i love a gal in uniform

So I was all set to sneak a bottle of bum wine into the theater and drunkenly watch/critique Sex and the City 2. What? It worked the last time I saw a dumb case study in Orientalism (300). Anyway, that was until I found out SATC 2 is TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG, SOMEHOW. Good lord. I have a hard time devoting two and a half hours to movies I like. And 300 at least had hot guys in minimal clothing and some bitchin’ swordplay. (It also helped that I had my queer anarchist metal dude pal with me, who joined me in ogling the man-meat and snickering contemptuously through the clumsily-written “rah rah Sparta” speeches.) So, I may pass on that one. However: I would still like to comment on critics who deride the movie by offering their opinion on the attractiveness of the lead actresses, or who sneer at the audience of the film for enjoying fashion-obsessed fluff. That comment being: KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF. I don’t give two shits about your opinion of Sarah Jessica Parker’s face or Cynthia Nixon’s complexion or blah blah blah. Body-snarking commentary like that is misogynist, boring, and completely fucking irrelevant. And yes, the movie is fluff (though that obviously doesn’t mean it can’t be critiqued). HOWEVER: so are the majority of films being put out in the summer by major studios. This isn’t exactly news. This one just happens to be fluff about shoes and dresses instead of cars and explosions. Also: y’all who are calling this “the female equivalent of a dumb action movie” need to shut the hell up, too. FEMALES LIKE DUMB ACTION MOVIES, TOO. I don’t begrudge anyone the right to lose their shit over dresses and shoes (though I have to say, the outfits I’ve seen from that movie are criminally fugly), but personally, it bores me to tears. Give me an hour and a half of Jet Li punching people and I will be a happy lady.

Anyway, it’s Memorial Day, so there’s this post up at Feministe. And, okay, am I the only one who find the glorification of women in the US military, on a site supposedly dedicated to intersectional feminist analysis, a little weird?

A few things before I elaborate: I am not a pacifist. I mean, I’ve got large Viking-themed tattoos on my legs, and they were one of the most battle-loving cultures in world history. I think that armed conflict is unpleasant but sometimes necessary. And while I do not generally agree with the foreign policy aims that the US Army is usually sent to accomplish these days, I have no interest in demonizing military folk. Half my mom’s family have been in the military. I dated a veteran for five years, and we’re still friends. I know not everyone joins the army because they want to eat a baby or some shit, and such reductive characterizations are irritating.

But what does it say about feminist priorities when you have a post like that up, which essentially just says “women in the military are RAD! They handle heavy machinery and stuff!” What about the historical role of the United States military, which has not always acted in the interest of freedom or justice or any of those high-minded concepts? (For two recent, obvious examples, look at the Vietnam war and the Iraq war.) What about shit like the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the gang-rape and murders at Al-Mahmudiyah, the My Lai massacre, the murder of Yoon Geum-Yi, or any number of other gruesome crimes perpetrated by members of the military? Again, this is not to say that all people in the military are evil and sadistic, but that there may be some systemic problems there which go beyond just a few bad apples. (It’s timely, I suppose, that I just re-listened to NPR’s interview with Lynndie England, where she mentioned repeatedly that she and the other folks in the Abu Ghraib photos were given carte blanche by higher-ups to perform such acts.) I guess there’s an argument to be made for working within the system, but considering that the whole structure of the military is dependent on following orders from higher-ups, how much can one low-level individual really change?

I mean, of course I like seeing cute girls with guns, but I would have liked to see some more thoughtful context.

~ by Smellen on May 31, 2010.

2 Responses to “i love a gal in uniform”

  1. Well, OBVIOUSLY you missed the memo EVERYONE ELSE got about how pictures of ladies in uniforms=insightful feminist commentary. DUH.

    • yeah, I was really fond of the person who said this:

      “Military service, however, is a feminist issue, insofar as it has always been a concern for women to have an equal right to serve.

      And that means the right and opportunity to participate whether the cause and actions are immoral or not; you can’t give people rights contingent on them being good people. ” (emphasis added)

      Can’t we, as feminists, aim a little higher than “I want to be able to do the same things men do, even if those things are awful”? That’s not feminism. That’s Sarah Palin.

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