with a woman he’s met at a ball, and comments on how her wealthy father gave her a million credits, no strings attached, and sent her to the stock market to learn by doing. Kim remarks that while she lost a lot at first, she persevered and had gotten it all back and then some. He makes it clear he admires her… Smith was writing in the ’30s and ’40s. There’s another sort of agency.D

  10. Funny, I was thinking about my July book release and Juanita Brooks’ autobiography. https://www.amazon.com/Quicksand-Cactus-Juanita-Brooks/dp/0874211638/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Juanita+Brooks&qid=1555534463&s=books&sr=1-3 Brooks’ paternal grandfather was a Latter Day Saint who had multiple wives. Rather than divorce, he went into hiding when the blessing of plural marriage was revoked (Brooks’ term). Brooks traveled every weekend with her father, visiting his mother and other mothers. All were strong women, all were quite different, and all had managed to raise families of varying sizes once their husband was forced into hiding.

    It came to mind because one of the two main characters in the upcoming book is the third wife of a really eccentric (but competent) man. The wives sometimes disagree, but each handles a specific portion of the household and the business, and they get along pretty well. And all agree that they are much better off as a group then trying to manage individually, especially once things start collapsing around them.

    • TX what do you have coming out in July? You never said and I’d love to know!

    • I was thinking about polygamy as well, since Sarah brought up Emma Smith.

      On the one hand, many people at the time thought that this effectively enslaved the Latter-day Saint women of the time to their husbands.

      On the other hand, the only reason why Utah wasn’t the first to give the women the right to vote, was because it had such a hard time becoming a darn State! I seem to recall that, at one point, the Deseret territory was required to disenfranchise women, but I’m probably misremembering the details, or perhaps even conflating them with something else entirely. In any case, as soon as Utah was able, they restored the franchise to women.

      It’s kindof funny that a group that wants to allegedly enslave an entire sex, would go to so much trouble to give that sex a voice in their politics….

  11. Once again, I point to (the wife this time): Abigal Adams (the firs second lady and the second first lady). She should be considered one of the fathers of our country even though she didn’t sign he Declaration or the Constitution. She DID moderate the impetuous and angry impulses of her husband so that the key ideals they both shared and became key to the concept of “servant leadership” and government by the people, and for the people.
    he also bore 6 children, 2 of whom died as babies, and others who died young. All while single-handedly running the family farm while her husband was away serving their country.
    And their letters reveal they were deeply in love.
    A nstrong independent woman who didn’t need a man, but cherished the one she shared her life with.

    • A nstrong independent woman who didn’t need a man, but cherished the one she shared her life with.

      I think that is a huge thing feminists have screwed up.

      They have interpreted “don’t need a man” as “men are useless” and “men should be rejected”.

      I don’t need a woman, yet have them in my life. I can eat, drink, sleep, work, and all that without one, but I find my life not as enjoyable.

      Would that more modern women take the same view (at least among the college uneducated ones).

  12. That whole 100lb girl beating up a 300lb man thing really is improbable, but not always completely impossible. I dated a woman who had a bit of a violent streak. She never hit me, of course, because she knew better (because she knew I would have dumped her, not because I would have retaliated). BUT… I did see her take a fairly big dude completely apart one time (I wasn’t there, but I saw the camera footage afterwards) The guy physically attacked a sweet little old lady right in front of her and she snapped. When the police arrived, she had him face down in the parking lot literally stomping on his head. They almost arrested HER, until they saw how injured the little old lady was. He only got one hit in, but she was hurt pretty badly. The guy ended up spending a week in the hospital, and will need major reconstruction done if he ever wants to have teeth again. He also got 10 years jail time for assaulting a senior citizen (Florida really loves her old people, but it should have been attempted murder in my opinion). Of course, my then-GF was probably closer to 200lbs than 100lbs, and at least half of that was made up of rage, hate, and fury. So admittedly, she’s an exception, rather than the rule.

    • 200lbs and a berserker? Possible. 100 lbs against 300? No.

      • One and one, where she remains calm and smart and uses leverage/multipliers against someone attacking blindly?

        That I can buy. But that’s a lot of qualifiers (which this story sounds like it meets, also she wound up pretty beat up).

