We call ships ‘she.’ We call our war machines ‘women.’ We compare women to black widows and vipers. And you’re going to tell me it’s not ‘lady-like’ to scream, to take up space, to fight and demand respect and do whatever the hell I want. You’ve looked at nuclear bombs and been so in awe that you could only name them after women. Don’t try to down-play my power.
i understand the need to reclaim power and strength for women but i feel like this rubs me the wrong way because it’s just so de-contextualized as a statement?
first: we call machines “she” because they can be controlled and operated. we call them she because men see objects as things just like they see women as things. on a meta level, it’s easy to say that the need to call weapons of war she has to do with 1.) massive homophobia in modern industrialized warfare and militaries (and even every day society, like men calling their cars ‘girls’) and 2.) the idea that war is meant to de-masculinize and devastate the opponent. It is a humiliation that is understood on a subconscious level.
second: i don’t know what nuclear bombs you’re talking about, but the only nuclear bombs dropped onto people were called “fat boy” and “little man”. it doesn’t take a huge stretch to point out the phallic shape associated with nuclear warfare.
third: women are called vipers and black widows because uh…they’re constantly coded as malicious, treacherous, sexual, and murderous beings who pose a threat to men? last time I checked, the “black widow” who preys upon rich men, marries them, and then murders them for their money was not a flattering or empowering term.
this is why i was so upset that when discussions of weapons & women/the feminine came about it seemed to call this all positive and empowering instead of fundamentally identifying the societal coding of women and their sexuality as dangerous and evil (particularly in the west), and to identity how women in the media are coded as objects and tools of sexual/destructive force either to society, or men or masculinity in general. (see also: fragility of masculinity, the harlot, the madonna/whore complex, the black widow, the gold digger, the slut, the siren, the succubus, vagina dentata, bridezilla, dragon lady, welfare queen, the hairy lesbian, etc tropes/slurs/stereotypes ALL of which directly related to sexuality or lack thereof or coded “mis-used” sexuality.)
last: i do not want to be an atom bomb. i am not an imprint or an echo of the destructive forces of the patriarchy and have no desire to be associated with black widows or vipers or war machines. my interest in destruction of societal norms which harm people cannot be equated to an industrial military complex, neither can my sexuality or my being.
it is not the same kind of power, it is not the same kind of force.
we can be powerful without wearing the masks of men.