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62

SHORT ANSWER In antiquity, the Scythians (Eurasian nomads) and the Sarmatians (nomads of Iranian origin who moved westwards, gradually overwhelming the Scythians) had significant numbers of female warriors. Estimates based on archaeological discoveries range from 15% to over 30% of women who were warriors. The precise role of these fighters remains unclear, ...


52

The First World War is often identified as a turning point in men's hair length. Prior to the war, both men and women commonly kept long hair, at least in western societies (and the Far East). This became problematic during the Great War, where armies encountered severe hygiene issues fighting in the trenches. Under the unsanitary conditions of the front, ...


35

It's obvious that having short or long hair is an identity sign for men and women respectively, more or less worldwide. No, it's not obvious, especially not in history. You may be mistaking a Western, Roman Catholic, modern behavior for something universal. The Romans were a little strange in their belief that men should shave and wear their hair short(...


28

The excellent answer above by Lars Bosteen details a significant exception to the case outlined below. Perhaps additional exceptional instances remain to be uncovered in the historical and archaeological records. Let's start by parsing the question actually asked; rather than imagining a different question that might appeal. Is there any evidence of ...


12

Keep in mind that most of China was controlled by local warlords (or Imperial Japan) throughout much of this period. A lot of the time there wasn't much of a "under the Republican government" to speak of since they were effectively ruled by regional strongmen. However, generally speaking, women (particularly those from literati families) experienced a ...


11

SHORT ANSWER Most likely yes when compared to men under 20 or maybe 30 years old. The available evidence suggests that young males had short hair and young females long hair, while mature males generally had long hair and married females had short hair. DETAILED ANSWER In general, that would depend on the age of the man. There is some dispute as to at ...


11

In his momentous study L'origine des systèmes familiaux, Emmanuel Todd notes that, to the best of a rather sparse archival knowledge, first, the status of women in Eurasia in the 5000BC-1500CE interval seems to historically follow a lowering trajectory, second, this lowering trajectory seems to proceed in a top/down fashion and, third, the adoption of anti-...


11

Scholars have noted that pre-agricultural societies often have more egalitarian gender norms than agricultural societies. This had led to theories that agriculture led to the development of inegalitarian gender norms, because it privileged men's body strength. A more refined version of thesis was first posited by Ester Boserup in "Woman's Role in Economic ...


9

I've argued elsewhere that it depends on cultural importance of blood lines. In particular, whether surnames arose as a mark of lineage, or for ease of identification. I believe that applies here as well: Cultures with strong views of family tend to adopt a collective representative name. In those without, surnames tend to come about for identifying ...


8

There is no clear source about the maximum length of hair known to me, but it's possible to glean information from some related topics. The Mishnah (redacted c. 200 in Roman Palestine), based on Leviticus 19:27, requires a minimum permissible length for the sideburns of the hair, but not a maximum (Makkot 3:5, BT 20b). The fact that a minimum was defined ...


8

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 seems to reflect the kind of data you are looking for. The deaths would not be strongly gender related, and the time frame coincides generally with the time frame of your theoretical query. The deaths in England specifically are discussed at Historic UK: During the pandemic of 1918/19, over 50 million people died ...


7

Hasidic Jews. Nicholas I in 1851 forbid the practice of women shaving their heads (remember that Hasidic men do not cut their hair, so their hair is longer). hat tip to user6591 for correcting my error. Hasidic men do not cut their sidelocks, so on the aggregate, Hasidic men's hair is longer than that of Hasidic women (or at least those that practice the ...


7

Moving away from some of the more obvious examples which are easily googled (and focusing on Africa, which gets far too little attention on History SE), consider Queen Amina of the Hausa state of Zazzau (in what is now northern Nigeria). Information on her comes mostly (but not exclusively) from the Kano chronicle. Leaving aside more legendary accounts, ...


7

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence ... ... but if you are looking for modern Western type of politically correct army, you are not going to find it in antiquity. No nation at that time would send child-bearing young women to be slaughtered in a role that ill suited them. Unlike us, ancients were not so deluded to pretend that upper body strength ...


