Tag Archives: women warriors

Archon 41: Come Say Hello!

The flying castle will be dropping me off in your realm this fall to attend Archon 41! Women and nonbinary authors, please be sure to submit your original (no reprint) stories for Artemis Rising before you head out, as our submission window will close on Sept 30.

Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017
Gateway Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel
Collinsville, IL

This convention promises the usual from me — religion, fighting, and the inescapable lure of human darkness — capped off on Sunday with a reading chock-full of all three. Come say hello!


The Cinematic Wonder Woman’s Badass Predecessors
20:00 – 20:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

A discussion celebrating Ripley, Xena, Buffy, and more.  Why do we love women who kick butt?
What a question.
With Claire Ashgrove, Tom Stockman, and Ethan Nahté


Alternate Religions
11:00 – 11:50, Salon 4 (Gateway Center)
An open and respectful look at real-life alternate or non-mainstream religions.
I’ll be moderating, with Christine Amsden, Ms Joy Ward, and Walt Boyes

Writing Modern-Day Monsters
12:00 – 12:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Discuss what a “modern-day monster” is (or can be), and how to write an effective one.
With Mr Michales Joy, and Guy Anthony De Marco

Recurring Themes in Speculative Science Fiction
16:00 – 16:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Speculative fiction has become more and more popular in recent years.  Come participate in a discussion on themes in spec lit and what’s on the horizon.
I’m moderating (the fantasist snuck in! Shh!), with Celine Chatillon, Dr Pamela Gay, and Tom Carpenter

Comparative Mythology
19:00 – 19:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

How do myths from different cultures compare?  What are some recurring themes?  What myths seem to be culturally unique?
I’m moderating, with Michael Benjamin, Lloyd Kropp, Walt Boyes, and Kasey Mackenzie



Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors
10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Escape Artists represent — woop woop!  Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.
With the ever-brilliant Benjamin C. Kinney of Escape Pod

Making Friends in Fandom
13:00 – 13:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

It’s hard to make new friends, but it’s easier when you have common interests. Get tips on how to make friends as adults.
With Mrs. Susan Baugh, Cindi Gille-Rowley, Tom Meserole, Steve Lopata

Author Readings with David Benem and Setsu Uzume
14:00 – 14:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)
Tag-teaming with David Benem



I narrated a story! Spirit Forms of the Sea

Bogi Takács is a neutrally gendered Hungarian Jewish person who wrote a story about archers, shamans, and questionable pacts with Cthulu-like monsters. It was exciting to learn the Hungarian words.

If you would like to hear me narrate this tale, please proceed to the castle.

Spirit Forms of the Sea, by Bogi Takács.

Narrated by Setsu Uzume.
Produced by Podcastle.

South Africa’s Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit is over 50% Women.

I came across this article today, and wanted to re-blog it so it doesn’t fade away. You can learn more about the Black Mamba Unit and support their efforts by visiting their web site. Photos by Julia Gunther.

“The Mambas are committed to tracking down snares before animals become victims. “With a mix of lipstick, boots and camouflage fatigues, these women are watching, waiting, walking, constantly on the lookout for early evidence of poacher activity,” Gunther continued. “They are a formidable and highly effective anti-poaching task team that is trying to defend and protect South Africa’s wildlife heritage against poaching.”

In South Africa, the phrase “the Big Five” often refers to lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo and elephants, the most coveted wildlife in the region. Protection of these species frequently falls into the hands of men; the Mambas are one of the rare instances a position of such importance and power would be delegated to women. 

“Each [Mamba] has a story, a dream and a vision for the future,” Gunther explained. “Each has a family to support, a community to educate. Funds are scarce, yet they are passionate and determined. For some, they are the only breadwinners, feeding their families on little wages. For others this is a hopeful step towards furthering their careers. For all of them, the love for nature and its conservation runs deep. Their ethos is to protect this heritage of wildlife.” 

Read the full article here.

Chronological history of female warriors, military commanders, and duelists

I came across this resource recently that names and dates women warriors across the globe. My initial post on this subject mentioned one woman every century or so, with some details as to why she was famous.

There are a lot more names on this list, but not terribly much information. It seems like a good starting point for further research if you’d like to zero in on a particular region or era. For more on the Female Single Combat Club (FSCC), visit their about page for information in English and Russian.

As a side note, they also published topical poetry and fiction.

List of Women Warriors, compiled by the FSCC

First Two Women Pass Ranger School – US Army History!

