A family that lived in a rural area in Germany during World War II may not have suffered greatly. No bombs fell on it. No troops invaded. The family may have had a small farm, and therefore had access to meat, butter, and other consumer goods that were regarded as delicacies by the end of the war. But if that family lost a husband or a son during the war, as a result of conscription, the widows did not regard themselves as better off because of a higher ratio of per capita investment.
– Gary North, “The Blessings of Destruction”
Reading this, what jumps into my mind’s eye is some corporate-trained Vilani drone from a wealthy Imperial Core world, explaining to an increasingly hostile group of Solomani widows in the Quarter why the deaths of their husbands and sons is good for the interstellar economy.
If I was a betting man, I’d put money on the likelihood of that outsider PR flack still being alive, oh, 10 minutes from now…
“It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two, Master Warden, and those who have not swords can still die upon them.” – Eowyn, from The Return of the King
The Arabs, East Indians, and the Bwap are all patriarchal cultures, and will not arm their women (Bwap: females) during wartime. Violence is solely a male endeavor for these local cultures.
Now, there are real benefits to such policies, as it tends to put women off-limits during the run-of-the-mill testosterone-driven conflicts within a society. Even assuming invasion and conquest, the women become war prizes, instead of simply being dead like their menfolk. Wartime rape remains as likely as you expect: such is the tradeoff for being able to live, and so care for your surviving children.
Life is ugly in wartime, especially for the losing side. And warzones tend to be areas where choices between highly unpleasant alternatives can be found in abundance.
The Vilani (and Vilani-style cultures) don’t fight the way the Solomani fight.
Due to the early introduction of electricity, mechanized war, and computer-assisted warfare – millennia before the Solomani entered the Industrial Revolution – Vilani women have long been welcomed into the various Vilani military forces.
(Sometimes after bearing their required four children: sometimes before. It depends on what the Tradition mandates, in a given circumstance. And no, Vilani gender roles has nothing to do with revolutionary mores (which they greatly despise), and everything to do with practical, pragmatic realities.)
As is well-known, the Vilani solidly affirm genocide as a weapon of war (the very notion of ‘rules of war’ is patently ridiculous in their pragmatic eyes): but even they don’t like to waste useful labour, if they don’t have to. Still, a subjugated people should be wary about making the Vilani occupation too expensive: these conquerors are much more likely to glass a world, then give up their demands for comprehensive, exceptionless obedience and utter cultural domination.
“But if the Vilani were so hard-core, how on earth did Earth survive the more dangerous early Interstellar Wars?”
“Does the phrase ‘a thousand years of decadence’ mean anything to you? Frankly, I’m very impressed that they were able to put up a substantial fight for 200 years!” (AD 2110-2299, by the way)
Like their ancestral wolves, all Vargr hunt, war, and kill, male and female alike. They are somewhat different in style, though: males tend to go for flashy, charismatic kills, while females are more businesslike and efficient. As both sexes are quite comfortable with violence, and are armed with teeth and claws, rape isn’t part of the equation: for Vargr, aggression isn’t keyed to sexuality as it is for men, but simply to the kill and to the feast (and the in-pack status contests).
Such hard restrictions between violence and pleasure is absolutely essential for a carnivorous species: a pack that violate such mores will become a very extinct pack, very quickly. Even the hyper-violent Blood Vargr look out for their packmates like nobody’s business, and are very gentle with their pups… all things considered.
Of course, pregnant female Vargr are not seen on the battlefront (excluding invasions into their territory), and cubs are not to be found except for pacified areas, where the older ones can practice their hunting and killing techniques on weakened or wounded prey.