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Michael Davis
08-15-2010, 11:48 PM
Half way through writing a SF where a character (minor) is being called upon for a "Divine Wind" type mission (suicide). Two questions:

I was considering having the character be female, then it hit me, "Would a woman willingly accept such a mission?" Normally its men that wrap themselves in crazy ideals (like Divine Wind) at the cost of their lives (no political discussions, please), but women (this is a good statement so no offense intended) are usually risk adverse in nature. For example, if you look at records of teen kids in the hospital, most are boys from dumb stunts (motorcycles, skateboards, etc) or physical games. This doesn't mean that girls don't get hurt from dumb stuff, just not as often as boys. When my son was hit on his bike by a car, while he was in the hospital, out of 24 kids in the children ward, only one (a two YO hurt in a house accident) was female.

So the question is, would a woman in her 30s/40s accept a mission where she is told she will perish for the "Common good"? Does you answer depend on whether she's married or not? Has kids or not?

2. Lets assume that she would. What would her justification be (assuming she was not forced). For example, a man might do it to save his wife/kid/etc if in someway they would benefit (e.g like Rommel did for his wife and son) but would a wife leave her child at all if not forced to. Yes, I know women go to war now, but "most" enlisted or officer females are without children.

I know there's a lot of variables to this question, but I'm asking if it would be "plausible", something as a reader you would not react with "What a bunch of bull".

All feedback is welcome and this is not intended to be a PC discussion, but a legitimate inquiry. I've received great feedback in the past from the forum and used it in my stories, and that is the purpose of this post.

Thanks in advance.

Sophia
08-15-2010, 11:53 PM
Yes, for me, it would be plausible. This Wikipedia link on female suicide bombers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_suicide_bomber) might be a good starting place for your research. I have read articles over recent years on female suicide bombers, including one on the BBC News site that was an interview with a woman in Iraq, I think, who intended to do it. She gave her reasons for it, and that interview might be of interest to you. (The BBC News site is searchable).

Bookewyrme
08-16-2010, 12:04 AM
It certainly sounds plausible to me. There have been a great many female martyrs just as there have been male ones throughout history, and while female suicide bombers probably aren't QUITE as common as male ones, they're not rare either.

Also, while I agree that men are more accident/stupid stunt prone in general, it seems to me that this is something different. You're asking not if a woman would be likely to pull a dumb stunt, but rather would she be willing to lay down her life for her country/family/cause she was devoted to. Personally, I find the implication that women are less likely to be that devoted a bit insulting. I feel that by questioning this in the first place you erase every woman who has ever served in the military and defended her country in battle (and sometimes died), gone to war-torn regions to render aid (and died for it), or done any number of extremely dangerous things in the name of a cause she believed in.

Anyway, as for the children/marriage aspect, that's something I think you'd have to ask if it makes sense for the character and the situation. Every character or person will have different levels of devotion and motivation. Some women would rather sacrifice themselves to better their children's lives, some would never leave their children under any circumstances, and some women have children they don't want in the first place. It depends on the character/person.

COchick
08-16-2010, 12:08 AM
I think women would do it, but as a mother and wife, I would have personal trouble being a suicide bomber, because even if it was for the "greater good", what about my family? What would happen to them/who would take care of them, etc? I think that sort of thing would be on a lot of women's minds.

Kenra Daniels
08-16-2010, 12:13 AM
It's entirely plausible to me.
I could buy that if a woman truly believed an action would ENSURE a drastically better future for her children, I believe she would take such action without hesitation. At least in some cases.
I would think that women without children would be more willing to die for a cause, to ensure the common good, than women with children. A mother is more likely to be more concerned with the immediate welfare of her children, than with the welfare of humanity. But I can see a mother making the sacrifice given the right circumstances.
Just my two cents...
DL

backslashbaby
08-16-2010, 12:19 AM
However men with children rationalize it, you will definitely find women doing the same.

And there are so many men and women who risk their lives in military service, leaving their children back home. It's not hard to find interviews, etc, explaining different motivations for that.

I don't know if it matters what the majority of women do, btw. It's believable, because it happens. Often, even.

BrooklynLee
08-16-2010, 12:19 AM
You might want to check out the Hunger Games, which is a book in which a teenage girl basically takes on a "suicide mission" to save her younger sister...and ends up sacrificing a lot to help a male friend as well.

