23 Июн

ARMY AND FEMINISM




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Modern civilization is characterized by a diversity of conflicts that are defined on different grounds: religious, cultural, ethnic, social class, gender. The survival of mankind dictates searching of new approaches for their resolutions.  For this it is necessary to understand the various forms of socio-cultural and religious experiences and the desire to live in a multicultural environment, or to degrade and disappear as a reasonable human community. A modern army plays a large role in resolution of different conflicts (for example, the action of the Russian army in Syria).

It is known that the term «feminism» comes from the Latin word femina — woman. It was Alice Rossi who used this term in 1895 for the first time. Currently its meaning is ambiguous and depends on the cultural matrix. Within the culture of gender equality feminism is interpreted in a broad sense as the theory of equality underlying the women’s movement for liberation. Another meaning, more narrowly, underlies in the action of suffragettes, defense of women’s rights, based on notions of legal equality. In the postmodern cultural model, typical for the Western civilization, the binary opposites of masculine/feminine are being overcome; the denial of their relationship is underlined. On this basis the queer theory is being formed.

In the framework of the cultural matrix of gender equality women struggled for formal, political-legal and social rights. The representatives of utopian socialism (Charles Fourier) and Marxism (K. Marx, F. Engels, Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai and others) played an important role in the struggle for social rights. Since that time, they say not so much about a natural function of women, as their social laws. This theoretical basis became the foundation of many feminist ideological constructions. The result of the feminist movement in the late XIX — beginning of the twentieth century was: women were able to achieve the right to education; equal work and wages; the right to be elected, first in local, then in the highest echelons of authority; the right to join trade unions and political parties; the right to public assistance and maternity leave, leave to care for a child, etc. So a realization of the social rights of women is being fulfilled.

The realization of the social rights of women is still not successfully implemented in all spheres of public life as representatives of the feminist movement wish it would turn out. It is much more difficult to change public opinion in the public consciousness, in which there are dominant stereotypes of a Patriarchal culture.

 A new stage of development of the feminist movement began in the 60-ies of XX century. The USA became the center of feminist movement, where the women’s movement found in radical forms.  Instead of an egalitarian approach, which is most clearly represented by the French writer Simone de Beauvoir, female subjectivity as the opposite of male is articulated.
A new phase of the struggle for emancipation was associated with structural changes in the economy occurring in industrial society: the increase in the share of female labour is marked in social production.

The postmodern philosophy became the ideological basis of radical forms of feminism with its emphasis on the recognition of otherness: other lifestyle, socio-cultural experience, etc. and giving them ontological status. Particularly Foucault’s and   Kristeva’s works have been played a major role in it.
The feminist movement of the 60’s – early 70-ies was carried out under radical slogans, shocking the traditional public opinion, sought to awaken the feminine consciousness, to liberate public opinion from inertia of Patriarchal culture and the power of masculine discourse. The representatives of radical feminism criticized not only the social fabric of society, characteristic for the feminists of the early twentieth century, but social institutions — motherhood, marriage, contributing, in their opinions, the consolidation of the unequal status of women. They were associated the liberation of women with extreme individualism, the formation of a particular female subjectivity, the ability to design her sexual identity.

Although it was still the supporters of the egalitarian approach, but the positions of radical extremism has gained increasing importance. Since this time the concept of «gender’ is introduced in the scientific circulation. It refers to the social gender, a set of regulatory requirements and behaviors characteristic of persons of one gender or the other in a certain culture.  Sex referred to physical differences of the body. Gender concerned the psychological, social and cultural differences between males and females. Thus the relation of the sexes was translated from the biological level to the social one. The concept of «gender» included the same semantic meaning as the concept of «class», «race», «strata»[1, p. 106]. Now, feminism is considered to be not a sex experience, but the experience of gender, not of biological by its nature but cultural- psychological one. The manifestation of gender and biological sexuality exist only as a product of human interactions and are determined with cultural-historical factors.  Accordingly, the relationship between the sexes within a Patriarchal culture is understood as a manifestation of power relations. One part of the human race, having interests of their own (masculine), represents at the same time the interests of the other part. A woman is presented in Patriarchal culture only as the other. Female world, female spirituality remains unclaimed. The goal of feminism is to take female spirituality from the realm of silence. The only action in the political sphere is not sufficient. Female subjectivity should be evident in all public affairs. The ideology of feminism calls to action, to changing of culture and spiritual renewal in all spheres of public life. There were calls for the transformation of institutions and values of the «consumer society».  The democracy of the elites has been criticized by radical feminists. It was proposed instead of such kind of democracy to realize a participatory one, a democracy of participation. It promoted the idea of universal sisterhood (in contrast to the idea of the brotherhood of the Enlightenment). New women’s perception of the world should be created with the help of literature, cinema, music, painting, photography. It is necessary to write another – the female story.

The loosening of traditional family values and the articulation on the formation of female subjectivity and the quest for women’s identity questioning the value  of heterosexual in society and has sent the feminist movement to its negation and the creation of new interpretations of sexuality: the legalization of sexual minorities. An attitude of postmodern philosophy on the elimination of the demarcation line between normality and pathology has led to changing in the notion of «subject of law», which became the bearer of various social groups, primarily minority groups. LGBT (social-political movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) have appeared. Its goal is — civil equality, respect for human rights, the elimination of discrimination, sexual freedom, tolerance and the recognition of the right «to be the other». This movement, on the one hand, acts as a social minority, a separate community, culture; on the other hand, it is fighting for the integration of LGBT into society. Thus, the attitude of radical feminism on the formation of female subjectivity goes beyond the opposition of feminine and masculine. The subject of analysis is not two kinds of subjectivities, but 5 – masculine/feminine, homosexual, heterosexual and transsexual. The concept of queer theory has blurred the boundaries of traditional gender identity [2, p. 61-62], raised the question of the rights of minorities in the legal space and made the modern feminist movement to fight for the rights of sexual minorities essentially.