Each branch of the Armed Forces has been asked to integrate women into all positions—or provide proof that they cannot do so—by 2016.

Congratulations, lieutenants.

For the first time, women will graduate from the U.S. Army’s prestigious Ranger School, officials announced on Monday.

Two female officers have completed training in what is considered one of the most difficult military programs, and will graduate on Friday, alongside their male classmates, the Army said. Their names weren’t released. According to NPR, both are lieutenants who attended West Point.

The two-month Army Ranger School program, founded in 1950, is a physically intensive training that aims to mold participants into elite military fighters. It takes place in the hills of Fort Benning, Georgia, and in the swamps of Florida, where trainees hone combat and leadership skills while learning how to survive with little sleep and food.

Both women, officers and graduates of West Point, will speak on Thursday. Their names have not yet been released.

“Whether I agree or disagree with it, they have changed my mind,” says Sgt. Major Colin Boley, the operations sergeant major for the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Boley, a recipient of the Silver Star who served in the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, completed more than a dozen Ranger deployments and won the Best Ranger competition a decade ago. “I didn’t think that they would physically be able to bear the weight and I thought they would quit or get hurt, and they have proved me wrong,” he says.

Gendered Bones and Gender Roles

Tor.com reposted an article from USA Today (or was it vice versa?) regarding new discoveries from the Viking age. By inspecting the bones rather than grave artifacts, the scientific community has adjusted its theory to speculate that the number of females-to-males who went a-viking was somewhere between a third to roughly equal.

Similarly, 11 months prior, LiveScience put out an article saying that an Etruscan warrior prince was actually a princess. Again — looking at the bones rather than the artifacts.

It made me wonder why this is surprising. It made me wonder why, in 2013, at a Science Fiction and Fantasy convention — at a panel discussing how fantasy elements  impact warfare — a professional with an extensive military history background can say, in no uncertain terms, “we romanticize this idea of a woman warrior. We have no evidence for it. They did not exist.”

If this is a matter of erasure, I wondered when the erasure happened. As the steampunk fashion movement has grown to include literary and scientific interests, there’s been a greater focus on alternative history. What if we had gone with Tesla’s model rather than Edison’s? Further investigation (with rabid enthusiasm, a limitless resource of fandom) revealed a plethora of women soldiers, scientists, and spies. The Victorian era seems stuffy at first glance, but women were there. They were working.

If erasure began earlier, how early? Was it Perrault in the late 17th century, who couched fairy tales like Red Riding Hood into warnings about the dangers of blossoming female sexuality? Probably not. For a book to prosper, it needs an audience with whose work it will resonate.

Kameron Hurley’s award-winning article, “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” captures nearly all of these arguments as they apply to writing female characters. The gendered approach to role and identity is lazy. The idea that We Have Always Fought doesn’t only refer to women who feel comfortable in danger, conflict, and innovation; it also refers to the idea that men and women, both, have always wrestled with the idea of identity. We have always fought because there is always someone else trying to tell you who you are. These stories perpetuated by many to define the individual continue for generations — especially when you will be punished, from ostracism to execution, for proving them wrong.

Nevermind looking at the Victorian era, or the Age of Reason for the source of this divide. Go back to Hippocrates, Aretaeus and Galen, who blamed the womb for nearly all diseases in women. The underlying idea was that the womb moved around the body, putting pressure on the organs and causing blockages. The cure? Pregnancy, at least, sex leading to pregnancy. Taoist texts recommend that men should sleep with as many young women as possible to maintain their health, but women would suffer the adverse effect if they used the same treatment.

The media’s portrayal of gender roles (frustrated mom, incompetent dad) affects us. Louder and more prolific voices tell us our identity. They tell us that women have long hair, men have short hair. They tell us men are buried with swords, and women with brooches. They tell us who we should be and how we should think. Imagine a world where pink was a manly color. It’s not any kind of color — it’s just a color. Flowers are pink. Guts are pink. Blood is blue, and so are flowers.

Our perception tends to narrow based on our environment. As a little kid, before I learned about Barbie and He-Man toys (products marketed and sold to specific demographics), I believed the defining characteristic in gender was that boys had green eyes and girls had blue eyes. In my family that was true, but what does it mean for brown eyes? Or blue-eyed men? It’s important to consider new data as it arises, rather than insist on the current narrative. This may be difficult and uncomfortable, especially if your language has gender woven all the way through it. The gender of a table, knife, or factory also indicate that dividing the world into feminine/masculine qualities is an old, OLD fight; but it’s up to you if you accept it as is.

