I can’t help but look at this through the lens of – would you think those concessions or assurances would be necessary if the leader was male (both as a character in the story and as audience)? The first proposal is to take an entitled subordinate who clearly disrespects and disobeys direct commands, at repeated cost to the overall mission, and give him special treatment so he will do his job. Additionally, that would reaffirm that his opinion of their decisions was informed or even relevant. The second proposal buys into the validity of the doubt in the leaderships’ decision & judgment – subordinates never get the full picture, but the dynamics of assumed trust (and assumed competence) play very differently for male & female leaders.
BUT FREEZE PEACH.
It’s a fictional representation of very real situations faced by women in positions of power, where no solution is going to satisfy everyone. In this case, any of these choices would weaken their authority, or foster more doubt. I think that’s why the plotline was framed in the way it was, to illuminate the Sophie’s choices that come with female leadership, and the way the deck is stacked. It may have felt awkward as a part of fiction, but it is completely believable as an event that 100% would have happened in this situation.
Umm, yes, if Holdo was male, I’d expect the same sort of communications with the crew. They don’t need to know all the details of the plan, but some sort of confidence-building statement to reassure them that there was a plan would’ve been beneficial. It’s not just a case of assuming a level of competency or trust in the commanding officer. It’s a case of noticing that crew morale was in the tank and any good officer, male or female, should do what they could in order to boost morale. There have been documented histories of male officers ending up with grenades being thrown into their tents due to letting the morale of their troops getting too bad. The fact that Holdo didn’t end up with more people attempting to mutiny was an affirmation of the trust most of the crew had for her, despite all of them being scared out of their wits.
That may be a separate issue. Women in position of authority in the real world do often face all sorts of complex issues, that is true. Then again, Star Wars generally has always shown female leaders as being respected and capable, so I’m not sure it was necessary to insert a real-world allegory in here.
I just chock it up to bad writing for that plotline.
From my experience, there are some people, and I fully expect Poe would be one of them, for whom no assurance is good enough, unless it’s their plan. In some contexts, as a woman, you can assure & assure and people will still assume you’re X because they want to. And as a fiction, while it’s nice to assume that reasonable behavior begets reasonable behavior, that’s not how it works, and telling those stories is difficult because of the simplistic expectations of fiction.
Depends on what the purpose of your story telling is, but this Star Wars seemed to want to focus on the parts of the narrative that are repeatedly glossed over real-world weaknesses of the classic hero’s narrative: when the “hero” is wrong, when the “hero” abdicates heroism, when a leader has to deal with unmerited insubordination – and what subordinates are and are not entitled to from a leader, when well meaning people with limited information try to be the heroes, the ways in which they succeed and fail.
True, which is why he probably should’ve also been at the very least confined to quarters if not thrown in the brig. Poe was way too much of a hothead at that point (hopefully he will have matured due to the results of his actions in this movie) and definitely had no place on duty on the ship.
That said, my main issue with Holdo was that her behavior was unreasonable given the circumstances. She didn’t reassure the crew. She didn’t even communicate with the crew as she pretty much gave her orders and stood there silently. She didn’t have the hothead who was likely to act rashly, assurances or not, confined until he cooled off or was absolutely needed.
If Holdo had gone out of her way to better communicate with the crew and confine Poe and everything still went ill in the same manner, then yeah, I’d be more likely go along with “maybe because she was woman, she wasn’t taken seriously.” However, she didn’t even try. It made me wonder, thinking about it as a result of this discussion, if she was one of those high-ranking officers who is brilliant with tactics/strategy but not so good as a battlefield commander when it comes to managing troops. It’s not a knock against her – those are two different skills and there’s no guarantee one can be good at both at the same time.
Leah, once she came to, actually did what Holdo probably should’ve done as soon as Poe was acting up: stun Poe and get him out of the way to cool his hot head. Then again, Leah has extensive experience on a battlefield, both as a commander and as “one of the troops,” so it’s possible she understood the situation in a way Holdo did not due to her own lack of similar experience.
You do have a point there. If the purpose of Holdo was to portray the “flawed leader” of the hero’s narrative (assuming I’m understanding you correctly), then there certainly is a point to doing that in the context of the plot. Still, I can’t help but point out those apparent flaws if that was the point of her character.