        It is when it is the norm without any qualifiers I tune out because suspension of disbelief is out the window.

        As for the 200 lbs vs. 100 lbs, that’s a big place where the “training” reasoning falls down. If you are practicing martial arts to that degree even if you are average height for a woman and have a trim build you’re not going to be 100 lbs. Closer to 140 at least, I’d guess.

        • He never laid a hand on her, but mostly because the guy was from a VERY chauvinistic culture and never expected a mere WOMAN to stand up to a MAN. AND, she hit him pretty hard with the first hit. That part was a little hard to see on the cameras because it was in a small front office. She either throat punched him or flattened his nose (makes eyes water, hard to fight if you can’t see). Then she pushed him THROUGH the front glass/screen door and down a small flight of cement steps to land on the asphalt parking lot, and started stomping on him before he could begin to get his bearings.

          No real training other than growing up rough with a number of older brothers. According to the stories I heard, a few of those older brothers had some pretty severe anger issues. There were stories of bricks, cast iron skillets, and other heavy things getting thrown AT each other, as well as a story or two of some of them actually shooting each other. She had a scar on her leg that she said came from getting shot with a .22 by one of the brothers.

          No, she’s not the average girl.

          • Okay, no training, but smart and focused (initial shot disorienting him), use advantages/multipliers (pushed down stairs instead of fighting on level ground, pushing him into/through something to use it to do damage in addition to her force, stomping a down opponent) against an opponent not using them (not considering her a threat).

            Smart girl. Sounds fun.

      • There is also the element of surprise in this tale (I believe it, I’ve seen something similar, if less dramatic). Do enough initial damage before the opponent can focus their efforts on you, and the odds against you diminish quite a bit.

        • I’ve been in fights and was genuinely 120 lbs. But I was in great shape, and my opponents were probably 180. And due to culture, etc. never saw me coming. And I DID fight like a cornered cat, because a little crazy. And went for eyes, joints and genitals. AND bit and scratched s well as kicking (my legs were always stronger than upper body.)
          AGAIN it’s possible, ot not as is shown.

        • Right…the complaint isn’t “women can never defeat men in physical combat” it is “a woman can’t toe to toe up against a similarly trained man at the same percentile (or higher) on the physical size/power distribution for their sex, but will need to be smarter in some way: surprise, force multiplier, etc, in order to win”.

          What I can’t figure out is why the smart women who uses surprise or specializes in a martial art like judo that uses the opponent’s force against himself or a force multiplier like a handy improvised weapon isn’t a strong, independent woman.

          Smart, resourceful, calm, collected, forward thinking…isn’t that the definition of independent?

          • Only in languages other than Newspeak.

          • I warned her as graphically as I could that she was already well down the slippery slope leading to poverty and misery—that, as I knew from the experience of untold patients, she would soon have a succession of possessive, exploitative, and violent boyfriends, unless she changed her life. I told her that in the past few days, I had seen two women patients who had had their heads rammed down the lavatory, one who had had her head smashed through a window and her throat cut on the shards of glass, one who had had her arm, jaw, and skull broken, and one who had been suspended by her ankles from a tenth-floor window to the tune of, “Die, you bitch!”

            “I can look after myself,” said my 17-year-old.

            “But men are stronger than women,” I said. “When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage.”

            “That’s a sexist thing to say,” she replied.

            A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.

            “But it’s a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact,” I said.

            “It’s sexist,” she reiterated firmly.

            https://www.city-journal.org/html/tough-love-11787.html

      • On equal footing, no… but the plain fact is, most people suck at fighting, one-on-one. Even if they’ve been in fights, they usually weren’t hurt much. And a lot of “fighting” is more intimidation than actual combat.

        I found out through experience that ratcheting it up to “11” RIGHT NOW will give me a decisive advantage over theoretically much more capable opponents. Because they almost never expect anyone to put up more than token resistance, if any.

