Friday, March 10, 2017

Thanks to Pride&Joy

Why This Military Hero Wasn't at All Shocked by the Marine Nude Photo Scandal

MJ Hegar talks to about her new memoir, Shoot Like a Girl

By Mar 10, 2017

Early in MJ Hegar’s military career, when she was an aircraft maintenance officer in the Air Force, she went to the firing range at Misawa Air Force Base, in northern Japan. She shot her rounds, and when she scored “expert marksman” — the highest level — her instructor was impressed. “Outstanding,” he told her. “You shoot like a girl.”
“For a split second, I thought he was trying to insult me,” Hegar tells me. But then he explained: In his experience, women actually do shoot better than men. (She cites anecdotal evidence as well as women’s lower center of gravity to back this up.) That was the first time Hegar, now a major in the Air Force who earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan after being shot down while rescuing American soldiers, felt that being a woman was actually a benefit to her in her military career.
That seminal moment inspired the title of her new memoir. In the book, she details her harrowing tours in Afghanistan, as well as her landmark lawsuit challenging the military’s ban on women in combat. Though the Defense Department lifted the ban in 2015, Hegar says the fight isn’t over. Here, she explains why — and gives some tips to actress Angelina Jolie, who is rumored to play Hegar in the upcoming film adaption of Shoot Like a Girl.

Other than shooting, what are some other ways that being a woman has really helped your military career?

One of the arguments against putting women in combat is [that] they like to point to PTSD rates and say that women have a higher rate of PTSD. And I argue vehemently that it’s because women are more likely to speak up and say they have PTSD, because there’s this male ego dynamic that happens that I’ve seen firsthand. With the situation I was in when I was shot down, I self-identified as having PTSD. My male crew members did not, but they all came to me and said, “What are you experiencing? I’m experiencing that, too. Are you going to talk to a counselor? If you do talk to a counselor, can you ask them what this means or how to deal with this?” They were trying to get help through me because they were too embarrassed to admit it. So I think that was a benefit, not having that ego issue, and I think it benefited my crew having me on there because they could come to me and tell me about their problems and their experiences with PTSD without feeling like I was judging them.

Tell me about the day you were shot down.

So we flew a medevac mission to pick up three urgent injured American soldiers that had been on a convoy that hit an IED. And we picked them up and took a lot of damage actually in the landing zone, in the LZ, when we landed. And I took a bullet through the windshield that — the bullet fragmented into several pieces, and I got pieces of it in my arm and leg, my right arm and leg. We lifted and tried to get our patients back to safety. There’s a lot more to the story, but eventually we had to come in twice. ... But we lifted and got our patients, trying to get our patients to safety, and the aircraft was just too disabled. So, we had to do a hard landing about 2 miles away and protect our perimeter while we were still under attack from the enemy while we waited for somebody to expel us out of the crash site.
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Wow. What did you learn from that day?

You know, when men perform in combat, they’re expected to perform well. That's part of being masculine. And when one of them doesn’t perform well, that man alone has let the team down, and that man alone is judged for it. But when — because women aren’t expected to perform well in combat — when women are doing well, they’re treated like they’re exceptional. And when a woman does something bad, it’s, “Well, women are bad.”
[That day,] one of the patients was a female, and she was starting to get a little bit hysterical. And my gunner turned and looked at me and said, “See, this is why they shouldn’t let women on the convoys.” ... And I’m covered in blood, and I’m covered in aviation gas. And I’m like, “Are you kidding me? Why would you say that? I’m standing right in front of you. I’m a warrior just like you.” And he looked at me kind of surprised at himself. Because they never thought of me as a female pilot. I was just their pilot. So he felt comfortable saying something like that to me. When I looked at him with shock on my face, he was like, “Well, not you! You’re great!” ... I learned you have to be very careful. Because if you misstep, your mistakes are magnified, and you represent all women when you make a mistake.

In 2012, you were part of a team that sued to challenge the ban on women in combat. Why did you join that suit?

A few reasons. I had medevacked so many women off the battlefield that I knew that it was a misnomer to say that women weren’t in combat. I had friends that were Marines that were taken to fight the enemy. They weren't just firing in defense of their position. But also, my stepdaughter wanted to be a Marine, and she was 11 years old. And she came to me in tears one day and said that someone had told her that she could not be a Marine because that was a boy's job.
Literally the very next day after that conversation with my stepdaughter, the ACLU called me and said, “Would you like to be part of this fight?” and I was, like, “Normally, I’d say not. But hell yeah, let’s do it.”

