Nancy wrote back, continuting what I hope will become a rich conversation back and forth between our blogs.
I’m glad to hear that you’re getting good response to some in the military to your book, because I think you provide them with good and concrete ideas that they can use.
I’m probably somewhat more willing than you are to give the feminist movement the benefit of the doubt—I went to law school back when very few women did that and I credit the feminist movement with opening lots of doors for me and others my age—but I certainly agree that they have not effectively helped women in the military. I have never liked that assumption that women are natural pacifists. And as I said in my blog post, I am appalled by the victim feminists, who seem to assume that women can never be capable of defending themselves against men.
Plus I agree with you completely that until women are seen as equally able and responsible for our defense, we will never gain full equality. I came to that conclusion when my male friends were confronted with the draft and I wasn’t, and my mind hasn’t changed.
I’ve found it interesting that—despite feminist objections to the military—stories about women soldiers have become very common within science fiction and fantasy. (I am first and foremost a fiction writer.) It seems to me that women are very hungry for stories like this.
It’s definitely time for some new and more sophisticated feminist approaches. I don’t know if you’ve read Linda Hirshman, but you might find her interesting if you haven’t.
I have an essay that discusses women and self defense that is coming out in an anthology this spring. I see a definite relationship between self defense and military issues—one of the many things I liked about your book was the way you addressed personal safety issues.