Scandinavia and the World
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Comments #9435438:


Keep your hands to yourself 18 12, 11:23pm

@Draxynnic
Not really. I could write a whole dissertation about this stuff, but it comes down to practicality. [and of course, some solid generalisation for the sake of brevity.]

The arena where women would be expected to fight in ( the males having failed/died) was Last Line of Defense, near the "Nest". This means close quarters warfare in bottlenecks, where weapons requiring room to swing are pretty much useless ( old-style swords have no piercing tip to speak of....) , so it makes sense to train in stuff you can use in a small space *and* improvise.
The wakasashi was specifically *meant* for this kind of close quarter fighting. But a spear is ultimately just a knife on a stick for reach. The axe, meat chopper, skillet.. the list goes on.. Plenty of tools that can double up as weapons, most of them found in and around the kitchen..
Swords are useless as tools. They are true weapons, only suitable for very specific application of lethal violence, and as such would ever only be useful in/for the warrior class of any society. Which for various ( and very solid biological/ethological ) reasons is pretty much exclusively male.

There's also the bit where "division of labour" and the need for training comes in: It takes pretty extensive and dedicated training to be actually useful with a sword. Contrary to popular opinion it does *not* take huge strength to use a sword, but a hell of a lot of training. Which means time free to do so. And women generally have better things to do than to train for killing. They've got males for that..
Strength wouldn't have been an issue in a society where *everything* was done by manual labour anyway. The women were , by "modern" standards *strong* Farmgirls. None of that "Lady" crap for most of them, even if they were high status..
But only the high status males had the wealth *and* the time to dedicate to training in the use of such a specific weapon as a sword ( let alone *own* one) on top of all the other training they received as males and warriors. Which pretty much also explains the saex as a male weapon, because effective grappling/wrestling takes dedicated training as well, and fighting with a saex meant exactly that: close quarters lethal grappling.
Both styles of fighting require *much* more training than the effective use of bows and spears, and will ultimately be exclusive to the warrior class in a society, which , because of our monkey social ancestry, is pretty much exclusively male.

It's a matter of offense ( including war) being a male "function" , and defense being a female "function" when it comes to gender division of the art of violence in our species ( and nearly all social mammals, and most animals in general ). The tools associated with violence will, as a result, inevitably be associated with the "agressive gender" socially and culturally.
There's variations and the odd exception, but globally you find this pattern everywhere mankind has gotten to "culture". To the point where cultures that have been isolated, but living in similar circumstances ( like the early vikings and japanese ) end up with pretty much the same division in both labour, and gender-associated rules of conduct when it comes to weaponry ( and a whole lot more...)





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