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b00b plate = no

 

b00b scale = yes

 

why?

 

Because in a world where women are of equal strenght to men, we must asume that their boobs are pure muscle and help them support the heavy armor, thus we conclude that the outline of boobs can be seen on scale, but canot be seen on plate, because the boobs are not strong enought to bend the metal.

 

Is that enough realisam for you to be able to sleep at night?

 

 

Women can (and do/did) wear heavy armour in our own reality too.

You don't need a fantasy for fighters of different genders to be equally capable.

 

Breast size varies is a point someone else raised; unless Obsidian plans on that being a slider in character creation (because to do otherwise would break immersion for some, though it comes with problems of its own) then they're kind of slipping up by giving every NPC with breasts the exact same size.

Would have been better to go with the "realism" route in this instance (where the weight/material of the armour and the padding beneath tend to compress/mask breasts to the point of making their bearer indistinguishable from someone without them) for gameplay reasons as well.

 

You're just being facetious, and arguably trolling.

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I personally find it silly that they choose to distinguish the characters' gender rather than their role in combat, which seems more useful to me honestly.

 

What makes you think that one precludes the other?

 

I'm not sure how you would distinguish between men and women's role in front-line combat; there you either learn to fight well or you die. But it might be interesting to explore the difference between men and women's soul-based abilities.

 

Just to hypothesize wildly: suppose the role of the male is to draw forth a new (or recycled) soul out of the aether; that of the female is to hold and retain the soul while a body forms around it. Thus like a magnet and a battery: the male is able to draw off some soul energy from a source but cannot retain it; the female is able to retain the soul energy but is unable to draw it off.

 

Now apply that to combat: a trained male can use his ability to temporarily disrupt and weaken the soul of an opponent. A trained female can latch on to that (or any other loose) soul fragment and prevent it from being recovered. By working together, they are stronger than they would be individually.

 

 

That's both sexist and reinforces the false notion of gender being binary.

(There is greater diversity in gender than just 'man' or 'woman'.)

 

In relation to the details of your ridiculous notion though, the male is active and the female is passive? He attacks and she controls? How very archaic of you.

(I don't think such backwards gender roles complicating game mechanics are at all desirable by anyone with any sense.)

 

Oh, and your notion is also heteronormative in that it assumes the "ideal" partnership is one of a man and a woman.

(Now where've I heard that silly claim before..?)

 

Somehow I get the feeling you must be trolling.

I'd like to believe no-one is quite so.. ridiculous.

 

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as i and many others mentioned already, there really is no reason to require someone to distinguish between a male and female adventurer. i don't need to come up with changes that mean nothing mechanically in a video game.

They're not coming up with "changes." Female torsos are shaped the way female torsos are shaped, and that is not the same as male torsos. Thus, they're simply applying armor to the female torso, and retaining enough of the female torso such that its silhouette/form remains visually distinct on some of the armor (even the more rigid, plate armor and such seems to be distinct for females, just not strictly because it fits around the chest, because it isn't flexible at all.)

 

Talk about "changes" that wouldn't mean anything, "Let's make sure we spend the time to make sure the female models' torsos become EXACTLY like male models' torsos whenever armor is applied! What? No, no don't just make the armor for that model. Make it for a DIFFERENT model, then make it fit that model, too. Yeah... yeah, 'cause this mechanically means a lot."

 

They already talked about how none of the equipment models are universal -- a male Dwarf gets a different armor model than a male Orlan, etc. Thus, why would female models be any different?

 

Also, how do you know all female torsos in the whole game will look the same? Acknowledging that boobs exist isn't sexist. The female characters are defined by a thousand different things. Saying "why is a female defined by her chest size?" Is like saying "why is a male defined by his lack of chest protrusion and the existence of his extra upper-body musculature?"

 

 

Bodies can vary quite significantly.

There are women taller and more muscled than many men, there are men shorter and slimmer than many women.

(People also exist that are neither men nor women, though the hopes of representation for them in games are very slim indeed.)

 

If you want to retain the shape then do so with the aspects you've mentioned; the typical masculine wider shoulders and the typical feminine wider hips.

