Friday, November 13, 2015

Feminism Friday: Warrior Feminism

Recently I wrote briefly about a history of violence.

Several of my posts have pointed to the diversity of feminisms available in today's discourse and thought leadership, from Radical Feminism, to Global and Transnational Feminisms in general and intersectional feminism in particular, a bit of Corporate Feminism, and also Technocratic Feminism.

Many of the best-known feminisms operate from principles of non-violence, often building on the teachings of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and put into practice by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and many other civil rights and social justice movements since their eras. These feminisms work within traditions of Social Justice that call for civil disobedience and that put into practice principles of nonviolent resistance to police, military, and other civil authorities.

I support this effort. I certainly do not agree with terrorism or violent means to the end of equal justice for all. I will not support such violence.

However, I struggle with the idea that all feminism must be pacifistic. Specifically, I struggle with histories that look back to mythical ancient pacifistic matriarchies of the Middle East or Europe. (My non-Western Texts & Images course was only a semester long, way too short to discuss how African, Australian Aborigine, Pacific Islander, or Native and Indigenous American civilizations governed.) I have been influenced by the book Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines and further reading on the subject.

It is important to remember the heritage of real warrior women. I've previously linked to 'We Have Always Fought': Challenging the 'Women, Cattle and Slaves' Narrative. History is full of stories of women who disguised themselves as men in order to fight in wars. China has the very legendary Mulan. In Korea, the women Chunjong and Nammo each led a group that seem to be the predecessor of the Hwarang men's cults. And while the Greek god of war may be Ares, Athena was the goddess of War Strategy.

While on the one hand we MUST hold our U.S. leadership accountable for their imperialistic actions and human rights abuses... on the other hand we need to recognize that there is such a thing as military feminism. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would count in this list, as would Admiral Michelle Howard. While my sister didn't rise that high in rank, I'd count her and our many women military personnel in these ranks as well.