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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What is the relationship between honor, gender & war?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38873 points ) May 3rd, 2011

Most people assosiate 2 of the 3, if not all 3 in one way or another. There may be some of you who think it is honorable to go to war and that it’s one of the ways for a man to become a man, when it comes to gender construction. Others may think there are ways to behave dishonorably during war but still link honor or lack thereof to mostly men. Perhaps others of you think about war crimes such as massive rapes of women and children and wonder what the relationship between honor, gender and war is in that scenario. Or about resistance to women being in combat or gay people being open in the military. Whatever you think about, what, in your mind, is the relationship?

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8 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

GOING TO WAR ? that made me laugh since in the US [ where most of you live ] you can go to war at 18 but can’t drink till 21… ain’t that ‘F’ed up ? One if old enough to go to war but not old enough to drink.
Where’s the honor in going to war and fight for some mischievous politicians?

Nowdays it’s not something with value to go and defend your nation.

Oh by the way .. I forgot… what war were we talking about ?

Trojans40's avatar

War involves everything about humanity. Gender is a human trait, and honor is a human aspect and belief.

How there are use, and how they connected by connation and allusions that are composed differently by the people aspect of their beliefs and values, and even how societies look at what involves to war. That the relationship, it depends on how people use them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Hibernate No particular war, whatsoever. No particular country, either.

Hibernate's avatar

Yeah I got that part but still I’m curious what type of war we talk about ... because there’s a difference between getting recruited to serve because it’s a world war and a war where people go just for the money. [ and i’m not hidding between words or trying to say anything more here ]

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it is honorable to do the best that you can with what you have at the time while hurting as few people as possible. Yes, I think that someone, regardless of gender, can still be honorable even if they are going to war.

My cousin recently got back from his second tour of duty he’s a Marine and one of the things that agitated not scared, because he did sing up for it and he knew what he was signing up for him was whether or not he would have to kill somebody. He knew that he might have to but he hoped he would not have to. I think that’s honorable. I think the people who enter the military during wartime because they want to kill in a sanctioned way are not honorable, and from what I’ve heard, these soldiers are usually somewhat feared by other soldiers.

I do not think it is honorable for someone to join the military, even in peacetime, and then decide to desert because they can’t handle the idea of killing someone. Yes, it is a horrible thing to have to take a life, but if you join the military, you sign up to do just that if you are needed to so no one should back out.

As for the gender part of all of this, I have no answer for you. I think it is tedious and a waste of time for female soldiers to be shipped out of harm’s way. These women knew what they were doing when they signed up for the military. To keep them out of combat is pointless and can be dangerous for everyone if they have to find a way to skirt around a possible combat situation.

Blackberry's avatar

I associate war, honor and gender as the typical scenario of men going to the front lines and the women staying back with the kids. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind, that is not what I feel should happen. But in general, since we’re talking about honor and war, I see a group of people from all backgrounds coming together to fight for their own country because they feel it’s honorable. Similar to people in NYC and around the world rejoicing over Osama’s death: they forgot about gender and race and just saw people of the same country that experienced the same horrible event.

Haleth's avatar

Great question. It seems like perceptions about honor, gender, and war are changing, and I’ve seen this bear out in my own family. My parents, who are conservative and work for the federal government, see honor and war as going hand in hand. War (or military service, at least) is still mostly male, but more women are getting involved. My parents encouraged my sister to join the air force and one of the few issues where they are socially progressive is gender equality in the workforce and in the military.

Younger people, like me and my sister, don’t see war as necessarily being honorable. My sister seems to have a pretty cynical attitude; she joined the military as a way to pay for school. Most of my cohort (liberal and early 20s) believe that we often go to war for the wrong reasons and it causes unnecessary suffering and death. While the actions of individual soldiers can be noble, war itself is not inherently noble and nobleness is not inherently male.

When I think of “noble,” the first thing that springs to mind is doctors and nurses healing the sick or volunteers helping in impoverished areas- there’s no gender association. When I think of “war,” I think of destruction and suffering- and again, everyone suffers in some way when you go to war.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I associate large scale war with patriarchy because, historically, they are related, as are the sort of gender norms that patriarchies engender.

I don’t associate honor so much with ethics as I do glory. Honor seems to have a lot more to do with perception from others than with correct action. I think that’s integral to the male gender construct in our society.

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