Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Nancyboys II: Barbara At Barnard

A prior post included this note about high female involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal:

Significant time has passed and we have seen no ruminations from Big Mo or even Ms. Noonan on these latest exemplars of the "female" moral hegemony - including the facts that it was investigations by macho organizations (the SEC, the DoJ, the Army) that rooted out the irregularities and, to the extent there were whistleblowers, they were all men. Will these two scribbling worthies hold Army Pfc. Lynndie England, Spc. Sabrina Harman or Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski responsible for their respective acts or failures to act? Or will we see some reversion to the assumption that women are not responsible for their own acts while around men - especially macho men: the Hillary Clinton "pink-suit-interview" approach. Will the gender aspect be discussed by these two scribbling worthies, and other women commenters, at all - or will we see it all put down to some genderless "these-guards-were-just-untrained-losers" dismissal? Or will one or more of them come up with something containing a bit more ingenuity and integrity?

I haven't seen anything yet.

Well, I still haven't seen much - and nothing at all from Msses. Dowd or Noonan. But feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich had this to say in her commencement address at Barnard College on May 18:

"[In] these photos from Abu Ghraib, you have every Islamic fundamentalist stereotype of Western culture, all nicely arranged in one hideous image: imperial arrogance, sexual depravity -- and gender equality.... Maybe I shouldn't have been so shocked. Gender equality cannot, all alone, bring about a just and peaceful world. What I have finally come to understand, sadly and irreversibly, is that the kind of feminism based on an assumption of moral superiority on the part of women is a lazy and self-indulgent form of feminism" -- .

That's a nice start. Of course, much of Ms. Ehrenreich's talk is predicatably deranged: "Well, it turns out they were just operating under different management. We didn't displace Saddam Hussein; we replaced him." But at least it's something. In a culture in which almost every "first woman this-or-that" rates a national media annotation, where is the outpouring of feminist musings on the many "women's historic firsts" coming out of Abu Ghraib? For example, surely "first American woman likely to be court martialed for torture and sexual humiliation of a man" is worth a witty Maureen Dowd column with all kinds of fancy word play. And now that Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the woman in charge of Abu Ghraib prison at the time of the offenses largely committed by other women then under her command, has been suspended while pleading "scapegoat," surely many, many column inches are being written by Ms. Dowd and the many, many of her ilk to document this particular chapter of feminist progress and female moral hegemony! I must just have overlooked them.

But Ms. Dowd has her BUSHWORLD! book coming out. She won't leave out that chapter!

Will she?


Apparently, the deaths of some female soldiers warrant a consideration separate from the consideration given to the deaths of male soldiers by the national media. But for some reason the immoral acts of some female soldiers don't warrant such separate consideration - even though a big deal was made of gender by the same media in the corporate scandal context.

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