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The Witcher critic says “no woman can fight with swords” in sexist take down of the show

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Megan Murray
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The Witcher’s female characters have come under fire from sexist criticism for swearing, eating meat and sword fighting. Yes, really.

Another day, another misogynist spouting rubbish. This time, though, the comments of a host on conservative news site, The Daily Wire, have really gotten under the skin of social media users and The Witcher fans alike, after he boldly claimed that “no women can fight with swords.” Despite having, you know, absolutely no evidence to back this theory up.

If you’ve heard of The Witcher, you’ll know that the recently released Netflix series is set in a medieval fantasy world, where royalty, sorcerers, soldiers, monsters and magical beings often fight using the typical weapon of the era; swords.

And yes, some of these characters are female, and therefore – wait for it – are played by women. In the show, these women often take men on in battle, and have occasionally thrashed them with their superior sword fighting skills, too.

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While appearing on The Daily Wire, crime novelist Andrew Klavan had some opinions on this. Commenting on the show, he made the broad, sweeping and spectacularly untrue statement that no woman would ever win against a man in a sword fight, regardless of skill or experience. Does anyone else feel like they’re back in the playground?

Jason Campbell shared a video of Klavan explaining his theory, in which he says: “Immediately I was put off by the fact that there’s a queen in this who fights like a man. There’s a couple of scenes where women fight with swords. And I just hate these scenes, because no women can fight with swords. Zero women can fight with a sword.

“What I mean by that is in a situation where you are fighting men who are used to fighting with swords, you are going to get killed if you are a woman fighting with a sword 100 percent of the time. A woman with a sword could kill somebody who doesn’t know how to fight with a sword. But in a war situation, where you are swinging this five to 10-pound sword again and again and again, against much, much, much stronger men, they are going to kill you.”

Klavan then continues to dissect the woman’s attractiveness (as if that is the point of her character), calling her “gross” because she acts “like a man” (symptoms of which include swearing and eating meat, shocking stuff). Finally, putting the final nail in the feminism coffin, he proclaims that “this is not the way any woman behaves”.

“They should have made the character a man,” he continues. “She’s a man. She’s gross. She swaggers around and she rips into the meat and tears it with her teeth and curses people. It was a feminist statement and I was like ‘please, give me a break.’ I don’t if that is in the book but this is not the way that any woman behaves.”

Not only are his comments disgusting, Klavan even admits that he hasn’t read the books and therefore has no idea what he’s talking about. We also highly doubt that he is an expert in sword fighting, something that the Twitter community have taken great joy in schooling him on. 

The Witcher boasts some fantastically fierce women.

In response to the video, hordes of both women and men, many with sword fighting expertise themselves, have tweeted to explain that competent sword fighting is much more about skill than it is about brute strength.

One Twitter user said: “Hi, former historical fencer here (longsword, Italian school). This is an egregiously bullshit take. Aside from the historical counter examples, there’s a lot of mechanical reasons why this is dumb.

“At a very high level, the entire point of a weapon is to make it easier and safer to kill someone else, even if they’re bigger than you. If a smaller man can defeat a larger man with a sword, there’s no particular reason why a woman couldn’t.”

While another said: “There’s actually quite a few examples of real life women sword fighters, it all depends on the type of sword one is talking about. Rapiers for example don’t require much strength to handle, and back when sword dueling was a thing, there were women who fought men and won.”

Another, much to our delight, sarcastically chimed in: “So glad this guy is speaking the truth, i.e., that in a sword fight Ben Shapiro would win against Serena Williams, for she is merely a woman with 20+ years of experience in athletic competitions repeatedly swinging an object at full force, whereas he’s a manly man with man powers.”

And we particularly loved the Twitter user who revealed Klavan’s sparse knowledge on a subject he has such big opinions on, saying: “’5 to ten-pound sword.’ That’s one way of showing you shouldn’t be talking about swords. A 3-pound sword is already on the heavy end.”

“On behalf of the thousands of women who can fight with a sword, I am now rolling my eyes so hard they’re just whirling in my head like slot machines until they catch fire,” said another.

Klavan, we think you just lost the battle. 

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Images: Netflix 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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