Monsacré, Hélène. 2018. The Tears of Achilles. Trans. Nicholas J. Snead. Introduction by Richard P. Martin. Hellenic Studies Series 75. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_MonsacreH.The_Tears_of_Achilles.2018.
II.2. The Specificity of Women
The Female Body
The discrepancy between the amount of description of the physical image of men and women is absolutely striking in the Iliad. Here, then, is what we do know of women, more or less precisely.
To characterize female figures, the poet evokes their hair, and Helen, the emblem of femininity, is labeled seven times as “lovely-haired Helen” (3.329, etc.).  Still, descriptions of hair are quite imprecise: there is hardly any information about its color or any criteria for judging what makes it “lovely” (shine, length, etc.).
Arms, legs, and body
Symbols of maternity: The breasts and womb
This long citation makes clear that for combat with men it is not the peplos ‘dress’ but the cuirass that is required—khiton, aegis, and helmet, not ribbon and diadem. Here, Athena, brilliant in her armor, is located entirely within the masculine sphere of war.
There are correspondences to be identified between the scene where Athena arms herself and the scene where Hera dresses herself. Hera puts on her peplos and fastens it in the manner of a warrior who latches the buckles on his belt (Iliad 4.132–133): her belt is tightened (araruian) like that of a warrior (4.134; 11.234, etc.);  on her head shines her gleaming veil like a hero’s glistening helmet. Hera, though, is situated entirely within Aphrodite’s feminine sphere while preparing herself this way for a sort of lovers’ combat.
Cosmetics and perfume
Paris and Helen’s bedchamber is “scented and perfumed” (Iliad 3.382); in Lacedaemon, Helen’s thalamos is perfumed, smelling of cedar (Odyssey 4.121). Her clothes are perfumed also, as are those that Calypso offers to Odysseus (Odyssey 5.264).
The Voices and Words of Women
Which women speak? When?
Later, when Hector is in the city, it is she who first addresses him, expressing regret over both the suffering she is causing for the Trojans and her husband’s cowardice. Once again, the comparison between the valiant warrior and the hesitant coward is explicit in Helen’s words; Hector is the one she would have preferred to have as a husband in Troy (Iliad 6.350–353):
And finally, she is the third woman to weep over Hector’s body and the last woman whose words are heard in the Iliad (24.760–775).
How do women speak?