[personal profile] winterlive
almost everyone who will read this is a woman. of those, some will have experienced (or in some cases continue to experience) revulsion at the trappings of girly-girl-hood. myself, i went through a period as a teenager where it was really intense; it's faded now to the point where i will voluntarily wear pink and/or frilly clothes. within reason. (maybe a tiny bit remains, though i do want to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a girly-girl, go hard if you are.)

i recently hypothesized that my affinity for soldiers and/or warriors is related to that part of my life; my fandoms are littered with people behind enemy lines, fighting for their lives. sometimes they're loners, and sometimes they're with a small, tight-knit group who are the only ones who understand what it's like to be under fire, to whom they are insanely loyal. i identify strongly with them, and they are almost invariably men. i found that interesting.

do you find you identify with soldiers or warriors in your TV or movie watching? what are your fighter fandoms? and if you're comfortable identifying yourself as a former or present punk, goth, or girly-girl, maybe speculating about how that affected your relationship to a soldier's story, i'd love to hear about it.

This entry was originally posted at http://danny.dreamwidth.org/5249.html. Comment wherever you like.
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Date: 2012-03-02 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
that IS pretty interesting. i like cops, but not so much as soldiers, it's a whole other thing. could i ask what fandoms you're in?
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Date: 2012-03-02 07:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
cool. thanks for sharing, man. :)

Date: 2012-03-02 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jamesinboots.livejournal.com
Well. You know I'm a girly-girl, I can't even try to deny that. You've seen how I pack for a 4-day vacation, so. Um. Yeah. :P

But in spite of that, I do tend to identify with male characters in TV and movies (and in books). I often identify with warriors, rarely with soldiers. I've never really thought too much about that. Hrmm.

Date: 2012-03-02 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
what kind of warriors, bb? example me?

Date: 2012-03-04 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jamesinboots.livejournal.com
IDK, this may be me using the word 'warrior' loosely, but I think I tend to identify with characters on two different ends of the spectrum: a) those that I like to think of as analytical calculators; and b) those that leap/act/fight before they think. Really depends on what mood I'm in. :) I'm trying to think of some examples!! Ahhh brain no worky. Long day.

Date: 2012-03-02 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twelve-pastels.livejournal.com
I identify very, very heavily with warriors and soldiers, but I am admittedly the girliest person you will ever meet. The thing is, the warriors I identify with the most are all women; Elizabeth the Great, who stitched pearls to every piece of clothing that would hold them and eviscerated both Spain and her sister; Eowyn of Rohan, who alternately wore the trappings of one of the highest ladies of Gondor and armor when she slew the Witch-King; and Jeanne d'Arc, who is never shown without both a blue gown and a bare sword. Then there's my Mum, who never, EVER leaves the house without lipstick, even if she's going to the hospital, and whom I have seen tear people to shreds in the defense of her family and her ideals.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I see all the trappings of femininity to be merely another layer of armour, and a further weapon in a woman's arsenal. There's few female television or cinema characters with whom I identify, but I blame that on writers rather than on myself. In literature, though, I have plenty of woman warriors with whom I identify.
Edited Date: 2012-03-02 01:17 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-02 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
COOL. that is totally cool. could i ask more?

are they all sort of swords-and-shields warriors, or do you have more contemporary soldier fandoms with women, as well? i'm actively looking for examples, and soldier women are hard to find in fandom, or if they're not i'm forgetting.

ps: awesome icon. :)

Date: 2012-03-02 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twelve-pastels.livejournal.com
(Thanks! I love that icon.)

Well, if you're willing to lump cops under the warrior heading, there's a plethora of choices. Kate Beckett on "Castle" is one of my favorites, and although I don't watch it, I've heard very good things about the female cast of "Fringe". In literature, I love love LOVE Thursday Next from Jasper Fforde's writings; I seriously not-so-secretly want to be her at some point in my life.

