sexual assault in the military

from “Dishonorable Behavior” Elizabeth D. Samet

Some good bits:

“Among the linguistic tics cadets most quickly acquire is the use of the noun female in lieu of woman. They see it in formal briefings and official documents, and they hear it in everyday conversation. Woman is by far the more usual choice in civilian culture, where female has at best a biological or zoological connotation and at worst a pejorative one. Yet female is ubiquitous in military culture. (The use of male as a noun is by no means commensurate.)”

“To my ear,  female carries a pejorative air in this setting, yet its speakers don’t seem to hear the same thing. They’ve already been conditioned. Clinical, technical, bureaucratic—female ends up making a woman sound less like an individual human being and more like a participant in a laboratory experiment. ”

“…the rationale behind the application of an unambiguously restrictive term to women and men alike. It is as if the authors could not even conceive of appropriate conduct that wasn’t also, at bottom, the conduct of a gentleman, the conduct of a man.”

“The use of women and their reputations as a medium of exchange in a masculine commerce of honor has a long lineage. “


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