You’ve said that the case wasn’t about women’s rights, it was about military effectiveness. What do you mean by that?

I mean that I consider myself a feminist. I think anybody who thinks women and men should be treated equally is a feminist, whether or not they know it. And I am all for fighting for women’s rights, so I don’t mean that to take anything away from the fight for women’s rights. But I’m also a realist, and I’ve also been in combat. And I’ve seen people die. And I wouldn’t fight for something if I thought it wasn’t what was in the best interest of the military I love. 
 There are women in combat, and because of the combat exclusion policy, commanders in the field who need women in those jobs, [they] have to rotate them out every 45 days ... so that they can stay in compliance with that policy. And that does several things. First of all, it’s a logistical pain in the ass, but more importantly, it really impacts unit cohesion. They throw people together who don’t know each other, who haven't trained together, who haven’t deployed together, who haven't fought beside each other. They haven't bled together. They aren’t gonna trust each other, they’re not gonna know each other's strengths and weaknesses. They’re not gonna be able to anticipate each other’s movements. You have to be able to know this guy on my right is not a good shot, so if I see somebody far away who’s sniping us, I know I’m gonna have to try to take that shot. This girl next to me is a good shot, but she’s not a good tactical thinker. Or whatever the strengths and weaknesses are of the people around you. To be successful in combat, you have to understand that.

So before the policy was lifted, women were actually fighting in combat on the ground, but it technically they weren’t “in combat” because they weren’t assigned to it.


One of the arguments for keeping women from combat roles is this paternalistic, “we need to protect our women” mentality. How does that attitude make you feel?

[It’s] such a slippery slope and such a dangerous mind-set. You only feel that you have to protect people that you feel are either too weak to protect themselves or weaker than you. Like chivalry — and I teach my kids to be chivalrous — but that doesn’t mean male to woman. It means strong to weak. When I was nine months pregnant and had my arms full, I was like, “Of course I’m gonna let people hold the door open for me. I’m not an asshole.” You know? But if a little old man is walking with a walker, I’m not gonna let him hold the door open for me. I’m gonna hold the door open for him. That’s chivalry. And this whole lumping women in with children and saying “women and children first” and “women and children need to be protected” is an incredible insult. Women are just like men. There are strong and weak in the group.

President Donald Trump has blamed the rise of military sexual assaults on women being in the military. How do you respond to Trump and others who make similar comments like that?

People don't commit sexual assault because they find themselves alone with a woman in a high-stress situation. Because otherwise, there would be sexual assault epidemics in medicine and other high-stress situations where men and women are alone together. It is an epidemic in the military, and by the way, there are far greater male victims than female victims of sexual assault. It's an epidemic because of the culture that exists in the military. The culture of turning the blind eye, and “boys will be boys,” and protecting people who commit these crimes. [It] has nothing to do with opening opportunities for women.

On that military culture, this past weekend, a secret Facebook group was uncovered where Marines shared nude photos of female service members and other women. What was your reaction when you heard about this? Were you surprised that people would do this?

No, I wasn't surprised at all. … But I'm a little optimistic by the fact that someone stood up and reported it. And I'm optimistic by the fact that the sergeant major of the Marine Corps put out a statement that was a call to action to all Marines to not only not behave in that way, which is what I would have expected, but he set out a call to action to not be silent if you saw things like that. Because honestly, it's not the people who perpetrate these types of things that are the problem, it's the people who are complicit and being silent and allowing it to happen that encourages it, and that adds fuel to the fire, and ... it makes people comfortable in doing these things.

Last month, the Trump administration announced ramped-up military funding, along with serious cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid. That move has been criticized by many in the military. Do cuts to diplomacy make service members job more difficult?

I would hesitate to comment on how I feel about the budget until I saw exactly what was funded. But if it truly and transparently is more of a boots-on-the-ground build-up and a diplomacy and aid decline and decrease, that really makes our job harder. There was a mission that we went on that a lot of my crew members at the time disagreed with. We went into a very dangerous area, we had to have an Apache [helicopter] escort us. We went in and got a woman who was in labor. She had placenta previa. And she was a local. And somebody was like, “I don't want this person to die, but we're putting all of these American lives on the line to go in and save a local woman who, this is her 13th baby, and she's in her 30s, and, you know, I don't understand why we're doing this.” And I understood completely. It’s a couple of things. First of all, that's 13 kids who probably won't grow up to be suicide bombers. Secondly, for all we know, there was a special forces guy in the village meeting with the warlord and needed something in return, or needed to show, “Hey, we can protect you guys, we can take care of you guys, we can defend you when the Taliban comes to hurt you. Oh, you have this going on where your wife is in labor and having a problem? Watch how powerful I am, I can pick up a radio and get medevac here for you.” That's important. That's keeping people from allowing the Taliban to infiltrate their town. We have to give them a reason to stand up to these people. Because if they don't have a reason to, why would you? They come in and they threaten you and your family, and if there's no alternative, then of course you're going to go with it.

