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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:06 PM

One feminist's thoughts about equality, war, the draft, etc.

It is a good thing that those women who choose to serve will now be paid the same as their male comrades. This is undeniable.

It is also a good thing that this is sparking discussions about selective service. Many think, as I do, that there should not be a draft at all, and no one should have to sign up, not if we purport to have a 'volunteer' military. (If we are to compel people, compel everyone, and make the training standard procedure, and not dependent on an emergency.)

Whatever your thoughts on war and the idea of a standing army, it seems to me that one thing is being overshadowed in these discussions... and that thing is the questionable idea of women working for 'equality' within a patriarchy. As I said before, women serve now. They die now. There is no question that the ideals of honor and righteousness from battle are firmly entrenched in most cultures, and that won't disappear overnight.

But don't we want it to? Eventually? I do. If one has to fight, it should be viewed as a necessary evil, IMO, and not something to be celebrated. Not something to be glorified.

I can only speak for myself, though I know I'm not alone when I say that I most certainly do not want, as an end goal, equality with patriarchal men, not as beneficiaries and willing participants of oppression in this patriarchy. I do not want to take my place as an equal among those who ignore the fact that they are taking advantage of someone else's oppression... much less someone who does so knowingly. What I want is liberation from this ancient, outdated system. My end goal is to end it, for everyone's benefit.

Please keep in mind that 'the patriarchy' does not mean 'men'. It is a heirarchy, with men as its rulers, and its female enablers are rewarded, just as any man who works against it or who dares to transgress the rules set up to maintain this power structure is punished.

So yes, while I am glad that women who choose to serve will not be denied their full compensation, I hope that we can also keep in mind that the military is an entirely patriarchal institution, which enshrines heirarchy as a religion... and failing to question this idea - that heirarchy is intrinsically good and useful - is only setting ourselves up for failure. Failure to evolve as humans past this idea that dominating and taking advantage of each other is a positive thing. That its rewards are somehow worthy. That it is inevitable. I know I'm not the only one here who thinks that education, assistance, cooperation, communication, and better strategies of conflict resolution can almost completely eliminate the 'inevitability' of war.

Smedley Butler was not wrong. We can be glad for women's equality while still recognizing that ultimately, assisting in propping up these outdated ideas is doing more harm than good in the long run.

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Reply One feminist's thoughts about equality, war, the draft, etc. (Original post)
redqueen Jan 2013 OP
smirkymonkey Jan 2013 #1
leftstreet Jan 2013 #2
4Q2u2 Jan 2013 #3
Whisp Jan 2013 #4
niyad Jan 2013 #5
Whisp Jan 2013 #6
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #7
BainsBane Jan 2013 #8
ellisonz Jan 2013 #9
redqueen Jan 2013 #11
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #10
RILib Jan 2013 #12

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:34 PM

1. Excellent post!

I have been trying to find the words to express that exact sentiment, but you did so beautifully!

Thank you!

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:46 PM

2. People always said war would end if women were soldiers

The vague assumptions being that 1) no one could stand the thought of women getting slaughtered, and 2) women wouldn't be willing to slaughter


Thoughtful post
DURec

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:15 PM

3. Good Honest Post

Pay is based on location in a general theater of operations no matter job or sex. If you are in Iraq you get the money, same as Afghanistan. So woman are not missing out on the extra pay. The draft has always bent be back and forth to each side. There are plenty of good Americans that volunteer to fill our ranks but then again, if there were no deferments and the 1%ers children had to go into combat. How many wars would we be in and how long would they last. If all those Chicken Hawks in the Senate and Congress had to send their dear children to die I would venture to bet we would have a whole different mindset.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:21 PM

4. thanks, redqueen.

 

it's a tough one. but why would anyone be happy at the idea of being equally involved in overthrowing other countries and killing people in other lands - because that is what this is about. Nothing else. The game will not change if we keep trying to fit ourselves into the game.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:32 PM

5. k and r--thank you for this excellent post, redqueen

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:02 PM

6. K&R

 

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:54 PM

7. +100000. I have nothing to add but a huge K&R nt

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:33 PM

8. Hopefully this will make it less so

over the long run. The more women in combat, the more they rise through the military hierarchy. And when they reach the top than can influence policy. That may be beneficial for everyone in the long run.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:38 AM

9. I agree with what you say for the most part

I would differ one a key point though, I see no hope for the end of conflict, and that as you note females are often enablers, so I'm not sure if using a gendered analysis of conflict as a penultimate part of the analysis is useful. Conflict is a human thing, violence is a human thing, and I see no end to it no matter the gender barriers that are leveled. What we need to happen to end "inevitability" of war is improbable because somewhere in the story of life on our planet, things went horribly wrong. Patriarchy could end, but I see no reason to believe that it would end war.

I hope that was clearly stated and am certainly open to debate on this point.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:35 AM

11. Yes, I do see your point,

I think our only hope of ending the prevalence of violent conflict is to end the socialization which encourages violent behavior. Of course there are violent, women, and non-violent men, so this is not based on sex... but the overwhelming maleness of violence does seem to indicate that it is the way we enshrine violence and the ability or willingness to fight as being part of what it means to 'be a man' which is a key factor in continuing the status quo.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:09 AM

10. I'm the mother of a female war veteran

My oldest daughter. She's out now, but left a decorated soldier. She was deployed in Afghanistan, and among other things, participated in over 30 field searches of the women there (being touched by men is shameful in the culture she was dealing with) Searching for suicide bombers.

I remember when she came home on leave, casually telling stories of what is was like being deployed in a war zone, although at that time most of the news reported action was in Kabul, and her unit was in stationed near Kandahar, she'd say 'we're getting shot at too'

I was horrified, but no more horrified when my son was stationed in Iraq.

I agree Redqueen completely.

This is a bittersweet thing, long overdue. While war as a solution sickly saturates the world, women are perfectly capable of bring in, and excelling in, combat. The reasons for this kind of solution need a closer examination.




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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:27 AM

12. draft

 

We should never have an all volunteer armed services. There should be a draft, and no way out except disability. Only then will we have a chance of ending unnecessary wars. Those of us old enough to remember Vietnam know the vast difference between having a draft and not on efforts to end a war.

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