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June 1994


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Alison McKee <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Jun 1994 00:57:00 PDT
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> I think it's nonetheless truly
> astonishing that the stories of mass rape over there have not led to more
> public and media pressure. Is it just because the situation is too complex?
> But when did that ever stop the media? Or is it because most of the raped
> women are Muslims, hence don't "count" in terms of the narrative paradigm that
> James talks about in connection w/ BoaN and the Gulf War?
> bitnet tbbyer01@ulkyvm; internet [log in to unmask]
> Thomas B. Byers
I seem to recall that within the last year (?), there *was* a brief period
of concentrated media coverage of the systematic raping of Muslim women --
but it was relatively short-lived.  There was a burst of public commentary
and concern in the U.S., and then that, too, faded.  Would it have faded *as*
quickly if the women had been, say, Christian?  I doubt it.
But I think there's another (related) issue here (as others have pointed out
in recent posts):  even as some feminist historians and
scholars sought to point out that mass rape was, indeed, a kind
of political and military strategy, the American media tended to
depoliticize it by representing it at the level of personal
tragedy.  As if it were an either/or proposition . . .
Rape can be a powerful mobilizing metaphor (hence the success of Bush's
incessant references to "the rape of Kuwait"), but when rape is *not*
invoked symbolically -- that is, when it is all too literal -- it still
tends to remain marginalized in the realm of the personal . . .
which is, all too often, *not* considered the political!
Alison McKee
Department of Film and Television
[log in to unmask]