The Defense Department opened up combat roles to women in 2015. Is the fight over now that that has happened?

t's only just begun. And this Marine scandal is a great example of that. When we integrated racially, the fight had only begun then too, because now we have to fight the hard part, which is the culture change. ... That's why the lawsuit is still open. We have to monitor implementation and see how it's going to go.  

Angelina Jolie will reportedly play you in the movie about your book. What advice do you have for her to get portraying you right? What should she do to get into the role?

I guess I would have to say that she needs to spend some time with me, because the feedback I get from people who really get to know me is "You are not what we expected at all." … I had an executive coach once tell me she wouldn't take me on as a client. And I called her to find out why, and through my conversation with her, she changed her mind and took me on as a client. And I was, like, “Well, why did you initially tell me no?” And she said, “Because I thought you were going to be this hard-nosed, un-coachable egomaniac who thinks that you're right about everything.” And really, I'm a humble, admit-when-I'm-wrong, open-to-criticism person.

Do you think that has to do with people's idea of femininity? That a woman in combat isn't going to be a nice person?

I think so. I had somebody ask me recently if being a warrior and being a mother was in conflict. And I was, like, “Absolutely not.” In fact, I think I'm even more of a warrior now. I'm such a Mama Bear when it comes to taking care of my kids and responding to things that I view as threats to them.

If I ever meet Angelina Jolie, I'll pass the message along.

I guess you were probably looking for something more black and white, like, “She should get in a bar fight.” That'd be good advice for her. She should get in a bar fight. [Laughs.]

Do you get in a lot of bar fights?

Uh ... no comment. [Laughs.]
This interview has been edited and condensed.

The Guardian

Without Blood
by Alessandro Baricco
Canongate £8.99, pp87

Alessandro Baricco's novels inhabit a country between myth and surrealism, marked by an understated poetry and an existential black humour. In spite of international success with his 1997 novel, Silk, he has retained a cult cachet.

Without Blood marks a return to the brevity and simplicity of form that made Silk so mesmerising and starkly beautiful. The landscape of the novel is almost recognisable, but lacks the hard edges of historical reality; the story begins at the end of a four-year war, but the factions are not named and no dates are given, leaving the story with the possibility of allegory.

Four men arrive at a remote farmhouse to exact a revenge killing on a former doctor accused of torturing enemy casualties. The doctor's son is shot dead, but his daughter, Nina, is hidden beneath the floorboards; the youngest assassin, Tito, finds her, but spares her life.

Fifty-two years later, Nina and Tito meet in a bar in a modern city and recall lives lived in the shadow of their shared memory. Nina was rescued by a horseman and passed to a pharmacist who raised her as his daughter, then lost her in a card game to a count, who married her. Her life appears to her as a series of twists of fate; Tito's story reveals the ornate fabric of deliberate intent behind every encounter. They are each other's past and destiny. As they talk, it becomes apparent that Tito is the last of the four assassins and that the others have been murdered, one by one.

Whether Nina has sought Tito to kill him or forgive him remains hidden until the final page, but the climax comes as a visceral shock. Contained in these few pages is a complete portrait of what it means to be human, at our most elemental, and the effect is awesome.


by Angelina Jolie

 她是性感的女神、神秘的女性、無常的黑魔女、天才的演員、紅毯上的巨星、無私的母親、無懼的鬥士、溫暖的慈善者,也是美麗印記的繆思,鮮少與品牌合作的超級巨星Angelina Jolie,2017年與法國百年香水精品聖殿世家GUERLAIN合作,成為最新香水Mon Guerlain的靈感繆思,而這份珍貴的機緣,實際是源自於裘莉小時後,母親的化妝台上,總有著最鍾愛的GUERLAIN蜜粉,這款經典的蜜粉中,洋溢著洗練優雅的鳶尾花和紫羅蘭香味,是裘莉母親長年珍愛之物,對裘莉而言,GUERLAIN的氣味是她從小對於優雅、美麗女人的印象。

