Exclusive - Helen Thorpe Extended Interview Pt. 2

  • Aired:  08/05/14
  •  | Views: 3,817

"Soldier Girls" author Helen Thorpe examines the interpersonal relationships and gender dynamics that affect female soldiers while in service. (4:00)

>> Jon: WHAT WAS MOSTINTERESTING ABOUT THIS

IS IN THE BOOKS THAT I'VE READABOUT MALE EXPERIENCE IN WAR,

THERE'S A CERTAIN CAMARADERIETHAT YOU NEVER GET BENEATH, BUT

THIS OPENS UP A DOOR TO THEINTERACTION BETWEEN SOLDIERS

THAT IS VERY DIFFERENT ANDFRAUGHT WITH A LOT MORE

COMPLICATIONS...>> YEAH.

>> Jon: IN TERMS OFINTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

>> RIGHT.>> Jon: YOU KNOW,

OUT OF MARRIAGERELATIONSHIPS, DRINKING.

LIKE, IT IS A LOT MORE...THERE'S A LOT MORE DEPTH TO IT.

>> SO THESE WOMEN WERE, YOUKNOW, DEPLOYED ON THESE MULTIPLE

LENGTHY DEPLOYMENTS, FIRST TOAFGHANISTAN, THEN TO IRAQ, AND

THE WORK THEY WERE DOING WASFIXING BROKEN AK-47s IN

AFGHANISTAN AS WEAPONS MECHANICSOR IN DESMA'S CASE, WHEN SHE'S

IN IRAQ, DRIVING A GUN TRUCK ATTHE FRONT OF A SUPPLY CONVOY.

AND THEN TO RELIEVE THE STRESSTHAT THEY WERE UNDER FROM THESE,

YOU KNOW, LENGTHYDEPLOYMENTS AWAY FROM HOME,

FEELING ISOLATED ANDLONELY TWO OF THE WOMEN DID

HAVE AFFAIRS WITH MEN WHO WEREMARRIED WHO WERE THEIR

COLLEAGUES, AND ONE WOMAN ENDSUP DRINKING... SHE WANTS A

COCKTAIL AT THE END OF EVERY DAYAND SHE ENDS UP RELYING ON

ALCOHOL TO SORT OF GET HERTHROUGH THE DEPLOYMENT.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THEY SPEAK REALLYCANDIDLY ABOUT THOSE COPING

MECHANISMS THAT THEY RELIEDON THE GET THROUGH THE

DEPLOYMENT, AND IN SOME CASES,YOU KNOW, THEN THEY FIND

THEMSELVES AT HOMEBATTLING ADDICTION OR...

>> Jon: SURE. AND ITWAS INTERESTING, TOO,

BECAUSE THEY WERE, YOU KNOW,THEY WERE A BIT OF A RARE

COMMODITY OVER THERE, SO,YOU KNOW, THIS IDEA THAT THE

MALES ARE KIND OF FIGHTING FORTHEIR ATTENTION...

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: IN WAYS WANTED BUT ALSOUNWANTED,

AND IT SHOWS THE DIFFICULTY THEYHAVE IN HAVING TO NAVIGATE EVEN

FORGET ABOUT THEENEMY ENVIRONMENT...

>> RIGHT.>> Jon: THEIR OWN ENVIRONMENT.

>> YEAH.

SO BECAUSE THEY'RE SERVING IN AMIXED-GENDER BATTALION, THE

RATIO IS LIKE 2-1 ROUGHLY INTHEIR OWN BATTALION.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> MEN TO WOMEN.

BUT THEY'RE ON A MILITARY POSTALONGSIDE OF ALL-MALE

INFANTRY SOLDIERS OR FOREIGNSOLDIERS FROM DIFFERENT

COUNTRIES THAT ARE ALL MALE, SOTHE RATIO ON THE POST ITSELF IS

EVEN MORE SKEWED MANY MORE MENTO WOMEN, AND THEY ARE A SCARCE

COMMODITY.

THE YOUNGEST IN THE BOOK, THEYOUNGEST WOMAN, MICHELLE, IS

FINDING THAT EVERYWHERE SHEGOES, THE MEN ARE READING THE

NAME TAG ON HER ARMY UNIFORM ANDCALLING OUT TO HER BY NAME AS

IF THEY KNOW HER, SO FROM THEMOMENT SHE LEAVES HER TENT

IN THE MORNING UNTIL SHE GETSBACK TO HER TENT AT NIGHT,

IT'S NON-STOP ATTENTION. ANDTHEN YOU HAVE DEBBIE, WHO IS

30 YEARS OLDER, SHE'S IN HEREARLY 50s, AND SHE'S LOOKING ON

THINKING, WOW, IT'S LONGTIME SINCE I GOT THAT

KIND OF ATTENTION AND SHE'S NOTGETTING QUITE THAT SORT OF

ATTENTION, AND YOU CAN SEE ITFROM DIFFERENT VANTAGE POINTS

DEPENDING ON THEIR AGE.

>> RIGHT. YEAH, THAT'S, THAT'SWHAT'S INCREDIBLE ABOUT IT.

>> YEAH.>> Jon: AND IT GIVES A VIEW

ALMOST FROM A 180 OFWHAT WE'RE ACCUSTOMED TO.

AND IT'S VERY VALUABLE ADDITIONIN THAT WAY IT SEEMS.

>> THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

>> Jon: WELL, THANK YOU FORCOMING ON.

>> PLEASURE.>> Jon: AND SHARING IT WITH US.

HAVE THE WOMEN READ IT? HAVETHEY?

>> I ACTUALLY GAVE THEM THEMANUSCRIPT BEFORE IT WAS

PUBLISHED...>> Jon: OH OK.

>> SO THEY COULD READ IT.

I WANTED... YOU KNOW, IT'S WORKOF JOURNALISM.

IT WASN'T LIKE AN AUTHORIZEDBIOGRAPHY OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

>> Jon: SURE.>> BUT I WANTED THEM TO READ IT

AND KNOW WHAT WAS COMING OUT,AND I WANTED TO HEAR THEIR

THOUGHTS, SO YEAH, THEYENDORSED THE PROJECT. WHICH I

REALLY...>> Jon: OH, THEY DID?

SO IT'S NOT LIKE THEY READ ITAND WENT LIKE, I WILL NEVER

SPEAK WITH YOU AGAIN.[LAUGHTER]

>> NO. THEY READ IT, THEY READIT AND EACH OF THEM HAD SOME

CONCERN ABOUT SOMEFAMILY MEMBER WHERE THEY HAD

TOLD ME SOMETHING REVEALINGABOUT THEIR DAUGHTER OR THEIR

BOYFRIEND...>> Jon: OH, RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

>> AND THEN THEY WANTEDTO PROTECT OTHER PEOPLE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT THEY SAID ALL THAT STUFFI TOLD YOU ABOUT MYSELF,

YEP, THAT'S THE WAY IT HAPPENED.

>> Jon: WOW.

THAT'S TERRIFIC.

DO YOU GUYS STILL GET TOGETHER?

>> YES. YES.

>> Jon: THAT'S NICE.

>> AND MICHELLE FISHER HAS ACRUSH ON YOU.

>> MICHELLE FISHER HAS A CRUSHON ME?

>> YEAH. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

>> Jon: I KNOW WHAT'S IN HERDIARY.

[LAUGHTER]WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR

COMING AND SHARING THE STORY.>> THANK YOU.

>> Jon: "SOLDIER GIRLS" IS ONTHE SHELVES NOW.

HELEN THORPE, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Loading...