Thursday, July 12, 2012
Back in 1934 Robert E. Howard help create a whole new genre of sword fantasy, the fearsome woman warrior. Her name was Red Sonya and the story was The Shadow of the Vulture. This inspired the later comic hero Red Sonja and then a movie was made which put Red Sonja into the Age of Conan. So the ring linking two Robert E. Howard characters was forged.
Red Sonya/Red Sonja had another impact in the world of fiction. More than a new genre was created, a new term was also birthed. From thence onwards any story that featured a woman warrior in skimpy armor was called a 'Chick in Chainmail' story. Esther Friesner and Baen Publishing then proceeded to turn the concept on its head with the publication of Chicks in Chainmail, a collection of short stories featuring woman warriors who proceed to prove who's really the baddest warriors.
So where is this going this post? Is it supposed to be just on fiction and fantasy? Not really. Like the authors in Esther Friesner's book, the United States Army has come to a realization of a different sort, body armor designed for men really does not properly fit all the women in the military. So they have gone back to the design board to address this uncomfortable matter. I just have a problem with the Army invoking another fictional female warrior in their attempt to sell the new designs - Xena. One thing I can say is, if the new armor is based on the Xena armor then the US military won't see any chicks in high-tech chainmail. I am reserving judgement on the whole idea after the Army finally realized that the $5 billion ACU program was a dangerous bust.
Looking forward in time, if the Army is successful in creating more female friendly body armor, will the Knight Sabre HardSuits be far behind?