Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Terror Dream and Jessica Lynch

One thick volume I've been perusin now for months, whenever I have a moment to spare, is the brilliant Susan Faludi's "The Terror Dream." I have to say, it's given me and lots of others I imagine, a really good grounding for this vague sense we've had in the "post-911 era" about the shrinking role and visibility of women. Faludi assiduously documents that period's diminishing op-ed representation, TV show appearances, etc. for women, as well as the vicious backlash against women who dared speak out against the Bush administration's jingoistic response to our attack. It's depressing stuff, for sure, when it's all connected. But i makes a good point. This emasculation-from-both sides (terrorists on the outside and uppity bitches at home) seemed to be too much to handle for the manly men of the mainstream media and the Bush administration.

Most importantly, Faludi also grounds it in history of the "frontier captivity" paranoia. She reminds us of two important American trends: the obsession with Native American "violation" of puritan/American women captives a la The Searchers, and the ugly history of obsession with the, Birth-of-a-Nation induced lies and myths about black men's sexual encroachment on white women. In both cases, the supposed targeting of women by "outsiders" was the symbol of white men's emasculation, their panic over a supposed lack of dignity. Faludi brings up lots of examples of women who stood up for themselve,, or identified with their captors. and were hushed by the community.

Perhaps the most disturbing single narrative in the book is the story of Jessica Lynch.
This week is the fifth anniversary of her rescue and all the hoopla that accompanied it. There is no way to sum up all on the nuances which Faludi sheds light, because it's such a detailed, thorough explanation of each of the lies and misrepresentations that went into the media coverage of Lynch's ordeal, and how much of it was based on conceptions of femininity and worry about American troops' inability to Protect the Wimmins from the Enemy.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. This looks like a fun blog. I went to Nathaniel's movie blog and saw your link there.

    Will be back!