Abu Ghraib and Gender Abu Journal

Excerpt from Journal :

Most, however, focused on the chain of command that was responsible for the incident. People became outraged with George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Many assumed that Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident, dismissing larger implications of what happened there. But Gronnvoll brings many neglected issues into our attention. She specifically analyses gender implications of not only what happened in Abu Ghraib but also of the way the photographs were portrayed and discussed in media. And her analysis reveals that there are larger issues that are at play at Abu Ghraib. For instance, the fact that the media presumed heterosexuality of American male soldiers and homosexualized Iraqi male prisoners suggests that the tendency to dehumanize the Iraqis was not restricted to a few American soldiers stationed at Abu Ghraib. Disturbing though it may sound, but those soldiers who abused Iraqi prisoners followed standard American gender attitudes with regard to homosexuals. While the soldiers displayed their homophobia through the photos, the larger American public displayed homophobia through the portrayal of the photos.

The same is true of our general view of the role of women. We subconsciously hold on to certain views of women that, if critically analyzed, reflect our gender biases against women. If we were outraged at the posing of male soldiers for their attitude toward Iraqis, we were outraged at the posing of England and other female soldiers for both their treatment of Iraqis and for being women. In our subconscious mind, we accept male behavior to be the standard -- the yardstick with which we can evaluate the actions of women. I have to admit that I held on to such views myself, without really understanding it, but Gronnvoll's argument helped me to deconstruct them.

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