        What kind of person is going to physically assault an old lady? Not one who expects her to resist. “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”

      • One more funny story on this. When I was in college, I knew a girl who was probably an inch or three short of five feet tall. If she weighed 90lbs soaking wet, I’d be surprised. She this ex that was giving her problems that would show up at the bar we hung out at, and start arguments with her. One night, he made the mistake of slapping her. So me and my buddy, who was about the same size as me, went to go after him. Sorry feminists, no way I’m letting some dude hit a woman in my presence (If you have a problem with that, take it up with my goddess. It’s a religious thing). BUT she stopped us saying she needed to do it herself.

        So me and my rather large friend stood there flanking her, arms crossed, looking menacing… Promising that if he dared strike back, we were going to break something on him for each time he touched her. While she proceeded to beat on him with everything she could muster. Split his lip, bloodied his nose. We stopped her about the fourth or fifth kick to his groin and told him to crawl away.

        Frankly, she MIGHT have broken his nose. MAYBE. I don’t really think so though since it didn’t look crooked or anything. And other than the few kicks to the groin, he probably didn’t really suffer all that much. I only saw the guy one time after that. I was at the mall, and as soon as he saw me he practically ran the other way. Probably thought I still wanted to finish the job, but no… She was satisfied, so there would be no point.

      • scott2harrison

        I would point out the truism that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. A 100lb woman who uses lethal violence before her 200lb assailant has worked himself up to starting to hit can indeed drop him. (The woman in question would not be incompetent according to the quote because she used violence first.)

    • The problem is more how common it is. When Emma Peale was an except who we saw openly practicing fencing and judo before a fight you could suspend disbelief figuring, yeah, a secret agent can do it. Also, Emma didn’t always win and often used smart tactics such as ambush and force multiplier.

      When generic female character, who we have never seen learning any skills, gets approached by three men who clearly use violence on a regular basis, defeats all three without trouble, and it happens every time those three men show up, you’re pushing an agenda and telling a bad story.

      • The bad story-ness also applies to the callow young male who becomes an expert swordsman, mage, or ninja with 3 months training and a coupon from the back of the comic book.

        • With a few genre exceptions (which also create the same exception for women), mostly supers, I agree.

          I buy Black Widow being one of the greatest martial artists in the world who can defeat any mere mortal man. I also buy gamma rays giving an physicists with anger issues the ability to turn huge and green.

          It is when in a normalish spy movie, I’m expected to buy a Black Widow character who can take out dozens of similarly trained men that disbelief breaks. Same for wonderboy pilots (I’m looking at you Iron Eagle).

          • Herbn, you might want to look a couple more times. All of these are from the movie.

            Kid has his own pilot’s license. Apparently flies competitively in both powered and unpowered flight. Do I really need to remind you of how the Luftwaffe started it’s rebuild process?

            Kid is apparently a fixture on the simulators being used for actual pilot training…. to the point that his scores in it over time match to the actual pilots. In addition, as part of the background he’s apparently at least gotten to fly in the actual training aircraft at the trainee pilot controls.

            Point being, we’re shown in at least abbreviated fashion that he didn’t pull a Rey and just pick up a lightsaber. Same thing, incidentally, was apparently true of Luke in Star Wars, where it was made explicit that the control systems on his civilian plane were at least close to what he was flying in an X-Wing. No mention of Y wings which were made by a different company.

        • But…but, don’t you know, he’s the Chosen one!!! And besides, such potential and a master of the art training him!!

          (Never mind that quite often the true masters can’t train others worth a snot, they are so further from the basics, they can’t even remember them. Is one of the reasons so many superstar athletes make awful coaches when they try, they don’t know why they are so good, cause they never really had to think about it as much, and when they retire, they’ve forgotten what they first learned.)

    • My daughter, the Marine veteran – who was maybe about 140 pounds at the time – took apart a perv with a cellphone who was using it to upskirt the women at a bar in Miami. I don’t know by how much he out-weighed her, but she apparently dribbled his head like a basketball along a granite-faced bar, after her second or third request to take that d*mned phone away from her and the female Marine veteran friend she was barhopping with.
      She confessed that she had bruises on her upper arms from other patrons or her friend pulling her off the perv. And she didn’t pay for another drink that whole evening.
      It has since been pointed out to me that perhaps the perv got a naughty personal thrill out of being beaten up by a woman. And my daughter doesn’t drink any more…

      • Training (Marine hand-to-hand), plus attitude (leathernecks finish the job), plus surprise (little bitty woman wouldn’t dare hit me) – way over on the right side of the bell curve there. Up against a male in the middle of his curve, yep, he’s most likely going to find out what a basketball feels like.