But in general, I think it would depend on the cause. I think that women are less likely to run up the hill screaming into enemy fire like in war movies, because, well, stuff like that doesn't make a lot of sense to rational people. But a calculated choice that would help a lot of people? I think there are plenty of women who would do that.

leahzero
08-16-2010, 04:49 AM
Yes, a woman would accept such a mission. Gender roles are culturally defined and reinforced. To answer your question of motivation, you need to understand the society this woman comes from.

Is it a modern society similar to ours? Then simply look at the women in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. They go to war for all the same reasons men do. As for leaving her child--assuming her partner is not also serving, she would entrust her partner to raise the kid. Child-rearing is not by default a female duty. I'd think the woman in question would have discussed this potentiality with her partner, and they would have previously come to an agreement that the partner will raise the child while the mother goes to war.

If her society is a futuristic extrapolation of our own, I'd imagine they're more progressive and egalitarian, and it would be even more common to find women in combat roles and, by extension, in high-risk situations.

veinglory
08-16-2010, 05:29 AM
Of course. Women can and have carried out suicide missions throughout history.

MAP
08-16-2010, 09:36 AM
I agree with everyone else that women would do this and many have in the past.

I'm surprised that you think men would sacrifice themselves to save their families but women would not. Speaking as a mother, there is nothing I wouldn't do to save my children. Just because most women traditionally have been the nurturers and caregivers, doesn't mean that we wouldn't fight and sacrifice ourselves to protect our families like men would.

After I had my first child, I felt a carnal instinct to protect her, probably hormones. I seriously felt like a mother bear, and I knew that I would sacrifice myself to save her. And I still would to this day.

I also think there are more women serving in the military with children then you think. I don't know the statistics, but I bet you would be surprised by how many have children at some point in their military career.

johnnysannie
08-16-2010, 02:54 PM
Yes, a woman would and could do it.

Many women who serve in the Armed Forces today DO have children that remain back home; my kids go to school with several children who live with just their dad or other relatives because their mothers are serving, some in Iraq.

Michael Davis
08-16-2010, 03:35 PM
Thanks all.

That was kind of my take, but when I question a few local female friends, they weren't so sure and it made me question my gut. I also surveyed another site and they too brought up the trend toward female bombers which I had not considered.

I appreciate the input, and thanx for not turning the discussion into a PC issue and getting insulted by the question. Thats why the forum is so useful, professional maturity.

Rowan
08-17-2010, 02:59 AM
Half way through writing a SF where a character (minor) is being called upon for a "Divine Wind" type mission (suicide). Two questions:

I was considering having the character be female, then it hit me, "Would a woman willingly accept such a mission?" Normally its men that wrap themselves in crazy ideals (like Divine Wind) at the cost of their lives (no political discussions, please), but women (this is a good statement so no offense intended) are usually risk adverse in nature. For example, if you look at records of teen kids in the hospital, most are boys from dumb stunts (motorcycles, skateboards, etc) or physical games. This doesn't mean that girls don't get hurt from dumb stuff, just not as often as boys. When my son was hit on his bike by a car, while he was in the hospital, out of 24 kids in the children ward, only one (a two YO hurt in a house accident) was female.

So the question is, would a woman in her 30s/40s accept a mission where she is told she will perish for the "Common good"? Does you answer depend on whether she's married or not? Has kids or not?

2. Lets assume that she would. What would her justification be (assuming she was not forced). For example, a man might do it to save his wife/kid/etc if in someway they would benefit (e.g like Rommel did for his wife and son) but would a wife leave her child at all if not forced to. Yes, I know women go to war now, but "most" enlisted or officer females are without children.

I know there's a lot of variables to this question, but I'm asking if it would be "plausible", something as a reader you would not react with "What a bunch of bull".

All feedback is welcome and this is not intended to be a PC discussion, but a legitimate inquiry. I've received great feedback in the past from the forum and used it in my stories, and that is the purpose of this post.

Thanks in advance.

Yes--IMHO, a woman is just as likely as a man to accept a mission of this nature, even at her own peril. Women are just as honorable as men and would therefore choose to accept a mission for the very same reasons. For example, I enlisted in the USMC and also signed up as a fed for many of the same reasons as my male counterparts. A woman would die for those that she loves (including her country)--even if that means leaving her children, spouse, family, etc. She would do it for them.

I'm wondering where you got your stats in #2 ("...I know women go to war now, but "most" enlisted or officer females are without children...")???? I would have to dispute this just based on my personal experience, but I'm very curious as to the source of this stat. :)

Hope that helps!

