Wednesday, February 5, 2003

No sex please, we're British soldiers!

The Telegraph reports that a new ₤40,000 government-funded study finds sexism exists in the British military. For example, the use of the word “manning” instead of “staffing.” I don’t know, somehow “Staff the guns, the enemy is attacking!” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Another criticism is that “the media image of women soldiers as sexy or tomboyish influenced Army policy and made it difficult for women to integrate.” In other words, in the new feminist Puritanism we mustn’t see members of the opposite sex as “sexy.” Absent castration, that seems unrealistic in the world outside the ivory towers of academia.

Which brings me to my favorite part, the title of the study itself -- Gendered Bodies, Personnel Policies and the Culture of the British Army. “Gendered Bodies?”* I don’t think that too many people are likely to join the military if it means becoming un-gendered.

*According to my Webster’s, gendered means “reflecting the experience, prejudices, or orientations of one sex more than the other.” The authors of the study clearly intended this awkward term as a reference to the masculine culture of the military, which they seek to emasculate in the name of equality.

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