If your warrior/soldier definition is a little more specialized, I'll be directing you mostly towards books. The characters in the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix are fantastic, and Karrin Murphy of "The Dresden Files" is a huge favorite. In television, I'll ask you to hop in the way-back machine and go find someone with Babylon 5 DVDs; there's a lot of reasons why that show is such a big deal, and Susan Ivanova is one of them. On the movie front, we have the upcoming Avengers film and Natasha Romanov (Romanova?), who, if Joss Whedon is any indicator, will be having as significant a role as any of the other Avengers.

I think it's just a matter of knowing where to look. In all honesty, in my earliest and most malleable stages, it was my Dad who steered me towards my three key figures mentioned previously. (Not to say that Mum didn't support my identity development or whatever term they're using these days, more like she genuinely sees no difference in gender roles outside of reproductive organs and what part of your body you shave.)

Date: 2012-03-02 07:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
that's pretty cool about your mom. :)

i'm looking forward to black widow too; it'll be neat to see what joss does with a character typically used by avengers writers for T&A.

thanks for your input!

Date: 2012-03-03 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xcziel.livejournal.com
Totally random rec: Tanya Huff's Valor scifi series.

Date: 2012-03-02 02:02 am (UTC)
ext_9649: (Default)
From: [identity profile] traveller.livejournal.com

I'm not sure you're not conflating some ideas here, but I need to chew on this for a while.

Date: 2012-03-02 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
i'm not sure i'm not either! that is why i am polling the electorate.

Date: 2012-03-02 02:37 am (UTC)
ext_9649: (Default)
From: [identity profile] traveller.livejournal.com
first I am chewing on this bowl of ramen. om nom nom. I may have to get back to you on this tomorrow, at least on the big idea side.

Date: 2012-03-02 02:43 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-02 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redteekal.livejournal.com
I'm not a former punk, goth or girly girl. I suppose as a youngster I may have been labelled tom boyish, I preferred sports to jumping jacks and had no interest in clothes, hair, make up or playing elaborate games with long elastics wrapped around ankles. I would always rather read than play with dolls of any sort or pour over teeny bopper magazines.

From a young age I used to pick strong, solitary warrior types to read. Most of my early books have these types of characters. I identified with Dicey of Cynthia Voigt's stories who was virtually the adult fill in parent to her three younger siblings and was a very resilient, resourceful type when it came to looking after her family, then later on with another character called Bullet who was a long distance cross country runner who resisted all kind of typical adolescent labelling just by being himself and eventually joined the military. Then there was the last legionary, a lone survivor of his destroyed planet, expertly trained and versed in many fighting arts in the SF books of Douglas Hill. I have to say the majority of warrior/soldier types I have engaged with are mostly male with a few exceptions. I find Olivia in Fringe fascinating for how NOT a typical female lead she is. I also was drawn to Starbuck/Kara Thrace in BSG but sometimes felt she was overcompensating or just a little OTT in regards to her dealings...and I can't say I liked the way her character developed in the end there. But the females I can count on one hand. Brad Colbert aka The Iceman in Generation Kill was very much the guy that finally saw me start to question my previously blanket dismissive opinion that men in the military and who choose the military life were either ignorant or bloodthirsty. I started to understand that my complete aversion to military existence was not practical and that there is a need and whilst that need is warped to ridiculous levels at times that the world would be a much scarier place without them. I read Lone Survivor (a real life account of four Navy Seals in an Afghanistan operation that goes very wrong) and whilst some of the sentiments espoused by the author had me cringing I still noticed that I had nothing but respect for the presence of mind required, the sheer bloody determination and unbelievable levels of discipline required to do the job they do. I am, as I have gotten older, less anti-military than I was back then. My male hero warrior types now are of course the Winchesters along with Dexter, Sherlock both film and TV, Clark Kent, Arthur and Brad Colbert.

