I don’t think that’s it’s really the point. The whole thing comes back to the fact that female fans are simply not being acknowledged. It’s not really even about the Space Marines all being male in the end, I don’t think. Not really.
(Someone did a really good take down on why the Sisters aren’t equivalent here. It’s worth a read and I’d give that a look first.)
My opinion here is that it’s the fact that GW has decided that they want to market to 14 year old boys and are completely failing to acknowledge that a huge portion - HUGE portion - of their clientele are actually not only mature men but also women. They’re marketing to an incredibly specific portion of a demographic which simply doesn’t represent reality. And that gets really frustrating and a little disingenuous when you market yourself as a family store and then only cater for a very tiny subsection of that and make the space principally unwelcome for everyone else.
I think actually the problem comes from the fact that the Sisters of Battle are so often plain old neglected. So what if they’re ferocious fighters that can put outfight Space Marines? Who cares if they are said to be one of the finest fighting forces there are? They’re not actually Space Marines and they literally don’t get the representation the Space Marines do. In the literature, in the models and the codexes, so on. Access to these materials too is rather limited in physical stores. The models aren’t stocked, the codex simply isn’t stocked. You want SoB stuff? You gotta hunt for it and seriously fight to get a hold of it.
Never mind that there are countless sub-groups of Space Marines that you can pick from. There’s incredible diversity in Space Marine fluff, chapters both loyalist and chaos based, that simply just doesn’t exist for the Sisters of Battle. I mean, there’s a pretty standard appearance for a Sister. White hair, that bob hair cut, white skin. There could be incredible variety within the Sisters Militant alone, planetary differences, Abbey histories, saints and so on, that simply isn’t represented and rarely mentioned in detail, let alone given its own book and fluff. In fact, I don’t think such a thing exists at all.
I think a lot of women just get sick to death of being “you’re beautiful~” as if that’s the only thing that matters. Like you’re intelligent, you’re strong, you’re powerful - but beautiful always has to be in there somewhere. And it’s the kind of things that happen to them that just don’t happen to Space Marines. If they are brutalised in any manner, it is quite often in a way that refers to their sex. I honestly don’t find the threat of rape being bandied about around with Space Marines even though let’s be honest, daemons of Chaos aren’t really going to actually be picky.
Oh, and Matt Ward happened. Let’s acknowledge the whole Grey Knights vs. Sisters of Battle thing that happened there; we probably shouldn’t forget that because that was an astronomical example of sexist fuckery right there.
So while in some parts of the fluff the Sisters are stated to be as good as Space Marines, even as is, they aren’t really given the depth or the breadth of characterisation or development Space Marines are and opportunities to play them is severely hampered.
That’s where the frustration lies. It never helps either that this is a problem much, much larger than just Warhammer 40k."
My existence is a momentary lapse of reason.