Female Space Marines
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There is no tactic more effective for enraging a diehard SPESS MEHREENS fanboy than discussing/drawing their Rule 63 companion, Female Space Marines. Not to be confused with Sisters of Battle, the canonical equivalent to Space Marines and also armed with bolters and chainswords, but Space Marine Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes, you know, the hypermuscular ones with Pauldrons. According to Games Workshop canon, the procedures that are used to create a Space Marine only work properly on male subjects, rendering female Marines impossible; however, masturbators on the internet have not allowed this to deter them. Sometimes it is pointed out that back in the Rogue Trader days, Games Workshop did briefly produce two power-armoured female models, but they were changed to "Female Adventurers in Power Armour" and were never meant to represent female Marines. Moreover, White Dwarf did in fact publish a Rogue Trader scenario back in the day featuring real, honest-to-Ward female Imperial Space Marines, albeit with the caveat that such chapters were exceedingly rare. Considering this is from Games Workshop, who routinely violates their own canon in subsequent editions, fanbase be damned, take this as you will.
It's worth noting, though, that Games Workshop hasn't deterred /tg/ (or indeed, the Black Library writers) from coming up with ways to potentially allow for them, even with Space Marines being exclusively male being one of the rare things they've kept consistent. This is because, as was brought up in previous articles, little gets between a man and his fapbait.
The Canon Part
While for a time GW's official stance was that it was impossible to create Female Space Marines, leading to spammed complaints about gender equality and claims that male-only Space Marines are sexist. Therefore, a minor concession was made. According to new fluff the Emperor of Mankind did see fit to attempt the creation of female Space Marines, whether in the spirit of equality, for the sake of a larger recruiting pool, or because he had an incest fetish to indulge. Emphasis on tried; since he had based his Sons off of himself, and then Space Marines off of the resulting genes, it was impossible to twist that base around to reliably make a female Space Marine. The Emperor tried again and again, but could not find a way to reliably create a Female Space Marine in a reasonable time frame and soon found that if Male Space Marines were one in a million, then Female Space Marines were one in a trillion. There were many semi-successful female Space Marines that showed promise, but nearly all of them died shortly after implantation due to organ rejection and various hormonal imbalances causing their biology to shit itself. Quickly realizing that this shit was a waste of time and resources better spent conquering the galaxy, he decreed that Space Marines would be male-only, NO GIRLS ALLOWED.
TL;DR GW got tired of angry letters so they said that Female Space Marines were possible but stupidly impractical (even by 40k standards) so that's why there aren't any Female Space Marines so stop the angry letters please.
This all could have been avoided if the complainants had simply asked for (and GW gave) more focus on the real, pre-existing Female Space Marines complete with a unique, empowering flavor all their own. Naturally, this seemingly obvious solution was lost on all parties involved.
On the Black Library front, it was mentioned in one of the Horus Heresy books that Malcador the Sigillite had suggested making one or two of the Primarchs female, half-jokingly saying that it might help to defuse competition between them. The Emperor was not amused by this at all and insisted that it simply couldn't be done, thinking Malcador was joking. And really, who wants to try to argue with him about it?
Unexpected salvation - there are indeed (99.46% possible) Female Space Marines!...in The Eye Of Terror. Well, they're possible out of it too - see, due to the nature of Chaos, mutations are often a fact of life. Some desired, some not. What if one hulked out, burning, warped Chaos Space Marine secretly wishes he was the cute little girl who got flowers? Who smiled with joy? Who was so sweet?
What if his gods are listening? If the nature of Chaos is what it is to any extent, there is a chance his deity will bestow him with what he has always wanted. Though of course, he could just as easily get an extra tentacle arm, or get mutated into that which must never be named - such is the nature of Chaos. Slaanesh especially grants this as a matter of routine, and its a safe bet to make that quite a lot of the Emperor's Children men are actually now women, or rather futas. Such is the will of Slaanesh.
This was confirmed in one of the earlier Chapter Approved articles - one that re-introduced mounted Daemonettes - in which a Governor-Militant fighting a Slaanesh warband mused that there were (apparently female) creatures that were once Space Marines, but no longer. Considering Chaos can cause that which must never be named, is anyone surprised by this?
We know that you among the fans, despite all our attempts to dissuade you, want cute FEMALE SPHESS MAHREENS! And there is good news - technically, there ARE Female Space Marines IN OFFICIAL LORE. The catch? Yes there is a catch. And this one is the worst.
Your new waifu is a bloated, twisted, undying, insane, mutated pregnant mother-slave only alive because she's in the Eye of Terror.