(Though in that case one might argue that there should be 'short, medium, tall' and 'slim, average, heavy' options so that people wanting muscled giants [hyperbole] and people wanting skinny leprechauns [again, hyperbole] can better represent their characters.)

[if they're putting in effort to differentiate armour between the sexes (since gender doesn't always match biological sex) then the extra work to make it differentiated between actual body-types seems far more logical a solution.]

{That way I can tell apart my party members by their actual appearance rather than whether their armour as bumps if I peer closely and stop paying attention to the actual gameplay and don't bother to check the more obvious markers as to which character I'm looking at such as their distinguishing features and gear.}

 

Acknowledging that breasts exist may not be sexist, but assuming that all women have breasts that would be noticeable through armour or that no men have breasts can be.

(Though I think perhaps that might come under cissexism/transphobia as well.)

 

I'm curious what those "thousand different things" are and why, if there are already a thousand different things anything else is needed?

Such as armour emphasising breasts?

 

(On the note of Calagund, thank the gods she got proper armour. I hadn't caught the first picture and goddamn the recent fix looks so much better. The earlier version looked absolutely ridiculous and sexualised, which is quite a feat for plate armour. Now if only Obsidian had better reasoning for why they haven't bothered to apply the same measures to other armour styles.)

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Women can (and do/did) wear heavy armour in our own reality too.

You don't need a fantasy for fighters of different genders to be equally capable.

 

-snip-

You're just being facetious, and arguably trolling.

 

 

Oh I'm sure that some women can wear it, but that is not my whole statement. I said that women can't carry plate swing a great sword and hope to do any damage. If you want a parallel to modern times, women still aren't allowed on the front lines. Why? Because they, on average, severely under preform as opposed to their male counterparts.

 

I am not trolling you are just being unrealistic, women and man aren't equal.

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In Soviet Glanfathan, ARMOR wears YOU! 8D

 

Seriously though, Maybe they use different scales/materials/techniques, and maybe females wear the armor commonly enough that they actually take the time to make "tailored" armor.

 

It's not like it's MMO fantasy sex armor, accentuating the female form, showing a bunch of cleavage and skin and serving as a push-up bra. It's barely shaped like there's more chest mass than a dude's armor.

 

Hey, maybe female plate armor should have codpieces, too, and male armor should have boob shapes in it. Oh wait, they just made armor around what was there. Males have something where females don't? Codpiece. Wow... fitting armor around boobs (ever so slightly) is completely different.

 

Just because it didn't actually happen in history doesn't mean it's the most blatantly ridiculous thing ever.

 

I understand why people desire it to be exactly historically accurate and/or "realistic," but I don't understand why such a subtle thing is generating something close to outrage. As if this is just purely unacceptable, and Obsidian has insulted your entire family lineage and challenged you to a duel.

 

Well modern game audience consists of people that get easily butthurt over trivial things. Go figure.

 

 

Or maybe we could not be ridiculous.

I agree the armour is better than other examples, but that doesn't mean it isn't itself flawed.

Others have already covered the reasoning for why it's not only impractical/counter-productive from an immersion perspective but isn't even necessary for distinguishing characters in a gameplay perspective.

 

Both the "realists" and the "gamists" have agreed that actual breast-shaped armour is ridiculous, but they have also both been seen to agree that the reasoning given for the diminished examples Obsidian presented doesn't match up with either perspective.

It's not necessary or even obvious enough for combat/gameplay and it's not sensible in terms of how armour behaves.

 

Also, women in the real world that wear armour aren't distinguishable from men in the real world that wear armour by their armour.

At least not at a glance, with the potential (because they don't apply to everyone) markers being possible wider hips and narrower shoulders.

The only exceptions are where someone doing things "for fun" (ie: the equivalent of impractical ceremonial garb that would be obliterated in combat) decides to make things like chainmail bras or actual boob-plate.

(Though the latter comes with the caveat that, yes, it does pose a serious risk if anything strikes you there or you fall forward, & that the armourer takes no responsibility for it being shoddy design.)

