Saturday, November 15, 2014
Warrior Women - more than just Amazons...
Posted by: Sheryl Nantus
When you think of women warriors it's natural to think of the Amazons - women who were vicious fighters and who, according to myth, cut off their left breast in order to be more efficient archers.
(BTW I've done archery and there's no real problem having breasts. Unless they're quite large and I'm somewhat lacking in that department. Besides, Katniss seems to do pretty darned well with two, right?)
It's easy to forget that we have some more recent examples of strong women kicking butt and taking names - I'm talking about the Night Witches during World War Two.
The Night Witches were squadrons made up of Russian female pilots who held the line against the German invasion of their homeland - flying old biplanes to bomb and harass the German military at night. They would cut their engines and drift in silently to drop their bombs, earning themselves the title of "Night Witches".
Now just imagine that for a second. This is World War TWO. And these women are flying 1920's ancient biplanes over enemy lines and dropping bombs. Aside from the chance of instant death from being shot down by superior firepower there was always the horrific danger of surviving and being captured by German troops who didn't have much respect for enemy troops and especially for women who silently killed at night.
And as far as lack of respect went - the Russian military wasn't impressed with the idea to start with. If they had more resources at the time the Night Witches might not have even been given a chance but the war was new and the Russians suffering from a lack of everything. Putting women up in biplanes in near-suicide missions was supposed to be a stop-gap trick, something to hold the Germans at bay.
It did more than that. It terrified the German army and created a legend that stands to this day. Comic books and movies have been made about these brave women who risked death and worse than death to defend their homeland.
There's a wonderful article about the Night Witches at Mental Floss where you can learn more about this ground-breaking group of warrior women.
From Amazons to Night Witches, from today's bad-ass Marines to my beloved Royal Canadian Mounted Police there are plenty of women who have spilled their blood protecting their homes. Many wore uniforms but many never did, keeping their homes and families safe under dire circumstances while their men went off to war.
In my book they're all Wonder Women.