You see, Honsou of the Iron Warriors, in an effort to squeeze new MAHREENS into the ranks without having to pay that other sick fuck Fabius Bile for clones and because he was too lazy to do it the normal way, created a system of hideousness and sadness that pushes grimdark to a whole new level. He invented the Daemonculaba, a system whereby a woman is chained and fed stuff which will morph her and her womb into something that was never meant to be. A boy is then (yes, a child), jammed, shoved or cut INTO the vagina and stays there for a while. When his time is ready, he, now XBAWKS HUEG and STRONG, will have to rip, tear, or otherwise push his way out of his adoptive mother's womb/vagina. When he emerges, he will either be a skinless mutant abomination, or will emerge as a fully functional (albeit skinless) Chaos Space Marine in a fraction of the time, with all his growth stages and bionics and gene-seed already taken care of. How? It's fucking science.
This goes back to our Female Space Marine - you see, while she was being morphed and changed, Dark Mechanicus Biologis hereteks worked on her body, implanting gene-seed and making her physically a Female Space Marine, even if the form is rather off. Thus, her womb can turn children as well into Space Marines by having her womb 'grow' the required organs and stages directly into their bodies in a fraction of the time - days and weeks instead of years. Thankfully for the entire universe, this horror was destroyed before Honsou realized he could stick girls in there as well, and get double the recruits, and stumble upon the secret to true Female Space Marines.
A Slightly More Reasonable Answer
The problem really is one of terminology. Women can wear power armour, certainly; the Sororitas practically make it formal wear. Women can, through steroids, incessant bodybuilding, a high protein diet, and a little genetic modding to bring it all together, be as buff and rocking as a Space Marine. But what really makes a Space Marine a Space Marine is all of the extra genetically-engineered organs and DNA and whatnot cloned from the Primarchs and implanted in the right way, which is impossible for women for reasons the Emperor himself ran afoul of. The closest thing to an exception in the fluff is any experiment involving Fabius Bile, unless the topic is Honsou of the Iron Warriors (not reincarnation) inside a bloated woman's uterus, and it should be noted that the said woman is effectively lobotomized (and even there, the potential Chaos Space Marine candidate must be male since even that sick thing requires gene-seed to 'work'). And even if he did make you a female space marine for reals, she still wouldn't be a space marine, just a weird, mutilated, chaos infused thing that approximates a space marine but can never truly be one.
Worth noting, however, that given that Bile's experimented on damn-near everything (including the entire civilian populations of several planets) at some point or another for his attempts to duplicate the methods for creating new Space Marines, there's ample evidence to suggest that he's tried it at least once, going as far as saying Big.E. was an idiot for making gene-seed only compatible with men and thus cutting off half the potential supply of warriors. Fucking Slaanesh.
You actually don't even need to be a sick fuck like Bile. Emps himself used a set of enhancements on Luther and Kor Phaeron that could turn adults into almost-Space Marines, certainly strong enough to have MEQ statlines. Get a reasonably stable and very eccentric Magos Biologis who is for some reason in charge of a Forge World that makes power armor, access to the aforementioned bio-enhancements used on Luther, and hey presto you have a Skitarii detachment that Counts As Space Marines and no reason they can't be all-female.
Another possible reason is that all of the Primarchs are men, with male genes, thus meaning that, unless there's secretly a girl Primarch out there somewhere, female Space Marines cannot be made in the traditional sense. Or like Bile, Cawl will find a way to covercome the issue and is in fact hoarding all the female marines for his own personal army, something GW recently hinted at during a Q&A.
Of note is the fact that despite the names and histories of the two missing Primarchs being utterly obliterated from Imperial records, they are still unambiguously referred to as sons of the Emperor. Maybe ol' Emps got tired of worrying about dying girlfriends.
In addition, to create female space marines would be fucking over all the other humans in the setting. Think of it like the old species of humans that came before Homo Sapiens. For the next evolutionary step to come, the previous one dies, usually in a messy manner. The Emperor wanted man to inhabit the Imperium of Man, not Astartes. It's clearly not the Imperium of Astartes. And while an entire empire of Space Marines would sound incredibly cool, that means that you know, the entire human species dies in the process.
Dark Imperium and FemMarines
In the Dark Imperium novel, its revealed that the Emperor never cared for the Space Marines, and saw them as little more than tools to secure his empire. He never intended for them to rule over it, as it was planned to be an empire ruled by humans for humans. Given this revelation, its possible that the Emperor could've made female space marines, but chose not to because he wanted a reliable way to keep their population in check. Keep in mind that very few people outside of the Emperor himself were actually involved in the Primarch Project, so if he chose to lie about the gender thing, very few could call him out on it (and that's assuming any of them would want to). Also note that although he was adamant that FemMarines were impossible, no one actually tried to prove him wrong, they mostly just took him at his word.
Although Space Marines have their sex drive curbed or removed, we know that Space Wolves can still sleep around (especially true for Lukas the Trickster), to say nothing of the Emperor's Children, who are explicitly described going on a rape rampage during the Siege of Terra, which means that the reproductive suppression isn't 100% effective or irreversible. It should also be considered that although Space Marines have a reduced or eliminated sex drive, it's never been suggested that they're sterile, meaning that accidents could still happen.
