On Game Of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth sparred with Ser Loras Tyrell, before defeating him and proving her worth to King Renly Baratheon (First Of His Name, King of the Andals and the blah blah) and Queen Margaery as part of the Kingsguard. She also bravely defeated The Hound for goodness sake. Yes, this is a fictional character but you only have to do a little bit of research to know that history is littered with real-life female warriors.
It is well known that women fought alongside men on battlefields both openly and under a male disguise, they were also trained in their own right to fight and defend. When you realise that their incredible feats of heroism and bravery were somewhat sidelined by modern culture, it isn't a hard stretch imagine how many incredible female warriors stories have been lost to the history books.
We're not here to debate history, neither are we here to take anything away from all the incredible male warriors whose stories have inspired both men and women throughout history. I am just as inspired by a male warrior character as I am female.
Whilst there has been an increase in kick-ass female leads and supporting actresses over the last few years, we are still facing a shortage of performing roles for women in the action industry. We cannot solely concentrate on the small number of leads in blockbuster features, they will always represent the select few. They are not a true representation of the workforce.
The vast majority of employment in the action industry are people who are called upon to perform in battles and large-scale action scenes.
Does it matter that there boobs under that chainmail?!
We run an action agency in order to provide work for all our students. As an agency, we have provided hundreds of male skilled supporting artists and featured action performers on battlefields for major productions such as King Arthur, Hollow Crown, Game of Thrones to name a few. But women?... well.
During a conversation with an AD for a large feature, we were told that we needed to source for men (any height and size and any hair length) for a battle sequence. Apparently, It did not matter what they looked like, as they will be clad in armour and have helmets on. At this point, I jumped up suddenly from my chair and said "Well, in that case, surely we can put women forward?!"
We all got excited. VERY excited at the prospect of calling upon our army of sword-wielding warrior women who have sweated blood and tears through our courses and waited patiently for work, whilst their male counterparts fought from one battle to another.
The idea was pitched. The case was indisputable. The excitement, however, was short-lived.
We were told that the Director only wanted men as it was historically accurate. He wouldn't even entertain a costume test on our awesome women warriors. We knew that it would be impossible for anyone to know there was a woman under the chainmail and helmets. We wanted so desperately to prove this could work.
We tried and failed.