Kelly Oliver author of Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and the Media appeared yesterday on ABC News to talk about women in the military as well as to consider our fascination with female terrorists and suicide bombers.
Oliver discusses the use of women as interrogators at Abu Ghraib, where their sexuality was very much a weapon as well as the deployment of U.S. women soldiers in Afghanistan today in engagement units used to extract information from Afghans.
In suggesting that the “bombshell has become the bomb,” Oliver argues that the media’s fascination and our own with women suicide bombers reflects lingering stereotypes of women that still sees them both as innocent and sexual. The use of women insures greater media coverage and therefore achieves an aim of terrorist organizations.
Oliver also discussed how many women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan not only have to cope with the trauma of being deployed in combat zones but also the many incidents of rape and sexual assault in the military. Oliver suggests that the macho military culture has contributed to an environment that has led to male soldiers assaulting their fellow women soldiers.
To read an excerpt from Women as Weapons of War