RANGER AGAINST WAR: Got Some Brutality? <

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Got Some Brutality?

--Is this the measure of a well-adjusted person? 

I'm every woman
It's all in me
Anything you want done baby
I'll do it naturally 
--I'm Every Woman, Chaka Khan 

Your mother's radical feminism, this ain't.

Where are the rigorous arguments for the move to open combat slots to women in the military? The "XX Factor: What Women Really Think" blog at Slate typifies the non-cohesion of the argument (War Isn't a Male Value.)  [I've always wished the XX Factor could be better, but it rarely is.]

First, the writer says men are "bullied" into participating in war, but then says they "want to keep their power." The question is then posed, "(why) does male dominance lead to so much violence, from war to rape to child abuse?", the writer predictably laying the fault at the androgynous foot of "power", versus testosterone. The implication is that women would be rapacious, ravaging beasts of the same order, if only they had the power.

The conclusion seems to imply this, while also dismissing the impulse at the same time, in a grand, final non-sequitur:

Hopefully the greater inclusion of women into the military will help us all see that violence and war is learned behavior—it's not inevitable. Women entering combat roles isn't feminism acquiescing to male values, and women don't have a unique duty to overturn the glorification of violence and power that leads to war. That's a job for everyone.

Hmmm, so overturning the glorification of violence is a "job for everyone", eh?  And the way for women to play a part in this noble project is to begin killing people, too?

No one said women entering combat has anything to do with 'feminism acquiescing to male values."  Women wanting to fight and kill is them showing a destructive, life extinguishing, bent; no one has a corner on that market. Entering the combat arms is not "not" acquiescing to male values, rather, it is choosing for a life project, destruction; that hardly seems to be an act of trumping the masculine, or even of achieving equality.  An individual who is dedicated to equality is dedicated to the life of all; one does not get there by being a rifle-toting grunt for one's government.

The writer is correct that many men who have entered such a deadly business have been conscripted or drafted; females who choose to become combat arms are simply opting to obliterate their humanity, and become a one-each unit, too.  The bottom line for those women who wish to fight in the combat arms IS power -- they wish to climb the ladder of military rank, and they see the way to do that is to get a little combat under their belt.  But let's not pretend this impulse to get in on the killing has a more noble aspect.

War-fighting is not the radical posture; fighting and killing is as old as the hills.  The radical pose is to reject it.  Feminists are famous for transvaluing values: They claim (aside from Andrea Dworkin) their use in pornography is actually financial dominance; passivity in BDSM is really the power position (yes, the Marquis de Sade thought of it first, that tricky devil); sexual freedom (= free sex + cooking and cleaning and baby-rearing) is really liberation. Feminism promised a bill of goods it hasn't delivered. 

Feminists have not completed their project.  The singer Beyonce Knowles demonstrates the untraversed ground: in her song, "Independent", her refrain is, I bought it ("I've bought it / I depend on me.")  Her anthematic "Single Ladies" declares (wistfully), "If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it", and a later lyric contradicts her "Independent" with, "Don't treat me to the things of the world / I'm not that kind of girl."  

Beyonce speaks to the women who work and can buy things, but they are not at peace.  They want things and they want a relationship; they have been willing to work for the first, but feminism did not equip them to obtain the second.  Fostering better relationships was not the goal of feminism; equality was, and equality is a straw dog.

Equal pay for equal work should be a given, but that does not equate to doing every single job available. As social critic Susan Faludi points out in her book "Stiffed", men are left unmoored after coming through the feminist battlefield.  Since we are social animals, our interactions go wanting as we fight the archetypes.

Discussion of what feminist theology has gained is for another post.  But if "what women really think"  is as scattered as XX's argument, then perhaps they would do better than to plan war strategy.

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Anonymous Deryle said...

"The radical pose is to reject it."

Right on, Sister.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Reject. Not embrace.

But that Slate article, how addled can they get? More women in the infantry will somehow lead to a decrease in violence/war?

Really?!!!? How? Female grunts will refuse to follow orders? Female generals will tell the prez and congress to F-off?

What about all those womens' rights heros in congress - looking at Hilary especially - that vote to go to war?

Does the Slate author not understand that the military does not start wars? That it is the civilian leadrship that is responsible?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:21:00 PM GMT-5  

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