 

Your mention of codpieces is facetious as well, particularly since those were largely designed to prevent "unsightly bulges".

(Men's trousers weren't like they are nowadays.)

They were later used to draw attention to the crotch, as a.. "statement of virility" in a sometimes-quite-obscene manner.

(Though they were much derided by later periods, and quite rightly so I'd say.)

Their reason for inclusion in armour of the period was not practical but because it followed civilian fashion.

(I can't imagine having metal impact into the groin to be a terribly fun experience; it would do just as well to be less obtrusive and thus less likely to take a strike from a blunt weapon.)

Again, an instance of "ceremonial" or "fashion" type armour rather than proper military/adventuring protection.

 

All in all, I think someone uh.. let's phrase this neutrally rather than insultingly.. "complaining" about people taking issue with quite obviously ridiculous norms in videogame development that are (if one is honest) sexist in their nature and implementation.

It's especially ironic if that person makes a point to call others overly sensitive.

(We'll ignore that the term used in this instance is itself questionable, for now.)

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Women can (and do/did) wear heavy armour in our own reality too.

You don't need a fantasy for fighters of different genders to be equally capable.

 

-snip-

You're just being facetious, and arguably trolling.

 

 

Oh I'm sure that some women can wear it, but that is not my whole statement. I said that women can't carry plate swing a great sword and hope to do any damage. If you want a parallel to modern times, women still aren't allowed on the front lines. Why? Because they, on average, severely under preform as opposed to their male counterparts.

 

I am not trolling you are just being unrealistic, women and man aren't equal.

 

Yes, they can.

Your history and biology knowledge could do with an update.

 

As for that "parallel", it is indeed sexist.

The only sources are from extremely biased individuals or groups harbouring archaic misogynistic notions.

What may be true is that women and men tend to (but that is by no means absolute) excel in different roles.

As has been stated and confirmed by military leaders and the likes of emergency fire-fighting services.

Mixed teams do well.

It's the diversity of roles and capabilities that ensures a cohesive unit can perform above expectations.

 

People are equal.

Different, yet still equal.

In the case of military performance, both sex and gender matter less than many would like to claim.

 

Oh, and in the case of a videogame it does not matter at all in any way.

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Oh I'm sure that some women can wear it, but that is not my whole statement. I said that women can't carry plate swing a great sword and hope to do any damage. If you want a parallel to modern times, women still aren't allowed on the front lines. Why? Because they, on average, severely under preform as opposed to their male counterparts.

 

I am not trolling you are just being unrealistic, women and man aren't equal.

 

 

Actually, women are allowed on the front lines. Also history has recorded that women have served on the front lines over the centuries.

 

Also, I know from personal training that there are women who can run rings around the men. There's one woman from the Army in our boot camp sessions that's like a machine. You wouldn't think it if you saw her.

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Yes, they can.

Your history and biology knowledge could do with an update.

 

As for that "parallel", it is indeed sexist.

The only sources are from extremely biased individuals or groups harbouring archaic misogynistic notions.

What may be true is that women and men tend to (but that is by no means absolute) excel in different roles.

As has been stated and confirmed by military leaders and the likes of emergency fire-fighting services.

Mixed teams do well.

It's the diversity of roles and capabilities that ensures a cohesive unit can perform above expectations.

 

People are equal.

Different, yet still equal.

In the case of military performance, both sex and gender matter less than many would like to claim.

 

Oh, and in the case of a videogame it does not matter at all in any way.

 

Facepalm.... Are...are you for real?

 

Women and men aren't equal in strength, they are similar until they hit puberty, then men gain muscle mass much more easily. For an example, man and women of equal height and weight have significant differences in strength. It goes even further then that, a women with more muscle and weight then a male counterpart will still be weaker, the difference in muscle weight would need to be significant for a women to be stronger, because she can't achieve the same muscle density/mass as the male counterpart.

 

As for the parallels, I don't know what sources you were reading but I would drop them immediately. The facts are that most women couldn't finish the training exercises that were designed for combat.

 

Another example, that you can't fudge, is that every sport across the world has a male and female league. I mean for ****s sake Serena Williams the number one tennis player in the women league lost to a man who was 200th on the list.