Becky Black
08-17-2010, 02:05 PM
It may just be that there are fewer women who've gone on suicide missions because they simply haven't been asked to as often as men, or are less likely to be in the positons and professions where suicide missions are likely to be required. When they are, they'll do it. They can be just as brave, patriotic, honourable or fanatical as men.

Aservan
08-21-2010, 01:03 AM
I'll agree with the female members that I can see a woman thinking she's a martyr.

As for Kamikaze, that was plain stupid. Honor, willingness to die for the greater good, blah, blah, blah. From a military perspective it was D-U-M-B.

The problem with suicide tactics is that they are stupidly wasteful. They annoy and irritate your opponent. They don't really hamper her ability to kick your ass. The Japanese sacrificed planes and soldiers that could have been useful fortifying the islands rather then desperately trying to win a navel battle they hadn't a prayer of winning. Those planes would have been a good thing to have when the Enola Gaye came calling.

Think about it. 9-11 didn't hamper America's ability to make war. If anything it had the opposite effect. It increased the public's willingness to fight. Kamikaze had a similar effect. It terrified the sailors, but it also convinced them that the Japanese were bug nuts and best exterminated before they did something worse.

You win wars by convincing your foe to give up and stop fighting. There are two ways to do that. You can kill all of them (this is really, really hard), or you can break their will. My guess is that terrorists see themselves as little General Shermans, but they really don't understand war if they do.

Be careful about your suicide character and how you want the audience to view her. Suicide bombers are mentally/emotionally damaged people. There is nothing preventing a woman from having a broken brain.

quixotic!fantastic!
09-30-2010, 10:26 AM
Try reading Maria Eugenia Vasquez Perdomo's autobiography about her life as a revolutionary. She wasn't taking on one specific suicide task, but I think the way she writes, the book is easy to read and provides insight into a woman who fights for essentially the same reason as the men around her, and has no problem dying in the process.

http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/1756_reg_print.html

One thing to watch out for is that in this book it can come across as Perdomo making excuses about her actions. I think with any character preforming questionable acts, you'll have to work hard to really get into their head to peel back layer after layer of truths and semi-truths they have compiled to reach the decision they've made. There is rarely a simple, "She was doing ___ because of ____," one reason, one easy answer.

Mr Flibble
09-30-2010, 02:15 PM
I was considering having the character be female, then it hit me, "Would a woman willingly accept such a mission?"That's like asking 'would a brunette accept this mission?'. It depends on the character.






So the question is, would a woman in her 30s/40s accept a mission where she is told she will perish for the "Common good"? Does you answer depend on whether she's married or not? Has kids or not? Depends on the character. Some would do it like a shot, same as some men. Some wouldn't, same as some men wouldn't.


2. Lets assume that she would. What would her justification be (assuming she was not forced). For example, a man might do it to save his wife/kid/etc if in someway they would benefit (e.g like Rommel did for his wife and son) but would a wife leave her child at all if not forced to. Yes, I know women go to war now, but "most" enlisted or officer females are without children.Depends on the character. She could have exactly the same justification as some men, or one of her very own. A woman might do it to save her husband/kid, just like Rommel. Only without dangly bits....



Really this does not come down to gender. It comes down to the sort of person she is, not her plumbing.

If it was necessary, I'd do it like a shot. It might take a lot to convince me it was necessary however.

shaldna
09-30-2010, 06:38 PM
I think anyone can get caught up in that mentality. People with families, intelligent people, people with or without faith all have the potential.

Look at suicide bombers, or even cults. That way of thinking, that devotion, it can happen, and does happen, to people of all ages and types, men and women both.

Menyanthana
10-08-2010, 01:16 PM
So the question is, would a woman in her 30s/40s accept a mission where she is told she will perish for the "Common good"? Does you answer depend on whether she's married or not? Has kids or not?

I wouldn't risk anything "just because" (that's what boys and men like to do), but for the "common good"...much more plausible.
Kids might be a reason to do it if they are saved by it.


2. Lets assume that she would. What would her justification be (assuming she was not forced). For example, a man might do it to save his wife/kid/etc if in someway they would benefit (e.g like Rommel did for his wife and son) but would a wife leave her child at all if not forced to.

If it is necessary to save the kid - of course. I don't have children but...yes, I think I would. And I certainly wouldn't say it isn't plausible.

Granted, I am a coward. But I have ideals and I do think it is better to leave a child with other people and save the world than stay with the child and die together. If I decided to stay at home instead it would be because I am a coward, not because I am a woman.



A female character can do everything without it being implausible. People are not all the same.
However...a female character who goes on a suicide mission to save her children is pretty cliché. No problem at all.