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'Girl' skipper shame

(100 Posts)
MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 05:23:12

I have a variety of thoughts about this, but at the moment I'm just so bloody incensed that this story starts with calling her a girl.

ArsenicFaceCream Sun 27-Jul-14 05:31:19

A sub editor tried to tell me once that various pathetic words beloved of the red top headline writers (including girl) were necessary because of the font and size of headlines. (There is also a myth in journalism that red top writers have to be cleverer because of the word count constraint and 'there's a real art to it'. )

I say Pfft. I further say that when the oldest sub in Wapping was born in the 70s or later, this shit will stop.

MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 05:36:35

I'm also intensely disappointed by her. Number 1 thing she had to not do every day was shag the crew; so many prejudices and reasons for people to dismiss a woman being in charge of men (in the military) will now be given credence. Of course, I recognise that this is unfair - she should no more 'not cock-up' than any other leader should not cock-up. But the fact is that she WAS a role model far more than the umpteenth man is ever going to be.

I'm just so disappointed... and so cross at the glee with which many people will receive this.

ArsenicFaceCream Sun 27-Jul-14 05:42:11

It's still an unproven allegation. Call me cynical, but it's the type of allegation a plot to discredit her would throw. Maybe it is more complex than it looks.

I'm just not sure a woman gets to that position (and in the navy which is still abit behind the other forces, I think) by being so daft and allowing herself to be so wasily undermined.

CaptChaos Sun 27-Jul-14 06:52:55

What Arsenic said.

Although the Navy isn't any further behind than any other section of the Military. However, the Navy does have a certain history.

More importantly, why do all women have to represent all women, whereas all men represent themselves?

hoboken Sun 27-Jul-14 07:24:51

Agree with Chaos.

Neither a male Commander who fiddled expenses and was dismissed from the navy nor another some of whose crew were taken hostage by Iranians and who was relieved from his command, were referred to as 'boys'.

Sarah West broke the rules as did they. Whereas they are seen as former Naval Commanders who were punished, she is seen as a 'girl' whose situation is being held up to imply that women may be 'temperamentally unsuited' to command.

(Not saying she should not be punished - she has to accept the rules and all that goes with them)

merrymouse Sun 27-Jul-14 07:31:51

If you want to reduce letter count, boy is also a short word. Somebody should tell them because it isn't used nearly as much.

SevenZarkSeven Sun 27-Jul-14 12:24:45

She's 41 for fucks sake.

Would they refer to a 41 year old male navy commander as a boy? Of course they fucking woulnd't/


MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 12:53:20

No, she shouldn't have the representative burden - as I said. But she does, doesn't she. The same as Obama represented blacks when he won. It's another burden minorities have to face.

CaptChaos Sun 27-Jul-14 14:07:13

Women are not a minority. I do not represent all women and neither does she, except in the minds of people who can't tell one person from another.

There is more to this than her genitals. The way it's been reported is nasty though.

MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 14:44:45

She is a minority in terms of her appointment.

MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 14:51:12

This doesn't seem a difficult concept to me; the perception of someone who is a pioneer differs. It is important not only to people who are opposed to a new idea, but also those that have campaigned for it. Yes, ok, I get it; it's unfair that this extra weight exists, but it's myopic and perverse to deny it.

Chaos, when Obama was elected did you wonder what all the fuss was about whilst saying, "well there's lots of black men in the world. He is no different from any other President"?

I just despair at this dogmatic filter that stubbornly refuses to acknowledge realities.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MontyGlee Sun 27-Jul-14 18:09:46

It meant something when Obama was elected. It meant something when West became the first female to be given Command of a (large) warship. It will mean something when the US gets it's first female President.

And, here's a question, if the next UK election gives us the potential of a new female PM, would that affect the voting intentions of the public? I would guess yes.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thecatfromjapan Sun 27-Jul-14 18:19:41

I cannot believe that we are still having to argue the ins and outs of whether a woman has to carry the burden of representation (nice phrase, btw) in 2014.

I seem to recall Virginia Woolf wrote about this, FFS - a loooong time ago. I seem to recall having discussions about this (and the subject was old back then) when I was a student, over thirty years ago.

Time seems to travel bloody slowly for women's equality, doesn;t it?

My body grows old and tired, but this shit stays ever-green. sad

SevenZarkSeven Sun 27-Jul-14 18:20:58

"It meant something when West became the first female to be given Command of a (large) warship. "


Her maj for eg commands all the armies and navies and she's hardly the first.

Don't get it. wasn't Elizabeth 1 v hands on at ordering armies around? Vic 1? Must admit not shit hot at history but thought women had been doing being in charge of vast quantities of troops and stuff fairly regularly throughout history.

May have got the wrong end of the stick.

SevenZarkSeven Sun 27-Jul-14 18:22:05

Oh I read that as "The West" as in first woman in the west, not an actual person.

CaptChaos Sun 27-Jul-14 18:48:33

She's only a Commander, there's plenty of women in similar and higher ranks across the 3 services which allow women, the Royal Marines don't accept women, except in their band.

There are more likely to be other considerations than the contents of her underwear in releasing this story. This is hardly the same as Barack Obama becoming the first black president. And, to answer your question, yes, some people do judge all black people on whether or not Obama fucks up, those people are idiots, same as the ones who will judge all women on West. You can't legislate or plan for stupid.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thecatfromjapan Sun 27-Jul-14 18:55:12

By the way, I should make clear that, while my post was fairly angry, the anger was directed at the headlines I've been seeing on various newsstands all day, rather than any poster. I've felt very harassed by the headline and it's been a niggling and annoying presence as I've gone about my business. Irritating.

CaptChaos Sun 27-Jul-14 19:14:28

Buffy I'm not sure if the mainstream media does so much, at least while he's in power, but the religious right, the GOP and others certainly allude to it. No one will come right out and say it in print media, but a lot of people I've argued spoken to have definitely got it in their heads that he's messing up because he's black, and that his missteps will come back to haunt any future black presidential candidates.

I suspect that, should there be another black presidential candidate in the near future, there will be a fair amount of people on the opposing 'team' suggesting that because Obama has done x, then any black president could potentially do it too.

Sorry, a bit rambling, but the upshot is, yes, I believe that, certainly with the GOP faithful, so old, white and rich, that any misstep by Obama will be seen as reflecting on any black person in a position of relative power.

rootypig Sun 27-Jul-14 19:20:49

I was irritated to hear this reported as second or third in the BBC radio news bulletins when the story first broke. It seemed a disproportionate response - do HR issues involving senior military men make front page news? and too early to be reporting the allegation verbatim.

LurcioAgain Sun 27-Jul-14 19:57:54

The David Petraeus scandal did make headline news - but only because of how senior he was (commanding general in 2nd Iraq, then director of the CIA - the post from which he had to resign war when the affair came to light). He certainly wasn't just one naval captain among many. And (as others have said) no one judged all male generals on the basis of what he'd got up to.
I believe prior to the revelations he'd been widely tipped as a future US defence secretary.

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