Margaret Mead was an anthropologist who, during the 1960s and 70s, became a popular author and public speaker. A prominent figure in the field of cultural anthropology, Mead advocated for an early form of sex-positivity and influenced the sexual revolution of the 60s. Also, she may have been bisexual. So that’s neat.
Despite her role in the sexual revolution, Mead was anti-abortion–although it seems like her distaste for abortion and her distaste for eugenics were closely connected. She also challenged the studies of her day that claimed people of color were inherently less intelligent than white people. That was a big deal in 1926.
It’s difficult to pin down where, exactly, Mead declared that women are too fierce for combat. But in 1968, she expanded upon that idea: “We have no real way of knowing whether the kinds of training that teach men both courage and restraint would be adaptable to women or effective in a crisis. But the evidence of history and comparative studies of other species suggest that women as a fighting body might be far less amenable to the rules that prevent war from becoming a massacre and, with the use of modern weapons, that protect the survival of all humanity. That is what I meant by saying that women in combat might be too fierce.”
Not exactly a feminist statement. But the idea that girl-fights are so vicious that battles fought between armies of women would destroy human civilization as we know it is kind of satisfying, in a way.