Women and Warhammer a Hard Road But an Important One
Games workshop has made worlds of wonder, magic, adventure, monsters, heroes, and villains. It has captured the imagination of so many walks of life the world over with a niche hobby that has brought people together in amazing games of strategy, chance, and fun. Where you not only play epic games with army figures but put them together and paint them yourself in your own unique style. With the customization of this hobby, the possibilities are almost endless with no two armies being the same.
Over the years, especially in recent times, Games Workshop has experience a boom like never before in the companies history, signing deals with many other companies, studios, and developers. Games Workshop is even working with Marvel to make Warhammer 40,000 comics. The business is booming and it will only get more popular from here, and as a fan, I’m personally excited for the future of Games Workshop
As the hobby becomes more popular, naturally it will begin to bring in a larger audience, from all walks of life. Something GW (Games Workshop) has welcomed with open arms, unfortunately, the community is currently in a heavy controversy regarding women in the hobby. An unfortunate reality of the Warhammer community is that it was mostly male-dominated, before Warhammers popularity began to surge, men were the primary market for this game. Because of this, women were often put in a very isolated and toxic environment with gatekeepers and misogynists. To be a female Warhammer fan was to often be alone in it, but as the numbers in the female player base begin to rise, I believe there will be more support and love from one another. There are Current Leaders in the community that has spearheaded being the lead female influence in the hobby such as NormQueenAlexis, Wargamer Girl, and HazelBerry. Who are all not just valued and respected members by women in the hobby, but the entire community as a whole.
As I see this change begin to occur I notice something that fills me with such pride, I see that at any point anyone, not just females, who are being harassed by the trash underbelly of people in the hobby (which will come with any fandom) are immediately defended by and introduced to the side of the community that’s very welcoming, supportive and wants everyone to love Warhammer the same as we do. As I see this I have hope that over time we will all come together and purge the community of its toxicity.
For me personally, I am a fan of Warhammer 40,000, a grimdark future where humanity fights against the dying of the light where the Emperium of man is filled with corruption, paranoia, and dictatorship. However, despite the satire of it all, there is one thing completely absent in Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, and that’s sexism and misogyny. What’s amazing about the lore is that women actually play a big role as well as the story. There is an entire army that is solely comprised of female warriors known as the “Adepta Sororitas” otherwise known as the “Sisters of battle” who have engaged
the horrors of the galaxy and enemies of a man with great prejudice and zeal utterly purging them into dust. Women are everywhere in Warhammer 40k from soldiers to captains, commanders, and even Inquisitors, who are the most powerful people in the entire Emperium.
The only area that women are absent are in the places where the lore was previously established before they broke out of simply being a niche hobby. The most prominent example of this is in the face of Warhammer 40k, the Space Marines. The Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s angels of death. Space Marines are the poster boys for not just Warhammer 40k but arguably the company as a whole. Space Marines are the most iconic creations of GW, and are known throughout the world. These super soldiers only comprising of males is the only area in the setting where there are no females ( with the exception of some races). This has lead to a lot of questions regarding why space marines are solely male. This is also a large chunk of where the toxicity and controversy come from. As far as the lore goes, that’s for games workshop to decide, however, as far as the hobby itself is concerned is a different conversation entirely. Warhammer Age of Signmar (traditional fantasy of Warhammer) and Warhammer 40k were designed to be enjoyed with inspiration and creativity in mind. Which means you can put your models together and color them however you wish.
“Kit bashing” is a term in the hobby where you take two completely different pieces of different races, armies, or even universes and put them together to make a completely unorthodox and unique figure. In this hobby, this has created some of the most creative and amazing works of art. However, when the idea of assembling female space marines comes into play, people often get upset and act as if the idea is simply taboo. What the main cause of concern to fans who decide to attack the very notion of female space marines is the idea that they are trying to bring sudden changes to their grimdark hobby, so they aggressively, and unnecessarily fight to keep it that way. It’s a huge misconception that wanting to play, paint, or see a females space marine is pushing some sort of political agenda on their hobby when the reality is simply that the image of women in large suits of space marine battle armor purging the enemies of man looks awesome! There is no agenda, there is no force of change, there is simply people who want to enjoy their hobby the way they want to, in a way that doesn’t break the rules of the game, which it doesn’t.
Women coming into the hobby is actually one of the best things that’s happened to GW. It’s a sign that what it has and what is doing is something special that everyone loves and enjoys. One day there will be a world where so many more girls and women are shouting battle cries to their chaos gods, the Emperor or female ork players who krump every humie that’s foolish enough to pick a fight. One day the idea of a female space marines being played on the tabletop wont even cause a flinch. The world of Warhammer is looking bright, and as more time passes, the community learns how to better shelter new players into the hobby, and have a more open mind on how to address change. GW as a company will do what it needs to do to be a thriving business, and unlike those who would turn away women, the company itself would be more than happy to accept and possibly even cater to their new female player base with open arms, because just as Games Workshop so proudly stated: “Warhammer is for everyone”.