FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

War Chic

The November issue of the magazine Marie Clare did an outstanding job of in remedying the media’s woeful lack of coverage of the impact of war on fashion. With several hard-hitting articles and a photo spread, MC gives this aspect of war reporting it’s proper due.

The magazine scored a real coup by getting the first print interview ever with Lynndie England since her incarceration for her role in Abu Ghraib. The first paragraph immediately gives us what we want to know,

Lynndie England smells like soap. She rubs her hands constantly, and her cuticles are raw and nearly bleeding. Her hair is pulled back in four tortoiseshell clips, and it’s streaked with premature gray. She is no longer the waiflike girl with a devilish grin who appeared in the infamous Abu Ghraib photos. On this warm fall afternoon, England, 23, now 30 pounds heavier, wears short-sleeve Army fatigues and black, waffle-soled boots. Her name is stitched across her chest. Dangling from her waist is a yellow-and-white badge that reads, “Prisoner.”

There you have it, what she smells like, the condition of her hair and nails, what she is wearing, her footgear and an allusion to Hester Prynne.

Fortunately, the author had the good sense to abandon the glam objectification genre after the first paragraph and the rest of the piece actually does a fine job of looking at who England is, not what she looks like.

But wait, there’s more, much more. A back page piece about Army Major Tammy Duckworth addresses issues first. But then, suddenly remembering the publication for whom she is writing, the interviewer asks the inevitable, “What are the fashion challenges?” Duckworth answers with a joke about her missing legs being her excuse for wearing larger size pants and that yes of course she is sad that she can’t wear the latest high-wedge heels, but that is nothing “compared to being alive.”

The magazine also has an interesting article about women newscasters in the Middle East, talking about a Saudi woman who went public with pictures of herself after she was assaulted by her husband. But when they interview reporter May Chidiak, who lost a leg and an arm in a car bombing in Beirut, we learn that with a cane, she can wear high heels. She can already handle 2 inch heels, her goal is the 4-inchers.

Finally, there is the photo spread that perhaps should have been titled, “Runway: Iraq,” in which Marie Claire features the wives of soldiers showing off the latest fashions. Kristi McCoy, wife of a soldier named James, is shown wearing a $2455 Prada dress along with a Catherine Angiel necklace prices at $1340. At least the sidebar says she is wearing this, it is apparently hidden by the baby she is holding who curiously is clad only in a diaper. As Anna Froula, a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky who first noticed this curious edition of MC points out, it is truly peculiar to photograph these women in clothes they could not possibly afford on the pay their spouses make in the military.

This sorry objectification of the role of women in the context of militarism does however illustrate the expanding number of visual archetypes that we now have of women in war. Indeed, today’s imagery goes far beyond Rosie the Riveter. The wives and sweethearts left behind, England, Duckworth, Jessica Lynch, as well as Iraqi and Afghani women have now become the feminine archetypes of militarism. As Froula makes clear in her research about England and Lynch, we need to do some serious deconstructing of the images of these women that have been presented to us by the media and the military in order to really see the truth of how women participate in militarism and how that impacts their lives.

LUCINDA MARSHALL is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, www.feministpeacenetwork.org.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail