Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Women on Women in Combat


Having never served in the military, and having never been female (though married to one and the father of two more), I recognize my limitations to comment on the question of women (including mothers) being subject to combat duty. This is not to endorse some sort of experience-based "you-can't-understand-it-until-you've-been-there/done-that/are-one"-type relativism, but rather to simply to recognize knowledge limitations: there's a lot I just don't know about this subject. For those who want to learn (and I'm one of them) two sources: first, a nice essay that really deserves more attention posted a few weeks back by the Invisible Adjunct, wherein she struggles to articulate a feminist position that acknowledges the kernel of real, unsettling truth behind the traditionalist, conservative attack on women in combat: that (as she put it in a reply to a comment to her post) "the experience of motherhood explodes the myth of the autonomous individual and reveals it for what it is: a sometimes useful and sometimes not so useful fiction." Second, for those who want more of the political and cultural inside of this deabte (particularly inside the military), check out this exchange. It's just starting, and looks like it may be a good one (and the Fray following it, so far, is excellent).