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Born to War
February 23, 2007 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Born to War is a series of paintings of American women killed in Iraq. The combination of the increasing role of women in the American military and the blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles in Iraq have made this the first war in which female US soldiers have died in direct combat. The focus on a smaller number of women provides a more approachable view of casualties than more general sites like Iraq Body Count and raises some interesting questions about the role of women in the US military.
posted by scottreynen (13 comments total)

 
I like the idea. Not a big fan of the actual paintings though.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:38 AM on February 23, 2007


It is a great disservice to the women who served and died in Iraq to disallow them from being represented by more than twelve, broad brushstrokes. They deserve more detail, and they deserve it now. It is literally the least we can do.
posted by billysumday at 10:49 AM on February 23, 2007


It seems like a disservice to women to do a project that seems to rely on a chauvinistic "Oh my god! There are WOMEN over there! In HARM'S WAY!" reaction for its impact.

Then again, I'm neither a woman nor a soldier, so that's just my ass talking.
posted by gurple at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2007


I like the idea. Not a big fan of the actual paintings though.

Ditto.
posted by languagehat at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2007


It seems like a disservice to women to do a project that seems to rely on a chauvinistic "Oh my god! There are WOMEN over there! In HARM'S WAY!" reaction for its impact.

Yeah, really. Especially since that whole "blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles" thing means that due to our chauvinistic attempt to protect them, women can't take combat roles... they just die for them.

I was thinking about the military myself, after high-school, but I quit thinking about it after being told that all the jobs with a * next to them were men-only. Wow, you mean I can be a nurse or a secretary or a mechanic?! Oh, the expanded opportunities of Army life!

Go here, click "Only jobs open to women", and put in some cool Army word like "helicopters", or "weapons". Then tell me how fair it is that these women who are only allowed to be something non-combat like Small Arms/Artillery Repairer or Field Artillery Surveyor still get to die in combat next to the boys, regardless. I think we ought to eliminate this prejudice and open combat roles to anybody strong enough and good enough to qualify...
posted by vorfeed at 11:35 AM on February 23, 2007


To escape gender paradigms we will need more painting, not less. More dialogue, more expression of our values and perceptions related to gender...
posted by ewkpates at 11:41 AM on February 23, 2007


I find it interesting that nowhere on the site does it say that the images of these women were being used with or without consent. Seems to me that the author of this site has a statement to make. Seems to me that the women depicted have already made their statement when they signed up to defend their country. Seems to me that using their images in an apparently obvious anti-war statement may be a bit disingenuous.
posted by Gungho at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2007


War is no respecter of persons: gender equality in dealing (or being dealt) death and destruction is not the core problem.
posted by cenoxo at 12:20 PM on February 23, 2007


a chauvinistic "Oh my god! There are WOMEN over there! In HARM'S WAY!" reaction

If you're trying to move a rock, I suppose any lever you can find to use is worth considering.

Some of us Y-chromo-bearing individuals have a very difficult time overcoming our (apparently) evolutionary and cultural impulses to protect and cherish women and let them be cannon fodder along with the guys. Even if it can be characterized as chauvinism, it's a major reason why -- along with practical considerations like upper-body peak strength -- some of us still cringe at the thought of women in non-auxiliary military jobs. So for us dinosaurs, this angle is particularly compelling for emotional reasons if not intellectual ones.
posted by pax digita at 12:31 PM on February 23, 2007


just my ass talking.

Your ass is speaking to me,
your ass is getting through,
your ass is making sense to me,
as your ass expells it's pogniant observations.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:46 PM on February 23, 2007


It seems like a disservice to women to do a project that seems to rely on a chauvinistic "Oh my god! There are WOMEN over there! In HARM'S WAY!" reaction for its impact.

Especially since that whole "blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles" thing means that due to our chauvinistic attempt to protect them, women can't take combat roles... they just die for them.

I agree mostly, but to take devil's advocate...

Historically, men didn't have any choice about whether or not they will go to war or combat. And even today, with the all volunteer army, it is only men who MUST register for the draft or they are felons. True I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted but if you don't register, you can forget about student loans, or any other gov't goodies.
And it is only men who can be drafted i.e. forced against their will to fight in combat. Many men also say that the chauvanistic attitude actually devalues men by making them nothing more than cannon fodder. Thus many men say that the fact that nobody is saying "Oh my God! There are MEN over there! In HARM'S WAY!" is a reverse form of sexisim. Why are we less squeamish about dead male soldiers? WHy are dead male soldiers lives less valauble?

Before people say that, well men start the wars, let me just point out Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Also the men who start the wars rely on young men - still boys really - to go and fight them. Would it were so that Cheney and the neocons actually fought in the wars they started, or any wars.
posted by xetere at 2:43 PM on February 23, 2007


Historically, men didn't have any choice about whether or not they will go to war or combat. And even today, with the all volunteer army, it is only men who MUST register for the draft or they are felons.

Yeah, that side of it is bullshit as well. IMHO, combat roles should be available to anyone physically and mentally qualified, regardless of sex. And on the flip side, young women ought to have to register for Selective Service, just as young men do.

But then, I think a Finnish-style general conscription defense program (I would include women in this, so that everyone in the country, save objectors, would go through training and become a reservist in case of war) makes much more sense than a gigantic standing Army. Ike tried to warn us that we'd feel obligated to use it once we had it, and sure enough...
posted by vorfeed at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2007


it is only men who MUST register for the draft or they are felons. True I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted but if you don't register, you can forget about student loans, or any other gov't goodies.

Which is exactly why the draft is a sexist program. Either women should be required to register as well, or no one should.
posted by jb at 4:25 AM on February 24, 2007


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