I still won't wear anything pink or pink related and noone would ever describe me as a girly girl but I have noticed a mellowing in my attitude towards doing things that make be considered mostly girly. I actually have booked a mani/pedi for the first time ever, I'm having my hair done more regularly, I'm contemplating a more in depth skin care routine (as in more than just a hot face cloth dragged over my face), and I'm thinking more about occasionally being taken care of instead of being the one doing the leading, the directing, the driving all the time. I'm still in two minds about all that though, I really like the fact that I am independent but then I'm thinking you know sometimes it would be good not to have think about what that all entails.

Wow - I have rambled on somewhat here! But I do like thinking about the topic which is probably why the long comment :)

Date: 2012-03-02 07:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
that's awesome, man, thank you. your kickass warrior hero types are also mine.

i went looking for similar female role models once upon a time, and there just aren't many. ripley from aliens and sarah conner from the terminator spring to mind, along with starbuck from BSG. but beyond them... you really have to look hard. i wonder if those of us women who for whatever reason came out of childhood swinging, maybe part of the reason we reject(ed) traditional femininity so hard is because the people we identified with on TV were doing the same thing. cause they're all dudes.
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Date: 2012-03-02 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
it was me doing the rejecting, and not my mom, but i had that same whiplash as you when it comes to how girly i got as i grew up. i get my nails done every 3 weeks and i buy all my makeup from the high end stores. it's insane.

i'm sorry about your awful experience with those soldiers.

Date: 2012-03-02 03:38 am (UTC)
ext_9649: (Default)
From: [identity profile] traveller.livejournal.com
hi, the Marine characters in Generation Kill -- almost all of whom were directly based on real people, as the source material for the series is a journalist's account of his embedding with the 1st Recon Battalion -- came from all walks of life, from a Brazilian immigrant to an Ivy-League educated WASP, from a guy self-identified as trailer trash to a guy from an affluent SoCal Jewish family. and the real American military is just like that. It's terrible that you were treated badly and harassed as a child by men in your neighborhood, but projecting that experience on millions of men who come from all strata of society is extremely unfair.

Further, I'd add that not all men who come from poverty behave in the way you describe, whether they've joined the military or not. Again, your experience was bad and those men were wrong, but the fact that a person comes from poverty has little bearing on their moral character.
Edited Date: 2012-03-02 03:46 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-02 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tabaqui.livejournal.com
I don't usually, mostly because the military and it's sometimes slavish adherence to rules and chains of command doesn't sit well with me. I'm much more likely to identify with the person who goes AWOL or never joins but learns skills and becomes a sort of 'freedom fighter' on their own, with no overarching hierarchy or command. Soldiers in the traditional sense seemed like the enemy too often - apt to judge, shoot first, and ignore 'common sense' because of 'orders'. While i love movies like 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Band of Brothers', i still get super-frustrated when 'orders' in such stories causes deaths, heartbreak, pain, or schisms between characters.

I wouldn't say i was a 'girly girl', but when i was a pre-teen i wanted to either be like Cher or i wanted to be a gypsy. I thought Cher the most gorgeous person alive (and i wanted hair just like hers) and/or i loved the stereotypical gypsy with the layered, colorful skirts and hip-scarf of jingling charms and the secret language and possible occult skills. As i got older i gravitated toward the kind of neo-punk/gothy style of Adam Ant - face paint! Ripped jeans and a frock coat! (I have a frock coat.)

I kind of grew up to be a hippy though, heh. I still love to wear flowing skirts and don't shave my legs much.

Anyway......there you go. :)

Date: 2012-03-02 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
that's a cool perspective, tabi. thanks. :)

Date: 2012-03-02 06:14 am (UTC)
libitina: snake across an open book (book snake intro (me; from The Secret Bo)
From: [personal profile] libitina
I've had (and continue to have, though less so) strong anti-girly-girl inclinations.

I also get twitchy uncomfortable in exploring military things. I mean, it's fine in my porn. And in abstract I get the respecting people who volunteer to suffer for you. But I have no family or friends who joined up to help with buying into the world. Instead, everyone I've met who has been a soldier has felt 'off' to me in a way that made that person unwise to fuck on a repeat basis, and especially not with feelings.