I think this is where my thought comes from – in life, her male equivalent would be respected for their brilliance, perhaps marked as cold or eccentric, but given a measure of broad ranging trust regardless of their bedside manner. Women are much more expected to have a bedside manner in order to have their competence respected, and it can be a double edged sword – see Hillary Clinton and cookies, or smiling. Not saying the troops would necessarily be more comfortable with the amount of communication portrayed in the film, but that they’d be more comfortable with their discomfort.
While I was visiting my parents over the Thanksgiving weekend, I saw Widows, which completely took me by surprise at how great it was. This heist movie is right up there with Heat. Viola Davis is a force of nature.
Perhaps, but then again, in life, that male equivalent may not have a reputation as being a good battlefield commander either and probably wouldn’t be given a battlefield command. As I stated earlier, good communication skills is one of the requirements of being a good and effective leader in a real world military and a brilliant tactician would be more likely to have a desk job back at military HQ instead of a battlefield command.
I’ll concede that this was an extraordinary situation, given how the Resistance at this point didn’t really have any HQ and their most experienced and capable battlefield commander, General Leah, was in a coma. Holdo was stuck in a position, through no fault of her own, that she did not have the proper experience for (battlefield commander). In fact, if I remember correctly, all the other experienced battlefield commanders (Ackbar, etc.) also were killed or otherwise out of commission at that point, so Holdo was all that was left. Poe was probably the next most senior officer, and given his hot-headed nature, there was no way she was going to let him assume the role of battlefield commander – especially since he probably would’ve done even worse than she did as he lacked the temperament, experience, and tactician’s skills to be effective in that situation. She certainly made the right call here.
If Ackbar or Leah or another more experienced battlefield commander was still available at that time, I honestly feel Holdo would’ve deferred to them and had an advisory role to said commander, much like her role relative to Leah was. While Holdo may have made mistakes in how she handled the situation due to her lack of battlefield command experience, she is still is highly intelligent and would’ve not have assumed a role she herself would’ve known didn’t exercise her strengths.
Again, I think she did get a lot of trust from the crew, given how only the most hotheaded/panicky members (Poe, Finn, Rose) were the ones that basically mutinied against her. You could still see that the crew was still scared out of their wits, though going along with her, despite her lack of clear communication.
My main problem with Holdo and communications isn’t with her bedside manner, or lack thereof. She could’ve been very icy and cold and still communicated better. I wouldn’t necessary expect a motherly “Everything is going to be okay, dears” from her, but something along the lines of, “I have a plan. If you follow my orders I guarantee our survival,” would’ve been beneficial, I think. It was the utter lack of communications of any sort that was my main problem. I’ll also concede that it’s been a while since I saw the movie, so I may have forgotten this sort of communication on her part. I mostly remember her just being silent and stoic.
Then again, the lack of communications wasn’t her biggest mistake here. Her biggest mistake was not locking up Poe. If she just did that, a lot of the other problems probably wouldn’t have happened. Poe was the main person on the crew who obviously didn’t trust her and most likely to be insubordinate. Then again, now that I think about it, maybe your “beside manner” concerns could explain why she didn’t lock him up. If she already felt that being cold and aloof was hurting her rep with the crew, especially given that she’s a woman, I can see her rationalizing that locking Poe up could make things worse in that regard.
To be clear, I don’t hate Holdo as a character. I think she made some obvious mistakes as a battlefield commander in a very difficult situation – mistakes that I don’t think Leah or Ackbar or someone with more battlefield experience would’ve made. I think criticizing her mistakes is fair game, but as you pointed out, you may need to look at them through various lenses to understand why perhaps she made those mistakes. I don’t think those lenses necessary excuse them, but they may make them more understandable by levying additional pressures on her that someone else may not have experienced in the same situation.
Given the circumstances, a statement like “I guarantee our survival” would have been a mistake. Even with the plan of hiding out on Crait, it’s entirely possible that could have backfired for different reason. Mostly because I’m thinking that the First Order could have simply detached a ship to check out the planet. Either because Kylo could have determined Leia was no longer on the ship or because the First Order could have doubled back. (The ruse would have only bought them hours even if it worked perfectly.) Maybe they could have made the jump to a third base in that window. Her plan wasn’t foolproof, but it was the best they had to work with.
