Wednesday, December 15, 2004
How about a show of hands from everyone who gives a shit that Alien's Ripley would be played by a 55-year-old woman?
Apparently, Hollywood's concerned about it. Um. Hello? Sigourney Weaver, dude, ass-kicking heroine extraordinaire. Not only do I not care if she *is* 55, I'd appreciate it if she *looked* 55 and went around kicking everybody's asses. Male actors do it all the time (Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, etc.). Get over it. I think she should start dating some 20-year-old hottie, just to make a point.
And, though my initial reaction to the idea of Hilary Swank playing a boxer was "eh" - I've seen enough stellar reviews of the latest gritty-female-boxer movie that I'm just going to have to go out and see it, if only so I can argue afterwards about how much cooler Michelle Rodriguez was in Girlfight.
There's something immensely satisfying about finding a successful author who finds their characters sitting around doing the same sorts of frustrating things that mine do, instead of furthering the plot:
Dave McKean phoned me up today. I got unexpectedly testy when he commented on a couple of scenes in Mirrormask that were just two people talking, and on the problem of getting those scenes to have some kind of narrative drive. The reason I got testy was, as I eventually explained to him, because I've spent a day fighting with an uncooperative novel and every scene I wrote kept turning into two people having a conversation, and it was driving me nuts. It wasn't even that they were sitting around having interesting conversations. They were telling each other things the reader had already seen occur, and I felt powerless to stop them...
"You're not allowed to do that any more," said Dave. "Something else has to happen."
- Neil Gaiman's blog
It gives me hope.
"Any female[...] has had to work ten times as hard as her male
counterpart to be accepted in their organization. She will be
more able, will react quicker, and will generally be much more
dangerous. Kill her first." -- Starr, "One Man's War," Preacher
That's the best quote ever.
A great article on Geeky girls as portrayed in comics, with some thoughts on Buffy. (via Alas, A Blog)
Rox Populi points to this article about recommendations for the deployment of mixed-sex units alongside all-male units in the US military:
The Nov. 29 briefing to senior Army officers at the Pentagon, presented as part of the service's sweeping transformation of its 10 war-fighting divisions, advocates scrapping the military's ban on collocation — the deployment of mixed-sex noncombat units alongside all-male combat brigades....
So, basically, we're not talking about a huge change here, just another scaling back. The mixed-sex units are still "technically" non-combat, but they'll be deployed *alongside* all-male combat units. What this means is that there's a significantly greater chance that these mixed-sex units will see combat. In reality, women are seeing lots of combat in Iraq. It's a guerilla war. You can drive a truck and fire at and be fired upon. So it's just a technicality. It's just fudging with the language so that it makes it *look* like women aren't fighting and dying, at least, not at "the front."
Whatever the hell the "front" is in a guerilla war.
The debate's roots go back to 1994. [Brutal Woman note: oh, bullshit. This has been debated FOREVER. Don't make it like this is something NEW UNDER THE SUN]. Impressed with the performance of military women in Operation Desert Storm, the Clinton administration lifted long-standing bans on women in combat aircraft and ships.
But the new policy clearly stated that a prohibition would continue for ground units that participate in direct combat. The 1994 policy also said women would not serve "where units and positions are doctrinally required to physically collocate and remain with direct ground combat units that are closed to women."
I usually yawn when I read all this noise, because women have always fought, have always known violence, and have even been buried with their swords. What made me guffaw was the silly reason the Pentagon's still giving for not putting women into land combat units right now:
The Pentagon has said it maintains the ban because upper-body strength is needed for land combat and because polls show most female soldiers do not want the policy changed.
What a load of horseshit.
You know they didn't even have physical tests of strength for firefighters until women started wanting to become firefighters? You know the "reason" that's often given for not promoting more women into management positions at movie theatres is that women "can't" carry 70 lbs worth of movie reels? (yes, that's the sound of me snickering in the background...)
Women aren't in combat units because war is what makes men men. Glory and sacrifice and male bonding and all that. In times of dire seriousness, when an entire people is really threatened, women have always stepped up. They formed all-female tank units in Russia, and guerilla movements have always relied on women for 10-20% of their combat forces (sometimes more, when all the men are wiped out - all those Greek stories about Amazons aren't so fantastic when you read about how many men get moblized and slaughtered during wars. Who do you think's left to protect hearth and home?). After the "dire seriousness" was over, women were told that actually, no, even though they may have fought in a war, really, they actually *couldn't* fight because they weren't strong enough. Yes, yes, just a little doublethink here, bear with us, we're men of SCIENCE.
It's not a matter of strength or ability: the real heart of it is how men and women will deal with being in combat situations together. There's a deep fear that all the women will "end up pregnant" (like they just rolled over and BAM! they were magically pregnant, like women reproduce via parthenogenesis - see the overseas "pregnant nurses" scare during WWII), and a fear that men will throw themselves in front of women in order to save them even more than they'll throw themselves in front of each other to save their buddies... Saving women being a natural masculine instinct, after all. I mean, when they aren't ordered to kill women.
So, anyway, why should anybody really care about any of this?
Well, remember when I said that mostly, historically, women have only been really seriously recruited in times of dire need?
The Times reported last week on an internal May 10 briefing that portrayed the Army as in a bind. The briefing states the Army does not have enough male soldiers to fill the FSCs if they were to collocate with combat brigades and thus required to be men-only.
Let's not get all clap-happy about egalitarianism in the military. It's not about recognizing that women are people too. It's the same old story: we don't have enough men. Time to bring the women in. Watch them scale back the "rules" again. Then, after they're done, watch them bring back the "women are really better suited to being home, barefoot and pregnant" argument when women aren't "needed" anymore. Notice they won't start publishing studies about how terrible war is for men, how men shouldn't sign up because they'll suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome the rest of their lives and pick up a host of mental illnesses enroute from the war zone. No, no: war is good for men! And war is good for women.... so long as we need them there.
Anyway, lack of soldiery doesn't bode well for the US's interest in world domination.
I'm just saying.