 

Actually, women are allowed on the front lines. Also history has recorded that women have served on the front lines over the centuries.

 

Also, I know from personal training that there are women who can run rings around the men. There's one woman from the Army in our boot camp sessions that's like a machine. You wouldn't think it if you saw her.

 

Oh I know that there are strong women, that is why I said most. The thing is if we take those exceptions which we would consider the strongest women and put them up against the strong man the difference would still be great. Another problem is the amount of those strong women, they could never be anything but an exception to the rule, while strong man are a dime a dozen.

 

The article you linked says there are 20 women. See my point? Also there is no indicator of how they preformed on the battlefield.

 

Biology and evolution is on the side of man as far as strength is concerned, there is no denying that.

Edited by Sarex

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Oh I know that there are strong women, that is why I said most. The thing is if we take those exceptions which we would consider the strongest women and put them up against the strong man the difference would still be great. Another problem is the amount of those strong women, they could never be anything but an exception to the rule, while strong man are a dime a dozen.

 

The article you linked says there are 20 women. See my point?

 

Biology and evolution is on the side of man as far as strength is concerned, there is no denying that.

 

 

No. There's a minimum bar you need to meet to get into a combat role. There would no doubt be many women who could get in but for different reasons choose not to. It's not that they are physically unable to do so, they may have other reasons not to apply. And it's not about being one of the strongest women, it's about meeting a minimum bar to get in. Also, the article I linked is a year old and was only reported three months after the ban was lifted. So it's not surprising only 20 women applied at the time.

 

Sure, if you get the strongest woman and the strongest man, and test both. No doubt the man will win. But this is not about seeing who is the strongest. It's about who can fit a combat role. And there would be many women who could do it. It's just many women choose not to even if they're physically able to. And that was my overall point. Women can and do fit into combat roles, it's just that most women choose not to for their own reasons.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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No. There's a minimum bar you need to meet to get into a combat role. There would no doubt be many women who could get in but for different reasons choose not to. It's not that they are physically unable to do so, they may have other reasons not to apply. And it's not about being one of the strongest women, it's about meeting a minimum bar to get in.

 

Sure, if you get the strongest woman and the strongest man, and test both. No doubt the man will win. But this is not about seeing who is the strongest. It's about who can fit a combat role. And there would be many women who could do it. It's just many women choose not to even if they're physically able to. And that was my overall point. Women can and do fit into combat roles, it's just that most women choose not to for their own reasons.

 

How do you know that, as far as I have read women failed the combat tests in the US in droves, there were a few exceptions, but the general consensus was the women were unfit for the front lines.

 

Strongest women against strong men, not strongest. As for women being able to but don't want to, that is bs that you are thinking is true but isn't at all corroborated by anything. Soldiers carry up to 45 kilograms in to battle, they need to be able to run/walk long distances with that weight if it's needed. If you are going to keep insisting that they can preform as good as men, why are there no women is special forces or seal teams or any other elite branches? The army doesn't need female soldiers that can preform on the borderline, when they have man who can far outstrip them in performance.

 

As for the history, yeah there are women that were participating in wars but they were not on the front lines hacking away with swords.

 

edit: a good analogy that I read: "imagine putting cheerleaders through similar training to play in the National Football League.

"In the football analogy, if the cheerleaders do well in the training facility with the men with adjusted scores and then they get suited up and sent out to play in the football game – well, guess what? They don't last beyond the first whistle," she pointed out. "And the football game is non-lethal combat."

"

edit2: Heh, I guess they are going to open up the combat roles to women in 2015/2016. They just need to design new tests.

Edited by Sarex

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No. There's a minimum bar you need to meet to get into a combat role. There would no doubt be many women who could get in but for different reasons choose not to. It's not that they are physically unable to do so, they may have other reasons not to apply. And it's not about being one of the strongest women, it's about meeting a minimum bar to get in.

 

Sure, if you get the strongest woman and the strongest man, and test both. No doubt the man will win. But this is not about seeing who is the strongest. It's about who can fit a combat role. And there would be many women who could do it. It's just many women choose not to even if they're physically able to. And that was my overall point. Women can and do fit into combat roles, it's just that most women choose not to for their own reasons.