7

Normally, there was no sense in adopting girls. There are only two known examples, and both took place under very specific circumstances. Livia Drusilla was formally adopted by Augustus' testament, so she got the name of Augusta in AD 14. On the first day of the Senate he allowed nothing to be discussed but the funeral of Augustus, whose will, which was ...


6

If the question is What's the most ancient known example of a woman challenging feminine gender roles? then I understand that to mean mainly a real woman doing the 'challenging'. And of course within a society that first developed an increasingly patriarchical system in the first place. A more egalitarian hunter-gatherer community has not that much need ...


5

If we accept mythological and "divine" figures as having "divinity" or being "sacred", here is a short list from the Hindu pantheon, and by no means exhaustive: Ila: Is both sexes, changing sex seasonally. Married to Budh or Mercury-God (planet Mercury). Goes through many transformations. In the Ramayana, the Linga Purana and the Mahabharata, Ila grows ...


5

You may be thinking of the Vanatinai people. From a NY Times article on the Vanatinai: Dr. Lepowsky found evidence of the equality on every hand. Unlike other Pacific cultures, Vanatinai has no special men's meeting houses or male cult activities. The language is gender-neutral, with no pronouns like he or she. Boys as well as girls care for ...


4

This is much older than the first world war. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:14 "Does not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him?" This shows that at least in the Hebraic world in the Roman period it was expected that men have short hair.


4

Aetheflaed comes to mind if for no other reason than that she militarized bees. Æthelred died in 911 and Æthelflæd then ruled Mercia as Lady of the Mercians. The accession of a female ruler in Mercia is described by the historian Ian Walker as "one of the most unique events in early medieval history". Alfred had built a network of fortified burhs and ...


4

The anthropologist Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger (1966) is a foundational text on pollution and taboos which won't lay your question to rest—and neither will this answer—but does present a model of pollution taboos consistent with the hypothesis that cultures with strongly held beliefs regarding purity are likely to find more reason to police the bodies ...


3

Looking through the list linked by Marakai in the comments, the best match appears to be Shang general Fu Hao. Her biography indicates she commanded several campaigns victoriously, successfully conquering several neighbours of the Shang dynasty, and was the most powerful general of her time. Comparatively, the other people listed either didn't command, didn'...


3

In the eighteenth century, Australia was more of an open-air prison then a national society in its own right, and so there was no fundamental problem with this gender imbalance. Unfortunately I haven't found good data for the situation in the nineteenth century. On the one hand, the increase in voluntary settlers in that period may have increased the ratio ...


3

Just a thought but before World War One men generally had longer hair and beards. However, short hair on men has often been enforced as a mean of control, in police, military and other forces that require obedience and discipline. Slaves and defeated armies were often required to shave their heads. There may be some sort of connection there. As the men in ...


3

Andrew Carnegie had one daughter (Margaret Carnegie Miller) and no sons. She inherited his money and was trustee for his charitable foundation, but Andrew Carnegie gave the bulk of his fortune to charity (about $350 million out of $480 million, which was a lot in 1900!).


2

I believe there were some North American tribes where that was common, but I'm having trouble coming up with proof. There's surprisingly little writing on traditional native hairstyles for women, particularly in individual tribes. However, its incontrovertible that many native men grew their hair as long as possible, so in their case it was at least as long ...


2

Reminds me of this aspect of Korean culture: The haenyeo, literally meaning "sea women", are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju. They are representative of the matriarchal family structure of Jeju [...] It could also be said that women simply were more adapted for the job, with their bodies keeping them warmer and being more suited to ...


2

There was a Persian satrap called Mania. She became satrap in 399 BC. Polyaenus says in Strategems Mania, the wife of Zenis prince of Dardanus, governed the realm after the death of her husband, with the assistance of Pharnabazus. She always went to battle, drawn in a chariot; she gave her orders at the time of action, formed her lines, and rewarded ...


1

One example of a female character challenging hypocrisy in gender roles would be Calypso's speech (Odyssey, book 5). When Hermes was sent to tell her to set Odysseus free, she comments on how goddesses are not allowed to have mortal lovers (while the male gods had affairs with mortal women freely). So he spoke, and Calypso, the beautiful goddess, ...


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