Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Word of warning

Like Lionel Shriver, I too have misgivings about the
constant use in the media of the phrase ‘women and
children’ in descriptions of war. As Shriver says, ‘Is
there anything more acceptable about killing men?’
That, after all, is the implication of the gender
distinction. It also carries the connotation of women
being babyish and helpless, like the children with whom
the phrase associates them. Shriver warns that you
don’t want to go too far down this track: it is, ultimately,
anti-feminist. Distinguish civilians from military, sure;
but stop giving women value only in terms of their
defencelessness and supposedly unstained virtue.

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