 

The army doesn't need female soldiers that can preform on the borderline, when they have man who can far outstrip them in performance.

 

As for the history, yeah there are women that were participating in wars but they were not on the front lines hacking away with swords.

 

Just something to think about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women_warriors_in_folklore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women_in_early_modern_warfare.

And at least in the Finnish Defence Forces some women are trained to fight in the front lines. http://www.puolustusvoimat.fi/portal/puolustusvoimat.fi/!ut/p/c5/vZTLjqpAFEW_pT9Aq4o3w-Ipj6IQiufEaGvToiIGBJuvb296cAc311GHs4c756xk7-SAEjzVbIdjte2P12Z7BjkopY22Tplt8hTalBehs0ZMsHwdWYoAMpBDYRPXX60znaaoniIvrk2esGQkhuWReh-SWnOYETns1E2ElZRMlt_XEUFERam1NnGAC5kX3p63yj80m5OUlQuRSj2iQYf6MJX9EOk2fO1D9ONLvOmZgS0gO9QF6MRGorJE5u1EerlPI_nHh_8ZDEEBSvlvGjQODegQ7FicGkBNQID9YhovWd6cLH4-lg5nZHEzsmbsS5-xr3jGvuLf7csF5XF3WY7vlyVcipIiKiqEHKfIgvz8JFlZfD2MzhkNnG7ciFOCViqryHw4GfZv63t2qj893tupB9jmfR-yu0zCxeZ4FStSFfa9F9FHNyQMu0WZ4JxGONdGqWGBRquzF2doesCszz8wVNJ3dzwztG3o2FttOPnVhiuuOBLbljK38VLh1twfi84tcbbYnYI4RcmaDiY9kyHkVrescAcz7-hqv0-VZjx2MghW18sBtJehNaPVlP-jA_4Gkq5Pog!!/dl3/d3/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/?pcid=2bd7450042b77b00aa0cff433f46c91a

 

I've personally "fought" against women in simulated battles (guerrilas vs military police, most women are enlisted as military police).

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"Maybe your grandiose vocabulary is a pathetic compensation for an insufficiency in the nether regions of your anatomy."

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Please don't turn it this into gender roles discussion; how Women portrayed in games, that are marketed for teenage boys; and or more boob armor hyperbole's... There are other threads to go about this (maybe this: Female gamers having a hard time in gaming communites

 

Here it is about the best way to add distinguishing details to this IE style game, with top down view and small characters. If you have another distinguishing feature or a better way to go about this one (as oppose to what our artist who studied and researched this before hand) please do tell.

 

Also anyone who got distracted by the models in the open post or character artworks, here is a refernce to how our characters models actually look in-game, if you squeeze real hard then there are maybe two (three?) female characters there. Which is why most of us here see those detail as very subtle and tasteful thus welcome distinguishing feature, the more detail the better.

10535.png

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How do you know that, as far as I have read women failed the combat tests in the US in droves, there were a few exceptions, but the general consensus was the women were unfit for the front lines.

 

As for the history, yeah there are women that were participating in wars but they were not on the front lines hacking away with swords.

 

edit: a good analogy that I read: "imagine putting cheerleaders through similar training to play in the National Football League.

"In the football analogy, if the cheerleaders do well in the training facility with the men with adjusted scores and then they get suited up and sent out to play in the football game – well, guess what? They don't last beyond the first whistle," she pointed out. "And the football game is non-lethal combat."

"

edit2: Heh, I guess they are going to open up the combat roles to women in 2015/2016. They just need to design new tests.

 

 

Hang on. You say there were a few exceptions. You just made my point. Women can get into combat roles.

 

And there weren't women hacking away with swords? History says otherwise. Read up on stuff like Celtic women and Shieldmaidens. There are other historical records that show women have been in battle through the centuries.

 

And the analogy is just plain silly. Professional footballers against cheerleaders? You couldn't get a worse analogy if you tried.

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I don't agree with the distinguishable argument but I do think that the avatars in-game look very good.



"Maybe your grandiose vocabulary is a pathetic compensation for an insufficiency in the nether regions of your anatomy."

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Hang on. You say there were a few exceptions. You just made my point. Women can get into combat roles.

 

And there weren't women hacking away with swords? History says otherwise. Read up on stuff like Celtic women and Shieldmaidens. There are other historical records that show women have been in battle through the centuries.

 

And the analogy is just plain silly. Professional footballers against cheerleaders? You couldn't get a worse analogy if you tried.

 

Yeah there were 2 women that passed the minimal requirements, big whop, women can now strangle men in close quarter combat. We are talking about a women wearing a full plate, wielding a big ass great axe or a mace or a greatsword and still being able to fight. Are you telling me that women can do that?

 

Gods, are you quoting myths and folklore?

 

Why is it silly? A cheerleader is an average women, she gets put through the same training, she gets knocked out after the first whistle.

Edited by Sarex

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Hang on. You say there were a few exceptions. You just made my point. Women can get into combat roles.

 

And there weren't women hacking away with swords? History says otherwise. Read up on stuff like Celtic women and Shieldmaidens. There are other historical records that show women have been in battle through the centuries.

 

And the analogy is just plain silly. Professional footballers against cheerleaders? You couldn't get a worse analogy if you tried.

 

 

Gods, are you quoting myths and folklore?

If you took the time to actually read the links I provided, you'd notice that it's not all about myths and folklore... Also, as mentioned before, I have personal experience of women fighting alongside men.

 

Edit: However, women have not been accepted to join the recon or guerrilla forces because they have not passed the physical tests but guerrillas operate behind the frontiles haha.

Edited by Forlorn Hope
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"Maybe your grandiose vocabulary is a pathetic compensation for an insufficiency in the nether regions of your anatomy."

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We are talking about a women wearing a full plate, wielding a big ass great axe or a mace or a greatsword and still being able to fight. Are you telling me that women can do that?

 

Haven't you watched the Game of Thrones? I hear there's this character called Brienne of Tarth. :p



"Maybe your grandiose vocabulary is a pathetic compensation for an insufficiency in the nether regions of your anatomy."

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Haven't you watched the Game of Thrones? I hear there's this character called Brienne of Tarth. :p

 

You laugh but there are women like that today, just watch women raw lifting competitions. As I said they are the exception and they have access to training equipment high calorie food and strength gaining supplements. None of which was available in the past.

 

 

If you took the time to actually read the links I provided, you'd notice that it's not all about myths and folklore... Also, as mentioned before, I have personal experience of women fighting alongside men.

 

Edit: However, women have not been accepted to join the recon or guerrilla forces because they have not passed the physical tests but guerrillas operate behind the frontiles haha.

 

Shield Maidens were found as defenders in armor (light?) who lost (how effective were they?).

 

It's not just elite branches of the military. It's in everyday sports too, womens league exists for a reason.

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Stop talking about women. There are no women on the internet. None of them will see you trying to be a social justice warrior and if you want to impress a woman crush their spirit IRL instead.

 

/thread.

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If you don't get any women to talk with you on the Internet, Sensuki, it might not be because they're aren't any. Just sayin'...

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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No one talks to people they don't know on the internet anymore because of Facebook. 

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I can't believe you're taking what I am saying seriously

 

Don't try to deny it either as your post history has a tendency of massive sjw.

Edited by Sensuki

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Excerpt from War and Gender, Cambridge Press, 2001, by Joshua Goldstein:

 

Strength Strength is clearly more influenced by culture than is height. Most US 18-year-old boys have spent far more time than girls in rough-and-tumble play, vigorous sports, and other activities which use and stimulate the development of strength. Their female counterparts have had much less strength-promoting activity, and this was more true of the sample of US 18-year-olds measured in 1982 (see below) than it is today, thanks to girls’ sports.

