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“Women, guns and conflicts”

Abstract

Part of a catalogue for an exhibition: "Ligne de mire", February-­-August, 2018 Women and arms in conflicts Katarzyna Grabska Guns, wars, and women: myths and perceptions Historically, guns and wars have been associated with the masculine terrain of power whereby masculinity could be tested and reinforced. This interpretation is strongly linked to the patriarchal notions of gender relations, where women tend to be portrayed as weaker 'sex' and those in need of protection from 'their' 'strong' men. As guns are associated with wielding of power and violence, they have been typically across different geographical and cultural spaces assigned as a trophy in the hands of men. In wars or situations of civil conflict, soldiering has been seen as a masculine domain, with men charged with the role of protecting women and children i. Guns are hence associated with power over people and the ability to wage violence, but also protection against violence of the enemy. In popular and academic discourses, the relationship between women, guns and wars is rooted in dominant gender ideologies and norms. Gender here is understood as relations of power that regular social relations between and among women and men. While sex ii is linked to biology, gender is socially constituted. As such gender varies across time and space, and conceptions of femininities and masculinities are subject to diverse stereotypes, norms and roles assigned to people based on their perceived membership in sex categories shaped differently. Women have been historically assigned a position of victims in the context of war and civil upheavals. At times where women have participated in rebel movements or in military efforts, in the popular and to large extend scientific discourse, mainly their support roles have been accentuated. They cook, clean, wash, and often sleep with soldiers-not always by choice. For example, one story about women's relationship to the military characterizes women as in need of the protection that the military can provide them iii. The women in these stories, as Elshtain iv notes, are "Beautiful Souls", not involved in war-­-making but reliant on war to survive. These discourses show that women's vulnerability justifies fighting wars. In other interpretations, the link between women, military and wars is one where women are resources that militaries use to win wars v. Some women sustain the economy at home while men are away at war; while others serve the men fighting those wars-as nurses, as entertainment and as prostitutes. Yet another imaginary about women's relationship with the military is of women soldiers vi. For example, in the American military, women soldiers are often depicted not as the trench-­-based, gun-­-shooting fighters that men are, but as soldiers in lipstick and high heels-feminine, but militarized vii. In these narratives, militarized femininity is militarism that relies on control of femininity generally and women specifically viii. While images of 'guns for boys' have been successful propagated in the popular media and discourses, historical and academic accounts provide a critical gender gaze revealing a different scenario across time and space.
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MUDAC,'Museum'of'Contemporary'Design,'Lausanne,'Switzerland'
Part'of'a'catalogue'for'an'exhibition:'“Ligne'de'mire”,'FebruaryEAugust,'2018'
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Women'and'arms'in'conflicts'
Katarzyna'Grabska'
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Guns,'wars,'and'women:'myths'and'perceptions'
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The question "Where are the girls?" is seldom raised in discussions about children or adolescents who are members of fighting forces and groups. This is due in large part to the near exclusive focus on boy soldiers. Consequently, scant attention has been given to girls' active involvement and distinct experiences in these forces and groups, whether as combatants or noncombatants. The purpose of this article is to explicate the presence and experiences of girls in fighting forces and groups and some of the challenges they face after they leave these forces and groups and attempt to resume their lives within their communities. We use descriptive data gathered from a wide variety of organizational and scholarly reports to identify girls' involvement and roles in these forces and groups, detail how they are recruited and demobilized, and examine common physical and psychosocial effects of their participation. We contend that during and after armed conflicts, gender-specific physical and psychological impacts must be understood so that both boys and girls receive effective help. Because little is presently known about girls' distinct experiences, programs and policies that might assist them to heal and recover more rapidly from physical and psychosocial trauma are seldom developed. By being knowledgeable about and sensitive to girls' distinct experiences and needs, psychologists can help assure that girls, along with boys, receive more effective psychosocial assistance.
No Standing, Few Prospects: How Peace is Failing South Sudanese Female Combatants and WAAFG
HSBA, "No Standing, Few Prospects: How Peace is Failing South Sudanese Female Combatants and WAAFG", The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment Brief No. 8, September, 2008
Sierra Leone and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War » Montreal: Rights and Democracy
  • Susan Mckay
  • Dyan Mazurana
Susan McKAY and Dyan MAZURANA, « Where are the Girls? Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War » Montreal: Rights and Democracy, 2004. xxi Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. « Child Soldiers Global Report: Global Report on Child Soldiers », London, 2001. xxii Harry G. WEST, « Girls with Guns: Narrating the Experience of War of Frelimo's "Female Detachment", in Anthropological Quarterly, Volume 73, Number 4, October 2000, pp. 180--194.
Guests at the Table? The Role of Women in Peace Processes
  • Anne Xxiii
  • Itto
xxiii Anne Itto, 'Guests at the Table? The Role of Women in Peace Processes', Conciliation Resources, 2006, p. 2.
Guests at the Table? The Role of Women in Peace Processes', Conciliation Resources, 2006, p. 2. xxv Mats UTAS, « Victimcy, Girlfriending, Soldiering: Tactic Agency in a Young Woman's Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone
  • Anne Itto
Anne Itto, 'Guests at the Table? The Role of Women in Peace Processes', Conciliation Resources, 2006, p. 2. xxv Mats UTAS, « Victimcy, Girlfriending, Soldiering: Tactic Agency in a Young Woman's Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone», in Anthropological Quarterly ;