Given all this, it's possible that the Emperor didn't want to take any chances and potentially have his living weapons start reproducing and becoming self-sufficient, replacing the humans they were designed to protect. Keeping Space Marines mono-gendered and reliant on geneseed would ensure that he maintained tight control over his tools and how many there were at any given time. Of course, this is all speculation, so take it with a grain of salt.
On The To-Do List?
There is a paragraph in "Ashes of Prospero" were Arjac Rockfist identifies him self as a "Son as Russ", and a woman with a spear asks "Only sons?" Arjac thinks on it, and realizes that the spirit of Fenris, and of the Space Wolves, is in all the people of Fenris, men, women and children. Then he considers that Guilliman had made an even more deadly and powerful version of a Space Marine, so it was possible. At the end he pointedly does not reject the possibility of women space marines, ending with a "Perhaps."
Whether or not this is a case of fandom baiting/trolling, lampshade hanging, or just leaving space for 'Your Dude(tte)'s' is debatable, the fact that this happened among the Viking-themed Space Wolves is interesting given the Valkyrie and Shield Maiden connotations that go along with that theme. Additionally the wolves took a beating from the Thousand Sons, so increasing the recruiting pool would be a boon to the beleaguered Wolves. If female marines were going to be suddenly created, it happening to the Space Wolves would not be thematically out of the question the way it would be for other more monk like space marine chapters. This being said, Fenrisian Shield Maidens were mentioned as having fought in Wrath of Magnus, so it's also possible that the Space Wolves will stop being a Marines-exclusive force and start incorporating the native warriors of Fenris, though that would be a blatant case of legion building that would draw the attention of the already inclined to look disagreeable on them Inquisition.
What Would A Female Space Marine Look Like If They Could Exist?
Obviously, in the land of Rule 63 they are amazingly hot (and would totally do you), but in dark and gritty fluff-land where they would be optimised for combat rather than jacking off, they would probably have very few notable female features left following surgery and genetic fuckery. Marines are made from pre-adolescent kids who still have very little in terms of sexual dimorphism, and the process of transforming includes total rewriting of the hormonal system (which is responsible for developing secondary sexual characteristics). Hypothetical femarine wouldn't have narrow shoulders, wide hips, breasts, delicate face structure, feminine voice or even traditional feminine character traits like higher capacity for empathy and increased aversion against danger. In essence neophyte does not mature into man or woman - it matures into marine. A female Space Marine would only differ from male Space Marine by having different genitalia, so no "Samus is a girl" moments would really occur if a female Space Marine had her helmet knocked off and shocked her comrades by revealing some beautiful feminine hair and facial features. Then again, space marines themselves break several biological laws just by existing so we could be wrong. Either way, Female Space Marines are not going to be conventionally attractive. Being recreated exclusively for war tends to do that. They would be bigger than an ordinary human, of course, but they would still be proportioned like a normal human. Or like some bikini model if the Emperor decided he wanted to make hot White Scar bikers or something.
They'd also be completely sterile. Like, more so than the males; no sex hormones means no ovulation, assuming they even let her keep those ovaries. This sadly means no periods, so no PMS rage or menstrual blood for the Blood God. Progenoid glands would still play a vital role in gene-seed replication.
And, assuming that Sister Generica can be considered attractive in any form, she's also wearing a ton or two of ceramite power armor, so you wouldn't tell until she speaks or removes her helmet.
Finally, God Emperor help you if you suggest they wear boob plate.
RAGE is generated by this tactic in two distinct ways; either the neckbeards assume that the creator of the work in question is unaware of the Space Marine fluff, and rage about his or her ignorance; failing that, it becomes clear that they are well aware of the fluff regarding these matters and willingly chose to disregard it, sending the poor neckbeards into fits of spastic rage that anyone would dare deliberately defile the sacrosanct canon of Games Workshop's masterpiece.
Hey, you really want to troll some of Those Guys? Build a force with female Imperial Guard conversions and say they're Imperial Navy armswomen; you know, female space marines?
- Golden Aquilas: /tg/ homebrew chapter, designed to cause as much RAEG and accusations of derp as possible.
- Space Marines: Rule 63 equivalent of female Space... wait.
- Sisters of Battle: The warrior nuns of the Imperium that wear power armor, often fight with bolters and chainswords, and are in a sense the real "female space marines" of Warhammer 40,000.
- Stormcast Eternals, GW's Fantasy Space Marines in Age of Sigmar, which can be any species and gender thanks to their magical origins. At least one Stormcast group was announced to be comprised of men and women and SURPRISE WARHAMMER SHADESPIRE WAS ANNOUNCED AND FEATURES A FEMALE STORMCAST MINIATURE.
- Samus: How about a female Primarch?
- Daughters of Terra A not-quite Space Marines Female Space Marines chapter.