How the cultural matrix from a Patriarchal culture to a post-modern did influence on participation of women in the army? Naturally, in the Patriarchal culture army was a purely masculine subculture. Within culture with formal/social equality of males and females women are beginning to serve in the army. However, in many countries they are excluded from compulsory military service or in most cases do not fall under the call in war and peace time. Often there are also prohibitions on the service of women in combat units of the army. Although it should be noted that women make a huge contribution to the work of the armed forces in the roles of support staff – medical professionals, cooks, engineers, signalers, etc. Supporters of liberal feminism advocate the empowerment and full integration of women on equal terms with men in all roles in the armed forces. The liberal discourse sees military service as the duty of all citizens, the duty performed by everybody in exchange for security and the rule of law provided by state. It is recognized that military service is a prerequisite for the inclusion of humans into the state as full members and, as a consequence, the promotion of their rights. As for the representatives of Russian culture, only 4% of Russians believe that military service should be mandatory for women. While supporters of this point of view that the women lived in barracks, marched and disassemble-collect weapons,  are more among men — as much as 8%, whereas among women themselves there are  only 1%. Experience of Norwegian feminists, having introduced compulsory service for women supports only 1% of  Russian women and  only27% of women want to serve only «at their own will»[3].

The representatives of radical feminism, recognizing that the army is an «island» of traditional Patriarchal subculture, however, are against full integration of women into military structures. They consider that women in the army take militaristic – masculine image, which does not allow them to reveal their potential. Women join the army on unequal conditions trying to achieve civil ideal, based on values of masculine hegemony. They copy the bodily and discursive practices of a male warrior, trying to overcome the symptoms of traditional femininity, and, ultimately, accept masculinity as the model for reproduction, referring to it as a norm. Feminists, believe, that the acceptance of masculinity as the ideal does not destroy the existing Patriarchal gender order in the army, and in society on the whole. So those feminists who find it important not only formal equality, but also socio-economic justice, believe that the full integration of women into the army is a Pyrrhic victory. Full inclusion of women in the structure of the army does not suit to representatives of radical feminism as well. They consider, that a woman, taking on a transgender (male) practice, adopts all its features – power discourse, violence, etc. So, women commit war crimes – the so-called suicide bomber (or «black widows»); women participated in the genocide in Serbia and Rwanda; women of the American military personnel abused prisoners of Abu Ghraib. This caused alarm among many feminists who would like to believe in the moral superiority of women. Women would not be violent murderers and terrorists. The violence carried out by woman, is perceived as imposed from outside by masculine stereotype. It’s doubly awful, since women are ascribed traditionally the natural peacefulness, care, love to. However, the influence of feminism, for example in the American army, is manifested in the intention to replace the name of the professions in gender – neutral ones. For this it is necessary to remove the word man. In 2005 changing are beginning: instead of personal man is used personal specialist. The greatest changes will affect the names of aviation specialties, in which upon man are ended nearly 12 professions.

The postmodern understanding of masculinity eliminates gender differences as such, weakens the normative stereotypes of masculine/feminine, and rejects hard universal masculinity. In this context, it becomes relevant not to the participation of women in the army, but the opportunity to serve in it sexual minorities. We have to admit that there is a «blurring» of masculinity, but, and it is encouraging that the quality of this man is evident, and this has to be considered, primarily in the army and other power structures. As it is noted by I. Malkina-Pykh, these properties phylogenetically are the most ancient, upon them any boyish subcultures are tightly focused [2, p. 419]. In rigid hierarchical structures, which include the army, traditional masculinity (strength, power, brutality, competitiveness, aggressiveness, courage, endurance, devotion to duty, etc.) is still remaining.  So the idea of a global feminization of men is such a simplification as the idea of universal masculinization of women. Although, nowadays the army ceased to be an exclusively male institution, it is still the bearer of a masculine subculture.

Changes in cultural paradigms, from Patriarchal to post-modern in which the marginal subcultures are articulated, have had an impact on the trend of the feminist movement. The Patriarchal culture is characterized by the dominance of masculinity. The next stage of development of culture is in recognizing of the legal and social equality of women and differences of masculine/feminine. Postmodern cultural matrix has blurred the boundaries of male /female worlds, focused on sexual pathology, proclaiming freedom of  sex constructing, regardless of assigned sex at birth. It is hard to imagine the army in the fighting, formed of transsexuals, lesbians and gays.

We consider that the army and security forces in general, keep the structure of power in which men predominate.  In Russia, due to the particular geographic location, large territory and particular cultural traditions, there is a militarized hypermasculinity. Therefore, concerning the question of the participation of women in the army it is more suitable matrix of   culture  of gender equality, which reveals the potential for men and women, recognizing not only their differences and denying discrimination, but offering ways of their convergence.

References:
1.Ionin L. G. Parade of minorities. — M.:SPb, 2014.–175p.
2.Malkina — Pykh I. G. Gender therapy. — M.: Eksmo, 2006.–552p.
3.http://www.rg.ru/2012/12/21/devushki-site.html

ARMY AND FEMINISM
The article is dealt with the theory of feminism from the perspective of cultural matrix; the role of women in the modern army is analyzed.
Written by: V. N. Pervushina Valentina Nickolaevna, Semen’kov Victor Nickolaevich, Khutornoy Sergey Nickolaevich
Published by: Басаранович Екатерина
Date Published: 12/17/2016
Edition: euroasia-science_6(27)_23.06.2016
Available in: Ebook