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Female soldiers fighting ISIS - any thoughts?

(46 Posts)
LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 15:58:11

Was just reading this (I know.. guilty as charged reading dm) and thought of you guys.. I wondered what your thoughts on this may be. I personally hsve huge respect for these women, and from the sounds of it the dynamics of mixed gender troops works well in Syria:

"The person in the trench next to you could be a guy or a girl and it makes no difference. They're soldiers first. Not once did I feel harassed, objectified or in danger when I was around the men."

‘This was a problem for some of the western guys who wanted to get it on with the girls,’ she said. ‘An American kept complaining about how cold the girls were. I told him to stop disrespecting them with his flirting.
‘Flirting is a way of gaining control and that's not part of their (Kurdish) culture.'
‘A YPG soldier explained to me that in a society where the men elevate themselves, the women get left behind, but in their society where the women are elevated, the men get elevated with them"

The last sentence is particularly insightful, but very surprised (pleasantly) that this could be found in a part of the world renowned for poor women's rights. Any thoughts?

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3147862/Body-parts-bloody-battles-one-boys-Model-went-fight-ISIS-Syria-reveals-horrors-saw-life-woman-frontline.html

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 15:59:32

this as well "It's very close to a matriarchal society. It was normal for a 17-year-old-girl to be in charge of an entire guard watch of men.’

Is this the kind of thing that feminists are aiming for? Disclaimer I'm not an expert by any means on feminism.. interested in leaning and usually lurking!

YonicScrewdriver Mon 06-Jul-15 18:09:47

It sounds as if everybody doing the job is treated as an equal person by their colleagues. Which is great.

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 18:31:47

so in this respect i guess the kurds are doing better than their western counterparts, i wonder if this is spawned by their culture, the way they're brought up or whether it's the survival situation they have to deal with.

YonicScrewdriver Mon 06-Jul-15 18:36:46

I don't know enough about the wider culture to know how equal the sexes are generally. I suspect the treatment of women in the armed forces has something to do with how long (if ever) an army existed for that country/people without women involved.

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 18:40:27

yes maybe it would be interesting to find out other aspects of their culture. from what i know already though i have great respect and admiration for the kurds. I thought it was refreshing to see something somewhat positive in all the mess that is the middle east.

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Mon 06-Jul-15 19:22:31

I didn't know anything about the Kurds so that's interesting. Oddly enough, or perhaps not so, in ancient times (pre Rome and Islam) the near eastern societies frequently were more egalitarian, or so it is thought. Similarly the nomadic peoples of the southern steppes area were supposed to be too - think some graves of warrior women were excavated in that area. Of course there are always academic prevarications.

Can't say I like war in any shape or form, but no, I don't think women should not be excused/ excluded from that role / duty on the principle of sex. Excluding all on the basis that wars are shit and we shouldn't be fighting them, yes. You don't sound too sure Lego.

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 19:32:19

not too sure on what NoTech ?

That's interesting, I did read also the other day about an exclusive islamic tribe where women were in charge and led a very liberal sex life, but it doesn't negate the abysmal rights for women in many aspects over there..

In fact if you consider it, the extremity of isis has brought about a few interesting gender dynamics, like the way they use female police to enforce rules on other women, and it is a woman in charge of organising the sex slave trade etc.. i also read the other day that girls who go there to marry a jihadi can netgotiate terms of the marriage which allow her to divorce him if broken. It's a whole different world.

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Mon 06-Jul-15 19:38:09

It sounded like one of the points you wanted to discuss was whether women should be fighting. Wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong.

Mide7 Mon 06-Jul-15 19:39:06

I've got massive respect for people who are against IS enough to fight them. It can't be easy at all. I don't know much about the Kurds but they sound like good people ( waiting for someone to come and correct me).

messyisthenewtidy Mon 06-Jul-15 19:53:56

What would be great if all societies banned both sexes from fighting. Now that would be awesome grin

But sadly not going to happen. So yes it is a good thing that these women who feel strongly enough should be able to step up and share in the defending of their livelihoods.