Now my sample size is small. And I try not to treat my experience as broadly applicaable. But, no, I don't have the two running together.
Edited Date: 2012-03-02 06:21 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-02 07:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
sometimes i feel a little guilty identifying with soldiers, because i know exactly two and they are a imperfect barometers. (for the record, they're both delightful.) i have nothing but respect for the job they do, as you say, but that said i also have no way of knowing what being a soldier is like for real people, so maybe what i'm taking from the stories isn't anything like what it's actually like.

there's this part of me that, watching gen kill, thinks: that is exactly what it's like. and then feels guilty about it because what the fuck do i know about iraq and artillery fire. but something about that interpersonal dynamic they're showing on tv, it pings. maybe it's just me. :)

Date: 2012-03-02 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomeliza.livejournal.com
Wow, this has spawned some really interesting discussion. I'll definitely be tracking this!

My own experiences include an early childhood where the vast majority of my friends were boys - I wore mostly boys clothes, had short hair, an obsession with dinosaurs and basketball - but when I was by myself, I had a giant dress-up box filled with stuff my mom had collected over the years from all over, including yards of fabric and hats and some of my grandmother's fancy dressing gowns and so forth, that could and did occupy my time for hours and hours.

When I hit puberty (at age nine - hey thanks, body, for that delightful experience!) and became the first girl in my class to get boobs, and started getting a crush on one of my male friends, I found that the desire to be seen as Tougher Than You started to be outweighed by the desire to be seen as conventionally pretty. I began to go in the opposite direction - I remember one particular fuzzy pink sweater I wore in middle school that my little kid self would have laughed at so hard. This is also the time where I stopped playing sports, started to think of myself as bad at them. As time wore on, though, I began to understand that toughness and femininity were not mutually exclusive. I found a balance toward the end of high school, but it took a while.

I think the things that helped me get there were, in large part, a few female characters in novels and, to some extent, TV, that I would definitely consider warriors - Aerin and Harry from the Damar series by Robin McKinley, in particular, but also Alanna from the Tortall books, and toward the end of my high school experience Sydney from Alias, all of whom were tough as nails but had their own particular expressions of femininity. The ability to recognize the potential in yourself to be something you admire is a lot easier to develop when you have a character that looks, at least a little, like you, and I'm not sure I would have been able to do it, at least not as quickly, if Aerin and Harry and Alanna and Sydney hadn't been around. (And let me tell you it sucks balls that they're all white characters - YA fiction really needs to step up in that regard.)

At the heart of it all the characters I identify with, male or female, tend to start out being loners and find themselves sucked into a family they didn't anticipate finding. I don't know if there's any one character in Generation Kill I identify with, frankly, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the series, and it's certainly not because the characters are male. It's mostly because I didn't see that transition into a family - they were presented to me fully formed, and it was enjoyable to watch but it wasn't a recipe for me latching onto a character, you know?

And apparently I had a lot to say about that. Oops.
Edited Date: 2012-03-02 02:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-06 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
that's very cool, man. it's so great to see people's different stories and experiences.

can i ask what your favorite thing about gen kill was?

Date: 2012-03-02 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bookishwench.livejournal.com
Hmmm. I need to think further on this. Honestly, I oringially popped over because I wanted to make sure you saw your husband on the Daly Show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzNMtGx_cZc