If you were to disregard what voices from above tell you, what would you observe? Beautiful men and mighty women surround us. Calculating women and nurturing men surround us. Patient humans surround us. Cruel humans surround us. We are them. They are us.

The contents of your backpack might be misleading. Marketing is misleading. To understand someone, look to the core of them — down to their bones.


List of Women Warriors

Here are the notes I had prepared for a panel on women & warriorship that I did ~not~ wind up using.


The Larinum decree under Tiberius banned senators’ daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters, and “any female whose husband or father or grandfather, whether paternal or maternal or brother had ever possessed the right of sitting in the seats reserved for the equites” from training or making paid appearances as gladiators, implying though not confirming that some females did already appear as gladiators.

Boudicca – 1st century, Norfolk – Led an uprising against occupying forces of Roman empire.

Trung Trac & Trung Nhi – 1st century, Vietnam – Commanded 80,000 to repel Chinese forces.

Trieu Thi Trinh – 2nd century, Vietnam – Succeeded in deterring 50 advances from the occupying Wu kingdom of present-day China.

Zenobia – 3rd century, Syria – Defeated Roman Legions under Emperor Claudius.

Artemisia of Caria – 5th century, Persia – Commanded five ships under King Xerxes.

Queen K’Abel “Lady Snake Lord” – 7th century, Guatemala – Mayan. Commanded expansionist military, outranked her husband king K’inich Bahlam

Judit – 10th century, Abyssinia – Conquered Axum, capital of Ethiopia.

Queen Aethelflaed – 10th century, English Midlands – Took over the army and built a chain of fortresses upon her husband’s death, including successful campaign into Wales.

Tomoe Gozen – 12th century, Japan – Samurai. Fought in the Genpei war on the Minamoto side against the Taira.

Fu Hao – 13th century, China – Commanded over 13,000 troops for King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty. Served as priestess and General. Earliest recorded large-scale ambush in Chinese history.

Tamar of Georgia – 13th century, Georgia – During her Reign Georgia achieved political, economic and cultural might, annexing Armenian capitals and founding the Empire of Trebizond on the Black Sea.

Joanna of Flanders (“Firey Joan”) – 13th century, France – Raised army to defend her husband’s claim to a region of Brittany.

Princess Khutulun – 14th century, Mongolia – Became her father’s chief military advisor against Kublai Khan in China. Fought off suitors, literally, in hand-to-hand combat.

Joan D’Arc – 15th century, France – Commanded French Army against the English toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War, lifted the siege at Orleans in nine days.

Queen Elizabeth I – 16th century, England – needs no introduction. Defeated Spanish Armada.

Grainne O’Malley – 16th century, Ireland – Sailor, pirate, fought and eventually parlayed with Elizabeth I.

Juana Galan – 19th century, Spain – commanded the other women in her village against Napoleon’s cavalry and turned them out of La Mancha.

Ching Shih – 19th century, Canton – Commanded 300 pirate ships. Terrorized coast, could not be defeated by Portuguese or British navy. Retired at 36 after receiving amnesty from Chinese government.

Laskarina Bouboulina – 19th century, Greece – Supplied Greek Nationalists with supplies against Turks, and commanded an 8-boat fleet against the Ottomans.

Emilia Plater – 19th century, Poland – Joined November Uprising against the Tsar’s rule. Awarded a captaincy in Polish Lithuanian 25th Infantry Regiment.

Wing Chun (and Buddhist nun Ng Mui) – 20th century, China – Founder of Wing Chun style martial arts, derived from Shaolin.

Nancy Wake (“White Mouse”)- 20th century, England – British spy, freelance unit with rank of Captain. Leading figure in the maquis groups of the French Resistance. Most decorated servicewoman of the war, and by 1943, the Gestapo’s most wanted person.

Stephanie Kwolek – 21st century, USA – Chemist, invented Kevlar.

Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody – 21st century, USA – Four-star general in US Army. Deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield/Desert storm. Supported the largest deployment and redeployment of US forces since WWII. Made great efforts to reduce sexual assault in the army. Retired 2012.

Bibi Ayisha, Commander Kaftar (“Commander Dove”) – 21st c. Afghanistan – one of Amad Shah Massoud’s top commanders during the soviet and Taliban wars within Afghanistan. Led a 600-man force as a mujahedeen commander.