A dwarf primer for those of us who (like me) unaccountably failed to memorise all 6 zillion pages of the Silmarillion. I’d like to take this opportunity to rattle on about my private beliefs on the dwarves’ private parts.
As written, Middle Earth is a total sausage festival, probably a product of Tolkien’s day and age. However, being me, and knowing that Khuzdul only has the one pronoun, I prefer to imagine that some of the dwarves in Thorin’s band are actually female, though this fact passes unnoticed by humans and hobbits, and doesn’t matter to the dwarves themselves.
Working within the world of the Hobbit movie, we can see that dwarf women tend to have daintier noses and finer beards than dwarf dudes:
However, it should be noted that these portraits were intended as character development for dwarves living in Erebor, during a golden age of peace and leisure. They had the free time and resources to wear jewels and fancy clothing. These dwarves could well be described as “ladies.” The dwarves in Thorin’s band are warriors. They’ve traveled a long way, and know that they have a lot further to go. Their clothing was chosen for its practical and hard-wearing nature (though many of them have still found time to braid their hair and beards all nicely). The differences between males and females in this military context are reduced, in much the same way that contemporary male and female military uniforms are similar. What we’re seeing here are fatigues, not courtly couture or even dress blues.
So (you may or may not ask), which dwarves do I believe to be female? I’m not saying they’re “ladies,” or even “women,” because Middle Earth dwarvish gender is clearly a very different phenomenon to USA human gender. I’m going to keep using male pronouns for them, because that’s how they refer to each other.
First and foremost, Thorin is female. Look at his wee nose and tiny beard, compared to those other dwarves! I admit to being strongly influenced by HobbitDragon’s description of what he looks like naked. It’s a good description. Next up, Dori is also on my list of dwarves with an XX karyotype. He has a similarly small beard, and has spent a lot of time on his nifty hairstyle, possibly a nod to the femininity that he can’t indulge on the road. Bombur has no beard at all; I’m going to claim him as female, even with his expansive nose. Finally, I’m going to say that Oin is female, although his beard is quite bushy. He’s a midwife. There are some medical specialties where the patients will insist that the doctor have in-person experience and lots of it; that is one of them. Of course, if Oin is female and has a big beard, that raises questions about my premise that dwarf women in general have small beards. There may be more females in the party than I thought.
I’ve deliberately omitted Fili and Kili from this list. Their beards aren’t up to much, and they got the small noses, but their ages work out to the human equivalent of mid-teens. They haven’t even got all their permanent teeth, let alone their mature secondary sex characteristics. Either or both might or might not be female; who am I to say?
Apart from the massive geek who’s gone about assigning sexes to all the other goddamn dwarves, that is.