Date: 2012-03-02 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bookishwench.livejournal.com
Okay, and now I've thought. While I was never anti-girly-girl and I liked pink (though not as much as blue) and frilly stuff, looking back, a lot of my fandoms have been centered around warrior women. I thin my first real fandom of sorts was Greek mythology, and LOVED Athena and Artemis because they were smart and powerful, and, incidentally, both warriors; hence my infamously going out as Athena for Halloween when I was 10. Aphrodite just seemed wildly dangerous (most lethal Olympian, imho), so I never really centered on her. I liked Friff in Norse myth because she's smart, and her relationship with Odin was remarkably equal, with her having the right to sit on his throne. She's not really a warrior per se, but then they re-did Sif in the Marvel universe (and in Thor) as the warrior maiden, and yeah, she is beyond cool. Same with Eowyn in LotR, which of course has huge batle scenes. Buffy is obvious, of course, as well as Zoe in Firefly (not to mention she and Mal are both post-military, and that whole universe is essentially under martial law). I'd argue Hermione is easily a warrior woman, too, and I adore her, and of course the world of HP is under threat of war or actually at war the vast majority of the time. Heck, I love the Muppets, and Miss Piggy may have been a silk clad, never a hair out of place, lavender elbow glove wearing, high-heeled fashionista, but she was also a black belt in judo who took guff from no one.

So on one level, I tend to gravitate towards fandoms with smart women first, but yeah, those women do usually have the ability to kick booty. I'm probably self-inserting there somewhat.

Date: 2012-03-06 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
i recently told someone i had miss piggy as a formative heroine when it came to being a badass girl, and they said, uhhhh. they didn't get it. it's BECAUSE she was always impeccably girly. she would get that sweet tone with kermit, she liked to wear makeup and beautiful clothes... and if you got her mad, she'd hai-yah you into next week. traditionally feminine role with a traditionally masculine attitude thunked right down in the middle of it. you could never say she wasn't either of those things. the very idea of miss piggy battles the patriarchal, misogynistic prejudice that says a woman with a spine, some self-respect, or the ability to kick the living shit out of her enemies... is by definition unfeminine.

that prejudice bugs me deeply. sometimes i think i've spent most of my life trying to figure out how to get out of it.

Date: 2012-03-03 12:03 am (UTC)
ext_17093: (Default)
From: [identity profile] shinywhimsy.livejournal.com
i am... very gemini, i guess. i was very girly-girl and very much not at the same time. i danced classic ballet for most of my childhood and teenage years, i've always loved make-up and hair stuff, i've always been attuned to fashion and clothes, i love shoes. i've never been into sports and i've always loved dolls. but i've never actually considered myself really "feminine" if only because i'm too dorky and clumsy to pull off "classic" femininity. i've also always loved "boy toys" and superheroes and videogames and computers and electronics in general, all things most women that i personally know aren't that into.

with that whole tl;dr thing up there, i've always identified more with the justice-avenging loner warriors than soldiers, more with the behind-the-scenes hero than the team player or something. the whole military precision and discipline thing has never been my cup of tea. but i can see the appeal of the "protection and justice" ideal behind the soldier thing. classic example of all this for me is how i've always identified with several x-men at different times.

i actually have no idea if i've answered your question! yay, sleep deprivation, yay! :">

Date: 2012-03-06 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
seeing a lot of isolation in these comments, lots of girls identifying with the loners. really interesting stuff. thanks for sharing. :)

Date: 2012-03-06 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valancymay.livejournal.com
My father was a soldier. I'm definitely a girly-girl, and even more definitely a daddy's girl. Is there more to say?

Date: 2012-03-06 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
yes. is that starbuck in your icon?

Date: 2012-03-06 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
would you say you identify with starbuck, when you watch that show? if you don't mind answering that question. :)

Date: 2012-03-07 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rubywisp.livejournal.com
Huh. As a very little girl I was very girly, and then had such an aversion to it that I would tell people I was a boy before puberty killed that.

I joined the Marines, so yeah, you could say I identify. :p

And now...I'm not a frilly person by any means, but the idea of me being any kind of macho or having been a Marine makes people literally gape.

This is a really interesting discussion topic, danners. Also, HI. <3

Date: 2012-03-15 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterlive.livejournal.com
you are super. your experience in this arena far outstrips mine and you're one of the ladies who made me even think of the question. i love u? HELLO. <3

Date: 2012-05-02 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] acostilow.livejournal.com
Yes, I identify, because I was raised by a man who did Special Warfare, so I can sort of understand the psyche.



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