        If this discussion were over on MGC, though, I’d be looking for notions on how to set up the scenario. (Really – there is one novel that I am manfully mostly resisting writing at the moment, because 1) I cannot do the combat scenes decent justice; and 2) I should be working on the “main line” things. Durned woman keeps talking to me, though…)

  13. How about the 60s and 70s, and Frank Herbert? He had the Bene Gesserit, an all-female organization, pulling the strings behind the scenes. He had an all-female organization working behind the scenes to take over the interstellar government in The Godmakers. Seriously, women are the *SMART* ones. Why go take the risk of getting beat, shot, or trampled, when you can convince someone else to go do it for you?

    • “Why go take the risk of getting beat, shot, or trampled, when you can convince someone else to go do it for you?”

      But the best female characters (as amply demonstrated by now) also take the risks when they need to, and they don’t connive and manipulate men into endangering themselves – both of them know the job that needs doing.

      • Of course. The manipulative one is *usually* the evil character – see Dumbledore, in Harry Potter. I’m just suggesting that violent force is far from the only sort of “power” out there. One might suggest that modern political power is becoming more “feminine” in this respect – the political leaders of late are less about how do I get something done, and more about how do I get someone else to do what I think needs doing.

        The only real risk to the puppeteer politician is when the puppet forgets that he’s a puppet, and nobody else knows you’re his puppeteer, and he decides to get you out of the way.

  14. If they can’t convince women that they’re victims (or always on the verge of it) of those OTHER, unwoke men and gender traitors, how can they ever keep control?
    Thanx Sarah!

  15. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Dear brother misogynist,

    Are the feminists not screaming for rescue? Is their behavior not akin to vomiting all over the place?

    Perhaps they dislike being called out on their behavior, and, over sensitive to criticism, see that criticism everywhere.

    This would explain an overly broad definition of ‘victim blaming’. Someone says ‘get some agency, and harden up’, and they hear ‘women have no agency’.

    Like someone telling me to get my head out of my rear, and work on my time management, or one of my many other weaknesses, and me interpreting it as a wider criticism. Wider criticism makes it more distant, and I could go, lot at aacid, or look at Larry Correia. Their time management isn’t so bad. Pretending it is a general critique would let me convince myself that I have disproven the case that I need personal improvement.

    Fellow misogynists: Is my thinking on this off?

    • I once had something resembling an argument with a woman who said that because characters in a work would avenge a woman’s death when they would not avenge a man’s otherwise identical death, this proved that we valued men more than women. There was some ranting about agency in there.

  16. Sarah asks the musical question: “So why are moderns and let’s face it mostly leftists…”

    The correct answer to all “why?” questions about leftists is “BECAUSE THEY ARE LYING.”

    The -actual- reason they do what they do is so that they can set themselves up as Lords of the State, and make everything everywhere the same as North Korea. The single big advantage of North over South Korea, for a Lord of the State, is that you can chose your sex slaves from the whole population. You don’t have to make do with willing participants, and you don’t have to pay them.

  17. Christopher M. Chupik

    “Scream, rescued, or throw up?” Better tell that to Patricia Savage, Nellie Grey, Belit, Nita Van Sloan, Jirel of Joiry . . .

  18. (Nods) So much of this boils down to second-wave feminists deciding that the men who said that only the things men did were important were correct.
    Never did understand how that made sense.

  19. As the old saying goes, “Behind every good man stands a good woman.”

    Husband and wife are supposed to be a team. He might be the public face. But she’s working just as hard as he is.

    • In some cases, passing up the loaded muskets.

      • “Honey. My gun’s jammed again.”
        “Give it to me. Use mine ”
        She safes the rifle, pops the magazine out, bang’s open the bolt carrier, pries the bent brass out of the chamber, runs a cleaning brush down the barrel, works the bolt back and forth a couple of times before putting a new magazine in, pulls the charging handle back, releases it reloading the weapon, steps up to the barrier, picks out one of the approaching zombies, flips the safety off and fires two rounds, dropping the ambulating carrion in its tracks.
        “Okay, it’s fixed. Can I have my Mossberg back now?”

