Ken Burns’ “The War – An Intimate History” Overlooks Women

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Read Heart’s post here. Read Dr. Violet Socks’ post here. And while you are at it, read Are Women Human?, about which this reviewer notes:

… A recurring theme of MacKinnon’s book is that it is extremely difficult to get violence against women taken seriously. MacKinnon’s fundamental claim is that the violence and abuse routinely inflicted on women by men is not treated with the same seriousness accorded to a human rights violation, or torture, or terrorism, or a war crime, or a crime against humanity, or an atrocity, despite resembling each of these things closely at least and precisely at most. Thus, MacKinnon asks “why the torture of women by men is not seen as torture” (p. 21); why violence against women within the borders of a state is not seen as a human rights violation; why the mass rape of Bosnian and Croatian women by Serbs is not seen as an act of genocide against those ethnic groups as such; why the mass rape of women in general in peacetime is not seen as an act of genocide against women as such; why, “women not being considered a people, there is as yet no international law against destroying the group women as such” (p. 230); why the terror imposed by the violence of male dominance is not seen as the sort of terrorism against which a government might see fit to wage war; why atrocities against women “do not count as war crimes unless a war among men is going on at the same time” (p. 261); and why, when approximately 3,000 women are killed by men in the United States each year, we refer to that state of affairs as “peacetime.”

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Ken Burns’ “The War – An Intimate History” Overlooks Women

  1. bob coley jr says:

    there are those that deny this happened, they are liars
    there are those that say it happened once upon a time but no more, they are blind
    there are those that say all is fair in love and war, they are sc*m

  2. atheo says:

    “A Letter to Ken Burns about The War: An Intimate History”

    ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the Yokosuka rape queues in August 1945, with GI’s lined up for blocks, two abreast, to get at the Japanese girls enslaved in ‘comfort stations’ for them:with the full cooperation of the American and Japanese authorities. Destitute, vulnerable girls were raped into unconsciousness as the men joked and laughed and jostled in line, waiting their turn. Some girls bled to death. Some committed suicide:that is, the lucky ones who could escape. Not one ‘comfort girl’ has told her story:due to shame. Why did you not tell this particular ‘intimate history’ of ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns? Especially since ‘usage’ of the girls was almost 100%. Why has the small detail that almost every GI in Japan, 1945, was a rapist escaped you? Why his this big ‘dirty secret’ of war never been covered?

    ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the men who lined up to use the prostitutes on Hotel Street in Honolulu: women were raped 100 times a day:a different man entered the girl every three minutes. Why should I mourn these rapists when they were killed in the attack at Pearl Harbor? They slaughtered the bodies of these women in a fashion far more brutal than any bombing could ever be.

    ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the widespread rape of French girls by GI’s after they ‘liberated’ Paris. Rape by American soldiers was so common that Eisenhower actually had to acknowledge it was happening, although he did nothing to stop it.

    ‘The War’ is the public parks in Palermo, where pimps considerately laid out mattresses so the GI’s could fuck starving Italian girls comfortably, for a dollar or two a turn.

    ‘The War’ is homeless, prostituted girls in Berlin doing it in the rubble for a few cents and agreeing to ‘share’ a GI bed so they would simply have a place to sleep that night. This, after they had already had the insides raped out of them by the invading Russian army and then were labeled ‘whores’ since it was a convenient way for the authorities to deal with these ‘ruined’ women.

    The War’ is the village in Okinawa where GI’s raped every woman, girl, and child:the victims were too sick and starving to even try to run from their attackers.

    ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the starvation prostitution forced upon tens of thousands of European and Japanese girls (some barely into their teens) by the ridiculous conflicts men create to display their phallic brutality. It is also the brothel attached to a military base in Arizona stocked with ‘worn-out whores’ and reserved exclusively for black solders, so that the white GI’s would not have to ‘contaminate’ their penises by raping the same prostitutes. Thousands of black GI’s passed through this brothel daily, and who knows what insane, pathetic creatures they left dead of rape and misery.

    ‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is not your blind, masculine-centric vision of it, full of all these lies about valor and sacrifice and courage and nobility. There is little that is noble about the raping, war-making brute we call a soldier.

    I was raped and prostituted by the U.S. Military. Why don’t you tell my story, Mr. Burns? It is far more ‘colorful’ than that of these soldiers who raped their way through Europe and Asia Don’t you want to know what it’s like to be mounted by a line of soldiers? It is a hell beyond any possible imagining. It has happened to me.

    My PTSD, as it is so fashionably called, is far more intense than that of the men who raped the life and dignity and beauty out of me. The emotional damage to the soldier does not compare to the suffering he inflicts on the women he ravages.

    War is never good for women. War sexually enslaves women. Men gain by war. They have the pleasure of rape: they mount starving women, ‘cheap whores,’ and take their pleasure, and the woman is silenced forever by her shame.

    What a male abomination is not just your grandiose seven-part, tidy version of ‘The War,’ but PBS as well. You pretend to be enlightened but you are as blind and callous and cruel as the soldier rapists who destroyed the lives and bodies of so many women.

    I looked at your so-called ‘companion volume’ to the series. The index carries not one reference to rape, prostitution, military brothels, or the sexual suffering of millions of woman. How can you overlook, ignore, dismiss a ‘fact’ so enormous? As if these women simply never existed.

    What a betrayal of our raped bodies is your grand, masculine-centric version of ‘The War.’ Even your title indicates that you own this territory, this war, your war. It is, indeed, your war:since all wars are the product of your male phallic cruelty.

    War never ‘liberates’ women. War sexually destroys us. It has never been otherwise. Briseis had no say in her fate as a ‘captive’ woman. No one asked her what she thought of the arrangement. No one has asked the Filipina women trafficked onto the fifty U.S. bases in Iraq what they think of their lot as the GI’s line up for their five-minute shot inside them.

    Men make war because they love war. Don’t ask me to feel sorry for the way they ‘suffer.’

    Dr. Suki Falconberg, Rape/Prostitution Survivor