Women: The Secret Weapon of Modern Warfare, Article Critique Example
Words: 863Article Critique
In this article, Kelly Oliver discusses one of the most controversial and disturbing trends in today’s modern world–the use of women as weapons of mass destruction and as instruments of torture. Not surprisingly, the mass media almost from the beginning of this trend jumped on stories coming out of places like the US operated Abu Ghraib prison in Cuba and tales of Palestinian female suicide bombers like Wafa Idris in 2002. Oliver also explores how these new “weapons of modern warfare” have created on-going debates over feminism and the equality of women. Overall, Oliver’s basic premise is that events and stories concerning female killers and suicide bombers and torturers share “the problematic notion of women as both offensive and defensive weapons of war” which in the eyes of most Americans goes completely against the idea of women as submissive and kind human beings gifted with “mysterious powers” associated with maternity and female sexuality (2008, p. 1).
In order to support her premise that women are the new “weapons of modern warfare,” Oliver utilizes a number of pertinent and reliable sources and quotes at leisure some of the best writers and critics working in popular journalism. For example, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker maintains that physical and sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib came about because of the “myth of gender equality,” meaning that women are mythically not suppose to engage in the physical torture and sexual abuse of men, not to mention enjoying such activities which mythically are relegated to men.
Similarly, Ray Blumhorst has suggested that female sadistic behavior has become the norm of society and that women prone to acts of violence and abuse “will have little trouble finding jobs in the multibillion-dollar. . . domestic violence industry” via the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (Oliver, 2008, pp. 1-2). George Neumeyr of the American Spectator goes one step further by stating that physical and sexual abuse at the hands of women, not only in the military but also on the home front, “is a cultural outgrowth of a feminist culture which encourages female barbarians” (Oliver, 2008, p. 2).
Oliver also quotes other prominent critics, writers, and feminists, such as Joan Black who concludes that women have always been just as capable of violence as men but have “lacked the opportunity” to practice the art of Neumeyr’s female barbarianism. Susan Sontag provides an apt parallelism that female sexual abuse and sadistic torture have been subliminally injected into American culture via the “S&M porn industry. . . which traditionally puts women in the dominatrix” or master over slave role (Oliver, 2008, pp. 2-3).
Due to the fact that this journal article is an expose of sorts or an explication on the problems and debates related to physical and sexual abuse and/or torture at the hands of women, Oliver does not address her methodology. However, Oliver has put together a very powerful and relevant argument with the assistance of well-chosen opinions and observations by a host of contributors. Basically, Oliver has centered her premise on evidence and facts that for centuries have been available in “literary, scientific, and popular discourses of Western culture,” such as in the writings of psychologist Sigmund Freud who explored in-depth the connections between male sexuality and the “fear of castration women evoke” via what some call “penis envy” which may explain why a growing number of women chose violence against men (2008, p. 5). In addition, due to the nature of this article, data analysis is not possible, due to the fact that Oliver utilizes opinions and observations rather than data via a qualitative or quantitative study.
Discussion and Conclusion
Toward the end of her article, Oliver places everything in context through a discussion concerning Jessica Lynch, a female Marine who was captured by her Iraqi enemies and ended up as a TV star for the mass media in 2003, labeled as a “teenage Rambo” and as a “helpless girl saved by Iraqis because she was blonde and pretty” (2008, p. 12). Ironically, after exploring the various beliefs and ideas of many writers and critics, Oliver comes full circle by declaring that all of the blame for the current outbreak of female sexual abuse and torture via the Abu Ghraib fiasco and the prominence of female suicide bombers in the mass media must be placed on the broad shoulders of the American public via its seemingly never-ending fascination with female killers and bombers.
In effect, the American public via the mass media, especially television, “has greedily swallowed (Lynch’s) bittersweet story, perhaps as a tonic for war wounds and imperialist guilt” (2008, p. 12); it has also swallowed all of the other terrifying tales of female mass murderers with bombs strapped to their backs or as Oliver refers to them, the “secret weapon of modern warfare” or a woman wielding a gun or a bomb which in itself is reminiscent of “Hollywood’s femme fatale who with a flower in her hair and a gun in her purse, lures men to their deaths” (2008, p. 13) while enjoying her violent activities as a sadist and torturer which traditionally has always been reserved for men.
Oliver, K. (2008). Women: The secret weapon of modern warfare? Hyapatia, (23)2, 1-16.
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