This was a tidbit of particular interest to me from the article I link to below:
Indeed, some scholars say they believe the reason Muslim countries have been disproportionately afflicted by terrorism is not Islamic teachings about infidels or violence but rather the low levels of female education and participation in the labor force.
Like everyone else, I, too, am curious about how a female dominated society whipped up into religious fervor would act. There’s a lot of reasoning that societies of women will be inherently more peaceful than those where men predominate in public life.
As you’ll see in God’s War (and much of my short fiction), this isn’t a belief I ascribe to. The issue may not even be religion (see the recent reaction in the U.S. to healthcare reform). I think there’s a deeply human fear of change and “the other,” and I just don’t believe that switching the genders of the participants will change anything.
It’s like saying that since I’m a woman, it’s impossible for me to be a misogynist. Um, hello? I was raised in a misogynist society. I’ve said on many occasions that I’m one of the biggest misogynists I know. I’m *aware* of that casual misogyny (and casual racism, also a byproduct of growing up in a racist society), and I work hard every day to fight it. But if you put somebody – no matter their gender – into a society that glorifies war/conquest/God/bloody triumph, you will create a violent people.
Viking women spent a good deal of time alone on their islands while men were away, and they were more than capable of slaughtering any wayward band of mauraders who came their way. I think that glorifying violence is what makes people violent. If violence truly was considered repugnant, effeminate (for lack of a better word), cowardly, debase, and truly morally wrong under any circumstances, our lives – in a society run by women or men – would be far different.
The question then being, “Are societies of women less likely to glorify violence than societies of men?” To which I’d reply, “It depends.”
Where did their beliefs come from? Have they risen to “power” from within a violent society? Did they have to do it violently? Is there religion/society already glorifying violence? How would they distort themselves to fit the culture? Because let’s take a good, hard look at how women distort themselves to fit into our culture. Think about that for a minute. Old beliefs remain, and if you’re a women dominated society that’s constantly under attack from the outside, you’re either going to find ways to defend yourself… or your women-friendly society isn’t going to last very long.