 向來與LVMH集團家族有深厚情誼的裘莉,在集團少東Antoine Armault,和GUERLAIN執行長Laurent Boillot的盛情相邀下,成就了Mon Guerlain香水的誕生。當裘莉正在柬埔寨執導她的第四部劇情長片〈First They Killed My Father〉時,Laurent Boillot與她暢談,並得知她成長對於母親的記憶,和GUERLAIN有如此深厚的淵源,便開始計劃以裘莉為靈感的新世代香水。

 裘莉是當今好萊塢最有影響力也最重視聯合國慈善公益的超級巨星之一,更是一位女權的先鋒。雙子座的裘莉,集性感、美麗與聰穎於一身,向來總是在螢幕上和私生活中展現豐富多元的角色,她沒有一般好萊塢超級女星嬌弱的形象,甚至是充滿著陽剛的戰鬥意志、前衛而大膽的思維,還有不停止的付出和關愛,這些鮮明的形象,成為GUERLAIN第五代首席調香師Thierry Wasser為Mon Guerlain香水找尋成分配方的最佳靈感。

 當代又熱愛古老東方,親切又散發神秘貴氣,性感又不失帥氣灑脫,Thierry Wasser從裘莉身上的特質,找尋最能突現這些當代女性神采的氣息。從巴布亞新幾內亞找到珍貴的塔希堤香草豆莢,香草是GUERLAIN香水圖譜中,經常運用的DNA,塔希堤香草豆莢,是一種獨特又馥郁的芳香氣息,就如同裘莉身上的性感與神秘;產於南法普羅旺斯德龍的卡拉薰衣草,除了純淨自然的氣味外,與塔希堤香草的感性呼應,更有一種清新、明亮的陽剛,就像裘莉最經典的角色「蘿拉・卡芙特女爵」;產於南印度的小花茉莉,彷彿晨曦的光暈,平衡了塔希堤香草與卡拉薰衣草的氣味,傳達女性的溫暖與柔美;沈穩的檀香氣味,是非常迷人又珍貴的木質調香味,揉合前、中的三種香味,帶來低調、內斂、悠遠的後調尾韻。將四種獨特比例的香味,以GUERLAIN經典的四葉草香水瓶作為包裝,模糊柔美與陽剛的Mon Guerlain,就如同裘莉身上那些美麗的刺青,成為一種專屬的印記。

 這支Mon Guerlain香水廣告,裘莉也參與構思和創意指導,全片在裘莉南法的莊園裡拍攝,展現超級巨星,生活中最自然、平凡的一面。Mon Guerlain以裘莉為靈感的香氛,彷彿就像她身上的印記,也讓每個當代女性詮釋屬於自己的氣味印記。


She is a sexy goddess, mysterious woman, impermanence of the black witch, genius actor, red carpet on the star, selfless mother, fearless fighter, warm charity, is also a beautiful mark Muse, Cooperation superstar Angelina Jolie, 2017 and the French century perfume boutique temple family GUERLAIN cooperation, become the latest perfume Mon Guerlain inspiration Muse, and this precious opportunity, actually derived from Julie hours, the mother's make-up On the stage, always have the most favorite GUERLAIN powder, this classic powder, filled with elegant rosy iris and violet fragrance, is Julie mother's long cherished thing, for Julie, GUERLAIN smell is She grew up for the elegant, beautiful woman's impression.

Jolie, who has always had a deep relationship with the LVMH family, has made the birth of Mon Guerlain perfume in the group of Antoine Armault, the owner of Laurent Boillot and GUERLAIN. When Jolie was directing in Cambodia in her fourth film "First Things Killed My Father", Laurent Boillot talked with her and learned that she grew up for her mother's memory and had such a deep source of GUERLAIN and began planning A new generation of perfume inspired by Jolie.

Jolie is today's Hollywood's most influential and most attention to the United Nations charity charity one of the superstar, is a feminist pioneer. Gemini's Jolie, set sexy, beautiful and intelligent in one, has always been on the screen and private life to show a rich and varied role, she did not general Hollywood super actress delicate image, and even filled with masculine fighting will, Avant-garde and bold thinking, as well as non-stop pay and love, these vivid images, as the fifth generation of GUERLAIN chief perfumer Thierry Wasser for Mon Guerlain perfume to find the best recipe for ingredients formula.

This Mon Guerlain perfume ad, Jolie is also involved in the idea and creative guidance, the whole film in the furlie Nanfa manor in the shooting, show superstar, the most natural life, the ordinary side. Mon Guerlain with Jolie as the inspiration of the fragrance, as if like her mark, but also to each contemporary female interpretation of their own smell mark.


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