Opposition to War Is a Feminist Issue

Reading this horrifying story about a Syrian mother who had to choose between marrying off her young teenage daughters or exposing them to the persistent threat of rape, one thing we, in the U.S., never talk about in our numerous discussions to go to war is what happens to civilians, especially women and children, who always get it the worst. Leaving aside the breakdown of order and the ensuing rape and murder, in wartime, women suddenly become property: ‘our women.’ Even in relatively low-intensity conflicts such as Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic women were the exclusive property of their respective communities: to cross the religious and ethnic line would, at best result in a ‘punishment beating’, and, at worst, murder.

I raise this, since in the U.S., we’re already discussing a presidential campaign that won’t take place for two years (because we’ve solved all of the serious problems. Or something). On the Democratic side (the Republicans are the lost and the damned on this issue), there are several potential candidates who supposedly have serious feminist cred, but, when asked about questions of war and peace, tend to answer with “war.” The polite term is ‘hawk’, which is an insult to raptors. The less polite term is ‘blood thirsty warmonger.’

Just something to keep in mind as political appeals by various Democratic figures and pundits are made in the coming months.

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3 Responses to Opposition to War Is a Feminist Issue

  1. anonymousefemalescientist says:

    Thank you for this excellent point. I have felt this way, as well. There are many hypocrites among our Democratic candidates.

    Also, I’ve noticed the hypocrisy of certain conservatives who allegedly give a damn about unborn fetuses and yet are content to bomb away at countries where pregnant women are targets, either directly or indirectly, of our bombs. An example of an [allegedly] indirect target would found among Iraqi women, where after hospitals were bombed or medical supplies diminished, could not have adequate care during their pregnancies and the births of their children. In fact, right before the U.S.’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, many Iraqi women were begging to have labor induced prematurely in hospitals, in likely futile attempts to salvage their unborn children before the unknowns introduced by “war” could affect their pregnancies (http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/article44762.ece). Even now, with an allegedly “democratic” government (corrupt as hell), pregnant Iraqi women still have difficulty obtaining adequate care, and this is *still* an ongoing result of the U.S. invasion and occupation. Where is the conservative outrage about the right to life for fetuses in this case?

  2. ninjanurse says:

    War has always been a foundation of patriarchy and other forms of oppression.

  3. It’s an important point to make, and there are so many other ways these issues are intertwined- sexual assault in the military, co-opting of feminism to justify military misadventures, and on and on. They’re issues that unfortunately a lot of left-leaning people don’t weigh heavily in deciding what candidates to support.

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