Furthermore, different kinds of physical strength show different gender patterns. Women are constitutionally stronger than men – they live longer and are more resilient against fatigue, illness, famine, childbirth (!), and so forth. “Anyone who has observed women of Africa on lengthy treks carrying heavy loads of firewood and water cannot help seeing how arbitrary our indicators of strength are.”64

Data on strength are available from the US military – not an ideal sample, but similar to the general population in height. A 1982 report rates five areas of strength and gives male soldiers’ strength relative to females as follows: upper-body, 72 percent higher; leg extensor, 54 percent; trunk flexor, 47 percent; lean body mass, 33 percent; and aerobic capacity, 28 percent. Upper-body strength, the area of greatest gender difference, is emphasized in military training. Field exercises in which troops march sustained distances carrying heavy packs seem to be a key point at which men rate women as inferior. One West Point colonel said, “The women just drop.” On the other hand, sometimes women can use their bodies in different ways than men to achieve the same result.65

Lifting capacity shows the greatest gender disparity – probably in part because far more young men than women in US culture in 1982 engaged in weight training. The 1982 data indicate an average lifting capacity for women soldiers of 66 pounds, versus 119 for men (80 percent higher). The difference in lifting capacity is especially critical at around 100–120 pounds. An Air Force test for lifting 110 pounds was passed by 68 percent of men and 1 percent of women. I do not know how important lifting capacity is in the range of capabilities that enhance combat effectiveness, but it does resonate with the clincher line of the retired colonel’s argument quoted above (p. 159), that a weakling woman would be unable to save her wounded comrade’s life in battle by dragging him away. Thus, the 80 percent difference here seems far more likely than the 8 percent difference in height to explain why so few women participate in combat.66

Actually, however, the key question is not the difference in gender averages, but rather how much the bell-curves overlap. Figure 3.10 shows the data on lifting capability from the US military data. The curves indeed overlap less than for height, but not much less – still more than 10 percent of the military women have greater lifting capacity than the lowest 10 percent of men. Recall that these data are not biological givens but reflect the influence of a culture where men try to grow up big and strong, girls thin and pretty (back in 1982). Remember, too, that lifting capacity (part of upper-body strength) is the area of greatest gender difference among all the kinds of strength that go into combat (running, enduring fatigue, etc.). Thus, even the most pronounced gender differences regarding height and strength alike appear to show a nontrivial overlap of bell-curves, albeit nowhere near gender equality.

 

Speed and endurance In addition to being large and strong, combat soldiers travel long distances on foot, sometimes at high speed. This requires running speed and endurance. It is an especially significant capability because of claims that it was important in our evolutionary past. (Some scholars see the human body as especially adapted to running over open terrain, in the context of long-distance hunting on the African plains. This capability would thus be quite primordial in the evolution of war. Evidence on this question is disputed, however.)67

In speed, as in size or strength, men score above women on average but men’s and women’s bell-curves overlap. I calculated the curves for the 1997 New York Marathon, which had posted on the Internet the rank and time of each of 30,427 people to finish the race (nearly three-quarters of them male). Figure 3.11 shows average speed over the 26.2 mile race. As the figure shows, although the median woman ran 11 percent slower than the median man, the great majority of men finish well behind the fastest women, and the great majority of women finish well ahead of the slowest men. The sample represented here is not typical of the general population. The bulk of the curve represents the most motivated and skilled long-distance runners from the New York area – less than 1 percent of the population. The right-hand end of the curve is even less representative since many of the fastest runners in the world compete in the New York Marathon. For example, none of the first 13 finishers were Americans. They came from Kenya, Italy, Mexico, and other countries. Presumably this elite sample would exaggerate gender difference, representing as it does the tails of the two bell-curves.68

 

Implications These data on overlapping curves imply that if armies included just the largest, strongest, fastest soldiers, then we should find many cases of women’s participation in combat, albeit in smaller numbers than for men. The actual gender composition of such an army would be determined by the extent to which a population was mobilized into the army. If being a warrior were an elite occupation practiced by a select few, say 5 or 10 percent of the population, then the best army might contain virtually all men. If, however, a society needed to induct half of the entire population into the army, it would score highest on size and strength by including something like 85 percent men and 15 percent women.69

Perhaps the virtually all-male armies found historically result from warfare’s being just an occupation of a small elite. This makes sense in that most people most of the time in the world are not at war, and in many wars only a minority of the population needs be mobilized as combat soldiers. In reality, however, the extent of mobilization of populations into warfare varies greatly from culture to culture and through time. These variations should be reflected, if Hypothesis 3C is correct (and given the data on overlapping bell-curves), in patterns of women’s participation in combat. We may frame this as a corollary to Hypothesis 3C – that is, a testable statement that should be true if the hypothesis is true: the participation of women in combat increases where mobilization for war is more extensive.

