1. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Does it matter who?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Marthix, Aug 11, 2010.

    If you were to read a novel dealing with a war and you had both male and female lieutenants shouting and yelling at their men to pick up the slack during a battle, would you care what gender those lieutenants were? I know we've all been exposed to novels and films with male military officers yell and shout at men to do their bidding, but we haven't seen enough of females doing that throughout history. Should I be comfortable in having one female lieutenant shout and yell at her troops to do her bidding? I know all of those old gender roles have been awash and men and women can basically do anything they want now. And there are female lieutenants in our actual military, but I don't know what they do. Does anyone know if they're as demanding as men when leading armies, or are they not allowed to under certain rules??? I just want to collect a consensus feel for this before progressing more through my story. Thanks again!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A female officer, sad to say, would probably have to more hardass than a male officer of the same rank, at least until her subordinates grew to know and respect her.

    She has the same authority, but there is still enough sexism that she might have to prove erself where a male officer would automatically be deferred to due to his rank.
     
  3. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Thanks Cogito! I definitely see where you're coming from. In your opinion, what do you think she should do to appear more hardass to her male troops? Cuss, throw some punches and kicks at them, spit on them, show 'em she has skills with the gun and that she's close to fearless, etc.?
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Certainly not! No officer, man or woman, should EVER behave like this. It displays weakness and insecurity, not strength. The 'troops' would not respect this kind of moronic behaviour.

    She should be alert, intelligent, and keep alevel head and have consideration for the people she is working with. Basically, if she does her job well, she will be fine and not discriminated against.

    Or maybe the British Army is different.
     
  5. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I have not been subordinate to a woman in the military, but worked for several years as a police officer during which time I was frequently subordinate to higher ranking female officers during very tense, dangerous or potentially dangerous incidents. In my experience, during a high stress situation (a battle as you mentioned would be one.) it did not matter in the least what sex the CO happened to be. When you are talking about a situation in which it is vital to be where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to do, and failing to do that could result in you, a co-worker, or innocent person getting hurt--you tend to fall back on training, personal feelings aside. Police and miltary train similarly with respect to rank and hierarchy. Not only can failing or even being slow to follow orders get someone hurt, but it can hurt your career.

    This is not to say that there is no sexism in traditionally masculine professions and roles. But it seems to come out more in 'down' time. If there is a female officer who failed to control a suspect or something along those lines, it will take a while for her to live it down. People have long memories and unfortunately I've seen this kind of event haunt the reputations of female officers longer than males. But people tend to talk and bicker more when lives are not at stake than in a battle, or a shooting situation, or a barricaded subject, or even a hot crime scene with a large crowd, or a bad wreck.
     
  6. gabelpa
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    gabelpa Banned

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    If the troops do not obey and respect their CO due to gender, then that is their problem, and the same penalties would apply if they failed to respect a male CO.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to me, it would all depend on how you develop the character and write her... and the context of the story/scene...
     
  8. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Thanks to all for the suggestions and knowledge. Now I firmly believe that this can work well.
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This is what I was thinking. While we'd like to think sexism is dead it's as alive and well as any other prejudice. It's just not so obvious because now women have the same legal rights. However there are still men out there who won't take a woman seriously. So I would expect in that situation she would be even harder on them than a male officer would be.
     
  10. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    Hi Marthix.

    First off, NO officer would do those things you described previously; if they did, they would certainly be court-martialled and dishonorably discharged. Also, the only areas not open to women (within the British Army, etc) are infantry and armor.
     
  11. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    We've not only had female Lieutenants in the military, we've got generals and colonels.

    As far as military women throughout history, the best example of a woman leading men into battle has to be Boudicca, a celtic woman of the first century (about 60 AD), who was married to the English king of an independant monarchy (independant of Roman empire). When, at her husband's death, their land was annexed by Rome, ignoring his wishes that his rule be shared by his daughters. Boudicca resisted. Her daughters were raped and tortured. She amassed and army of Celts and led them into battle against the Roman army. Although Boudicca's revolt was eventually put down, her army slaughtered tens of thousands (estimates range from 60,000 to approximately twice that many) before their final defeat. Boudicca is said to have killed herself rather than be taken prisoner by the Romans.

    So, would a female military leader be believable? Of course. The caveat here is that it largely depends upon how well you are able to convey that female.

    Now, as far as that '... and they can basically do anything they want," perspective goes, you would do well to study up on the military, military procedure, and military justice. (That last because, should any of your officers conduct themselves in the way you suggest, they would be up in front of a martial court in no time!)
     

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