Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women and Empire

David Swanson reviews "a detailed look at several parts of the world, starting with Latin America and the Caribbean, where the U.S. government's driving mission is the maintenance and expansion of bases, and where communism has been replaced as an excuse by drugs as much as by terrorism" — The Bases of Empire. This observation stands out:
    In the chapter on Okinawa and elsewhere in the book, and certainly in my own experience in Italy, we see the anti-bases movement being led by women. This book suggests that a woman's perspective is more strongly opposed to militarism than a man's. Sadly, this seems to be true only in nations that have been less militarized and where women have been more severely suppressed. Where militarism is fully accepted, and where women's rights include the right to join in the killing, women seem to do so. Certainly women in the United States Congress are happy to fund the empire and its wars.
Mr. Swanson writes from the Left, with all the preconceptions that that entails. I would argue that the women he writes about, in Italy and Japan, are not "severely suppressed" but rather much freer than the ones whose "rights include the right to join in the killing."

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


In cultures seeded by feminism, where girls are bred to be "strong women," there are many women who support military interventionism.

Some of the most pro-war people I've ever run into on the Internet have been military wives. And I don't mean in the "I stand by my husband" sort of way, but in the "My husband and I stand by our government because he is a REAL MAN and I'm proud to be his woman" sort of way.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Traditionalist cultures where women's primary focus is on traditional spheres of life -- the home, family, faith, etc. -- women of course are going to oppose military action because militarism degrades all of those things. But in cultures where women have been distanced from the traditional spheres of life, then it makes perfect sense that they too would buy into an increasing sense of the value of military force.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rape situation at Okinawa is particularly infamous. Quite possibly the women who would otherwise be reading Germaine Greer become anti-militarist because they know a rape survivor.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

feminism, idealism, and anti-Americanism my gluteus maximus!

If the US army would set up a base in Greenwich Connecticut that brought the least educated Americans from the slums of the big cities, with all their social pathologies, to Greenwich, the city's matrons would also rise up to stop this.

Were Goldman Sachs to set up a base in Okinawa, Okinawa's matrons would be there to greet them with flowers.

7:01 PM  

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