    • behind every successful man is a good woman, and a surprised mother-in-law. Harry S. Truman

    • In Texas, after the heyday of the old West, it was said that “behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town.”

  20. On top of all this, much of the work that women do is behind the scenes. Support, running political interference, and occasionally espionage.

    If you read “The Three Musketeers”, or even watch the Richard Lester films (the best version), Lady de Winter is the villainess. The Cardinal…is a plot obstacle. Not a bad guy.

    (The same is true of “Gone With The Wind”. Scarlett O’Hara is selfishness personified.)

    • To put it another way, the Queen is having a secret affair with one of the leaders of a foreign country. France happens to be at war with that foreign country. Richeliu has figured out what’s going on, and is trying to find proof to present to the King.

      In most other books, he would be the hero. Or he might be the patron and benefactor of the hero. In this book, he’s on the side opposite the heroes. But his actions don’t make him a villain since finding evidence to expose the Queen is what he *ought* to do in such a situation.

  21. What was it Pratchett wrote about the women of the upper classes in Ankh-Morpork being foppish, fashionable and flighty, obsesssed with scandal and status, but when their men came home broken in body, mind and soul they turned to solid steel and took over the care of their families, estates and husbands without flinching…?

  22. Richard Mcenroe

    Hm. Historical novels with Richelieu and Mazarin as the heroes… There is a portrait of Phillip de Champaigne (Richelieu) in the National Gallery in London. NOT someone to mess with…

    • Different Richelieu?
      Ours was Armand Jean du Plessis.
      And no. He was a fricking statist.

    • It looks like Philippe de Champaigne was an artist who painted a series of portraits of Richelieu. per wikipedia

      • Wikipedia isn’t always accurate.

        • TheOtherSean

          A study several years ago found that non-political Wikipedia articles averaged out to containing twice as many errors as encyclopedia entries.

          • That’s a dangerous statistic: is every non-political article twice as bad, or are there some atrocious ones that pull down the average despite the meticulously correct articles?
            Even so, I can still get more info faster on Wiki than by pulling my 1911 Britannica off the shelf, or chasing down umpteen specialized publications just to get a “feel” for some topic.
            Trust but verify —

      • Richard Mcenroe

        Oops. I plead a misleading little copper plaque thingy…

        • fast richard

          That’s what I figured when I found the information. Wikipedia is good for checking obscure but non controversial historical details.

  23. *this post may contain spoilers for The Three Musketeers

  24. The Mueller Report will be released tomorrow. You can buy an electronic copy for your Kindle app for several bucks.

    Or you can get it free for your Nook app.

    I’m kinda curious whether B&N’s “price discount” will be enough to offset Amazon’s general popularity.

    • Or umpteen news outlets will have it up in PDF, which is where I will grab it from (probably this weekend, if nothing else intervenes).

      Of course, I don’t need any “expert” commentary from either side to tell me what to think of whatever it contains. (Or does not contain; the redactions can be quite interesting.)

  25. These people don’t know history, no matter how much they try to proclaim otherwise. Which doesn’t surprise me, because they’re worshipers of the Church of Marx almost to a hominid.

    (I won’t say man or woman, because I’m starting to get really suspicious that they might not be the same species at this rate…)

    Without the labor of women, 70+% of all human activity prior to the… 1950s?…in the West becomes nearly impossible. What they do isn’t spectacular, but it is essential.

    Let’s start with…food preparation. Being a single male for quite a long time, I can say without doubt that making a meal for two isn’t much harder than for one. Having someone else make the meal means I can spend more time doing other labor. And, this is with modern appliances.

    I’ve cooked with what would be standard for the 1890’s or about, with the cheat that I had access to refrigeration. That is work in every possible sense, it just isn’t…spectacular.