This corollary, however, receives very weak empirical support at best. True, in those few cases where nontrivial numbers of women participated in combat historically, extreme warfare forced extreme mobilization of a population (see pp. 60–70). However, these particular cases are a small minority of the cases in which societies centered around war or faced dire war crises. In the great majority of such cases, even when most of the male population lived by war most of the time, virtually no women participated in combat (see pp. 10–21). These cases include preindustrial warrior societies such as the Sambia of New Guinea and the Yanomamö of Brazil, as well as industrialized societies engaged in “total war” such as the World Wars. So the corollary would lead us to expect far more women in combat and far more fluctuation over time in numbers of women in combat than we actually find.70

The problems are compounded by a second corollary: the introduction of firearms to warfare, both locally and in a global-historic sense, should increase the participation of women in combat (by making size-strength differences less decisive). The problem is that this hardly ever happened. Furthermore, this point can be extended to all kinds of forms of industrialized warfare in which machines rather than human bodies alone provide size and strength – tank warfare, air combat, and so forth. The point is not that strength does not matter at all in these occupations, but rather that the introduction of such forms of warfare shifts the importance of body strength in combat forces relative to other combat skills of various kinds. Yet the historical mechanization of war produced little change in the gender ratio of combat forces over the past century – a problem for Hypothesis 3C.71

To consider an even more basic corollary: most wars should be won by the side with the larger, stronger soldiers. If size and strength are so critical to military effectiveness, they must frequently determine battle outcomes. But in fact this is not true. Military historians emphasize the importance of such factors as strategy, discipline, fighting spirit, accurate intelligence, and (especially) the quality of weaponry, in determining the outcome of battles – more than the importance of one side’s physical strength. Indeed, the one war that America has lost, Vietnam, was to an army whose members were substantially shorter and less strong than Americans.72

The evolutionary implications of this corollary also run into trouble, since size and strength apparently have not been “selected for” in humans. Compared with species closely related to humans, notably the other great apes, humans have a relatively small gender difference in size. Gorilla and orangutan adult males, for example, are typically almost twice as large as females. Larger size exacts an evolutionary cost, mainly in higher food requirements, which would be worth it only if size and strength mattered greatly in fighting. Apparently for humans they did not. Men were probably about 35 percent heavier than women several million years ago, but only about 15 percent larger starting before Neanderthals several hundred thousand years ago, remaining around 15 percent heavier in modern humans. Furthermore, modern humans totally displaced the substantially stronger and larger Neanderthals about 30,000 years ago.73

Finally, if gender differences in size underlay gender differences in participation in war, then we should find among primates that species with large gender differences in body weight should also have low female participation in intergroup fighting. In fact, however, across 21 primate species, these two variables are uncorrelated.74

Overall, then, the data on size and strength give limited support at best to Hypothesis 3C. The major problem is that in the context of overlapping bell-curves, the considerable variations across time and space – in mobilization of a population for war, in size and strength, and in the importance of size and strength to war – do not produce the variations predicted by Hypothesis 3C in terms of gender composition of war-fighting forces.

 

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Important points: Goldstein emphasizes how much overlap there are in strength and stamina bell-curves like these. Add to that cultural differences and various human genetic groupings, and you get heaps and heaps of women that are stronger than lots of lots of men.

@Sarex: There are literally millions of women out there that would wear that plate and great axe better and longer than you (using you as a random sample of a male), just based on statistics. So, drop this "it's a myth!". Xena, the Warrior Princess, is out there, and she is mighty angry with you right now. ;)

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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