Saturday, February 9, 2008

Women as Entertainment in Occupied Areas

Blog Post February 2008
Kelly White

2008 Outlook for U.S. Service Women in Iraq

Women as Entertainment in Occupied Areas

In the Fall of 2007, Redskin cheerleaders visited the Kalsu Air force base. The purpose of the visit was to boost morale. And there are a number of criticisms one could make. Such as whose morale are we trying to boost? Why this particular form of entertainment? Some letters to the editor from female troops criticized the performance. Other letters defending the visit used the "sameness approach," advocating that Chippendales [click on link; see "Women Deserve Chippendales"] should come to the Air force Base (AFB).

What is the impact of this form of entertainment on service women? If one form of entertainment is the sexualizing of women for the entertainment of men, then what are the experiences of the women serving on the same base?

I remember reading an article in my undergraduate women's studies courses on the effect of pornography on people's acceptance of rape. The statistic was something like men were then 25% more likely to believe that holding a woman down to have sex was acceptable behavior. (Although the link I found indicates a greater %).The link from the cheerleading form of entertainment to the pornography and its consequences is not a far stretch, no too farfetched of a comparison.

My friend recently reported to me that a friend of hers had to put in for relocation because her superior officer had repeatedly sexually harassed her. This servicewoman had loved the job she was assigned to, a saving grace during war, and yet, when she filed grievances for the situation she had to endure, there was no assistance.

At some point I would like to explore the grievance process in general for military personnel in combat zones and occupied countries.

In the news media, before the war there were reports of superior officers raping female officers. Now, when there is a less stringent grievance process and other realities of war that hinder a service women's ability to protect herself and find assistance, it should be no surprise that rape reports continue. Washington Times, see 3rd paragraph from the bottom. N.Y. Times supporting documentation.

In response to the "Women Deserve Chippendales" the sameness approach does not always work. That the consequences of sexualizing women compared to that of men in a patriarchal society are not similar. That even if (presuming heterosexuality) servicewomen did have Chippendales as entertainment, the problem would not resolve itself. Military women would still have to contend with sexual harassment and rape. And, presumably, if U.S. servicewomen have limited resources, then women of the occupied country are without a doubt similarly disadvantaged.

Click here for a link of the response military women had to the Redskins visit. [See letter entitled "No more Ta Tas Please"

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