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 19:56:28

no I think it's brilliant that these women can take an active and respected role in defending their country and families. From what i've seen they're skilled and professional, i'm quite in awe of them!

LegoComplex Mon 06-Jul-15 19:56:54

in general though i think women should definitely be allowed on the frontline if that's what they wish to do.

HermioneWeasley Mon 06-Jul-15 19:56:56

I'm surprised to see the Kurds described as a matriarchal society - aren't they still practising child brides and honour killings (ie: child rape and murder?)

YonicScrewdriver Mon 06-Jul-15 20:01:14

Hermione, I think that was meant just in the context of the army that has female leaders.

messyisthenewtidy Mon 06-Jul-15 21:23:49

I'd be quite surprised if still-existing matriarchal societies were anything other than wishful thinking. Doesn't it stand to reason that matriarchal (egalitarian) societies would be wiped out by patriarchal (hierarchical) ones?

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Tue 07-Jul-15 14:39:28

Errr... not following the thinking on that one, messy, why would it stand to reason? I don't know of many test cases. It's true that Rome wiped out Carthage and seriously impacted the Celtic culture (to name two that were probably more egalitarian) but they did that to everyone who was in their way whether matriarchal or not.

There was a bigger impact from organised religion as interpretd by Rome, ie Christianity and Islam, which we're still living with. Not sure if any of that translates to inevitability though.

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Tue 07-Jul-15 14:40:34

Are you thinking that it's wishful thinking to try and shift to more egalitarian societies now?

madwomanbackintheattic Tue 07-Jul-15 15:07:57

So, daily mail prints hideous article because a Canadian woman who was once a model goes out to fight for three months (carefully mentioning that she of course didn't actually kill anyone at all), describes her as a stunning blonde, infantilises other women by printing pics of them in uniform with giant stuffed toys, (as well as many twenty year old photos of her modelling or astride big bikes) and then, poor gal, tells everyone that the poor westerners get malnutrition after three months and are a liability so they have to leave to recover, legs buckling as they totter off.

What an utterly terrible pile of horse shit this article is.

There are real female military leaders the world over. It is not unusual for women to be in charge of groups of men. It is interesting in this context because of the cultural backdrop, but this whole 'Barbie goes to war' shit hides the only interesting fact amidst the deluge of 'oo, pretty sexy women have guns!'

I think I'll stick to 'Armed Forces and Society' to get my information on Kurdish fighters, rather than the DM.

Girls who go to marry a jihadi get to dictate terms and to leave? Link please.

LegoComplex Tue 07-Jul-15 16:06:12

i can link but i'm afraid it's a dm aticle containing messages from one of the school girls who left for syria.. yes i do realise i need to stop reading dm and find a more reputable news source!

freshandminty Tue 07-Jul-15 23:21:00

The Kurdish fighters are very left wing and very feminist. There's loads of articles in the Guardian about them. www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/10/revolutionary-kurdish-isis-ivana-hoffman

LegoComplex Wed 08-Jul-15 11:48:08

great article minty thanks

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Wed 08-Jul-15 11:56:00

By the way hope everyone enjoyed the amount of thinking that went into my posts yesterday grin

MuffMuffTweetAndDave Wed 08-Jul-15 15:21:38

Haven't read the article and not going to, but the sight of a battalion of women fighters off to defend themselves, their homes and their families against Isis gladdens my heart. Nobody likes war, but since Isis aren't going to lay down their arms and stop their brutality voluntarily, they're going to have to be forced into it. This is what Middle Eastern feminism looks like. May each and every one of them take out a dozen jihadis.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 08-Jul-15 16:54:02

Thanks minty, I erroneously assumed the grauniad was behind a paywall (not in the UK) so hadn't seen any of the articles. Had an interesting wander around, and not an ex-model astride a motorbike nor a fluffy toy in sight.

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