    (Observational note-have you noticed that the really wacky forms of feminism and socialism and their ilk have come about with the reduction of labor needed to sustain yourself in the world? I wouldn’t throw away my electric blender or washer and dryer for love or money, but you wonder…)

    There is just so much labor that women used to do, because someone had to do it and women could do it. A case could be made that women used men in those days, because men did an amazing amount of heavy, dangerous labor that tended to kill them young. Perhaps even younger than women giving birth.

    And, all the other tasks they had to do-

    Clothing cleaning and preparation.
    Housekeeping (I’ve read the stories of women getting access to electric vacuum cleaners more-or-less worshiping it).
    Bathing and personal hygiene.
    Keeping the accounts of everything.
    …and probably fifty or sixty other things that I missed.

    But, at the rate things are going, the feminists and their allies are going to discover all this, with the added joys of Real Patriarchy and it’s ilk.

    • Feminists are short-sighted. They presume that as things are, so have they ever been, and always will be, or get better. (Power outages sind VERBOTEN.)

    • Observational note-have you noticed that the really wacky forms of feminism and socialism and their ilk have come about with the reduction of labor needed to sustain yourself in the world? I wouldn’t throw away my electric blender or washer and dryer for love or money, but you wonder…
      ———————-

      There’s something to be said for the idea that only people with free time on their hands are able to come up with truly civilization-destroying ideas.

    • I believe there is an old saw about Idle Hands and the Devil…

    • > food preparation

      Not that long ago that usually meant “throw anything vaguely edible into the pot, warm it up, dip out enough to make a meal, push the pot off to the side until it’s time to dip out the next meal.” Which would likely be eaten cold.

    • While in Panama, I was chatting up a couple of Polish women, and an East German fella came up to butt in. Asked if I knew where the term ‘Gringo’ originated. When I demurred, he said it was from the Banana Republic days, and was a contraction of “Green go (home)” as shouted at American soldiery by the locals. I told him I’d heard that Communists were supposed to be big on history, but I guessed that I was mistaken. When he asked why, I told him that during the Banana Republic days the American tropical uniform was khaki, not green. My soon-to-be lady friend and her roomie laughed him out of the bar.

  26. The most annoying thing about the (post)modern leftist approach to women in fiction is, in a misguided effort to write Strong Female Characters, they make them act like…men. And not any of the many types of men, but of the very caricature of the masculine men they claim to despise to much.

    • Do tell…:)
      Actually, there is food for deep psychological pondering there.
      There may even be a connection to the transgender mania, going either direction – some xxboys become aggressively masculine, and some xygirls still act like boys.

    • “But going around beating up people is not the only form of agency. It’s not even the best one. It’s the agency of a type of man, not even all of them.” – Sarah
      So true.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      “Men are toxic! Let’s be exactly like them!”

      • Since everything different from men is an injustice, obviously you must.

        And she can’t, of course, act like a gentleman.

  27. You mean, I could reach across the aisle to the SJW’s? My fortune is assured! *swoon.* Can you do third person present tense in French?

  28. “Check your privilege. You’re probably high on it.”
    Can I get that on a sweatshirt?

  29. A couple of people have identified the fifties & sixties as the flipping point, when women could afford to be helpless and men (not just of the idle rich class) could afford to let them.
    And of course we all know that History began in the Sixties, or even later for some folks.

    Note that it is also in that period that women (e.g., Frieden & Steinem) became dissatisfied with being “just housewives” and felt oppressed, because they no longer had “important” contributions to make to the family. Even raising kids wasn’t the endless back-breaking, exhausting task it had always been in the past.
    Idle hands are the Devil’s playground.

  30. “(How many times have we heard that, complete with accusations of “gender traitor” as though vaginas were something you had to swear allegiance to?) ”

    Would it go something like this?

    I pledge allegiance to the Twat of the Progressive States of America.
    And to the Collective for which it stands,
    Twelve Genders, under instruction,
    with Diversity and Social Justice for All.

  31. I submit to you that well known wall flower and mistress of the fainting couch, the Empress Theodora. Wife of Justinian I and real ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire. How about those other shrinking violets Catherine the Great, and Elizabeth I. Cleopatra anyone? The Sarmatian female archers and the Amazons would like to join this debate also. My wife (feared by bureaucrats) holds Progressives and their entire agenda in contempt also.