I think Holdo was starting down the barrel of the gun, with limited options. I think that’s partially why she didn’t respond to Poe when he called her out on her plan.
Well, exact choice of words can vary, but it could’ve been like, “My plan gives us the best chance of survival if you follow my orders” would also be acceptable.
I agree that Holdo was pretty much in a horrible situation and probably did the best she could given the situation. It’s made tougher by the fact she’s more of a tactician (IMHO) than a battlefield commander and she was thrust into the role of battlefield commander because there was no one else available at the time who would’ve been better.
There’s this movie I had heard of called Tampopo. All I knew about it was that it was about ramen because I had seen a clip where a wise old man teaches a younger man the right way to eat ramen. I also thought it was a much newer movie than 1985, but I was obviously wrong about that. Also, the ramen eating scene with the old man is almost at the very beginning of the movie, so I was definitely remembering the right thing.
This movie is on Filmstruck which shuts down in two days. Since PAX Unplugged is coming, I pretty much had to watch this today or have to find some other way to see it.
This film is a great masterpiece.
It is on the same level of film as City of God or Cinema Paradiso. It’s been a very long time since I have seen a new (to me) film of this calibre. I didn’t think there were that many left in existence that had escaped my eye.
If I need to watch it again, which I likely will, I guess I can pay $3 on YouTube. The next time you have two hours to spare, you should do the same.
This does not need to be pointed out? we both know it’s fiction. Like I was saying before:
@DMLou The premise of this discussion, as I understood it, was that people felt the situation was contrived/bad writing and that if Holdo had said the magic words, there would be no plot.
You say she’s flawed,
I say every choice for her would be flawed by the nature of the context. Even the hindsight response here of “I would have done it better etc.” is exactly what female leaders in the real world experience. It’s not contrived, it’s realistic.
When I play games with Phil, I notice they regularly get more deference from our gaming group than I do, to the point of strategic advantage. So I point out, hey you’re giving Phil the advantage by X, Y, & Z. What should happen is they observe themselves and notice subjective bias. What actually happens is that they turn on me. Why? Because I am “aggressive”. Because I “can’t be trusted”. Not that either of those perceptions are rooted in actual behaviors on my part. What is good communication for me in this context? As I see it, this is one of the no-win situations I referred to before.
You say you would perceive a male character the same.
I say Holdo’s “flaws” are presented through the character who is male, the audience proxy, and “the hero” (or at least framed that way), all of which will elicit sympathy with him and his ideas. All of the framing is designed so that you will doubt her, and be wrong.
If everything in the story were the same, except Holdo was genderswapped, I think it’s overly optimistic to think your perception would be unaffected. I’m not saying everyone would suddenly approve, but it wouldn’t be the reaction she got.
I think the story broke the unspoken expectations of narrative in a way that left viewers feeling dissatisfied. That doesn’t make it bad writing. At worst, it’s pearls to pigs.
The writing and perception of her character exists within the context it was created and observed. SO yes, it’s relevant.
Ever had a chance to check out La Vita e Bella? That movie set me off watching so many Roberto Benigni movies.
Between that and Il Postino, there may be hope for you yet.
Also give Ladri di biciclette out… And anything by De Sica… In fact look at all the Neo Realist movement of film… What I’m trying to say here is I minored in Italian and part of that was Italian film studies and my teacher was obsessed with Neo Realism… Also that they’re good… Pane Tulipani is also good…
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse was a-MAY-zing! Go see it. In theaters. Best Spider-Man movie I’ve ever seen. Heck, it might be the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. Maybe even better than the Incredibles, which is something I never thought I’d say. Everything about it was fantastic. And the animation! Oh MY GOD! Incredible. I just got home from seeing it in the theater and I want to see it again already.
Better than I remembered. Not just 10 second races in this one, but long distance chases. Another by-the-numbers crime story plus cars? Can’t go wrong. Some great moments of action, and also some genuinely interesting side characters. The movie also established the rules of how car action and physics works within the story, and why we should go along with how those rules work, and how it reflects on what the characters chose to do.