Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Ludicrous Treatment of Military Women

It seems that the recently released video by the rapper Ludacris, which is supposed to reflect his support for US presidential candidate Barack Obama, has a lot of people talking. The Obama campaign quickly issued a statement denouncing the lyrics and as fellow blogger Catherine Morgan pointed out earlier today in her blog post, the video has outraged bloggers from all corners.

On the other hand, there are others who seem to be taking the video lightly. In fact, the ladies on "The View" had a good laugh when co-host Joy Behar performed her rendition of the song. After all, if the word bitch is good enough for for The President's Mom, it can't be bad, right? :-)

Personally, I file Ludacris' video in the same category as every other misogynistic, hateful rap video and hadn't planned to comment on it at all.
I've long ago concluded that there must be a picture of a woman next to the word "bitch" in the modern rap dictionary because so many rappers and comedians use the term as freely as they use the word "the".

However after learning today that Michael Dominguez, Principle Deputy Undersecretary for Defense revealed that he ordered Dr. Kaye Whitely of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to defy a subpoena to appear during a hearing on sexual assault in the military conducted by The Oversight Sub-committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs I decided to comment on the aforementioned video and
throw out this question for my readers.

How would you presume women in the military are treated by men influenced by a culture where:

  • women are still viewed as sexual objects;
  • women are commonly referred to as female dogs;
  • and, it is an accepted practice to abuse dogs?
Sadly, the Ludacris video is a tame reflection of the misogyny in our society and especially the abhorrent treatment of women in the military.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming all of the ill-treatment of women in the military on Ludacris or the misogynist lyrics rap/hip-hop music in general. They certainly don't help matters but the argument can be made that rap/hip-hop lyrics are a reflection of a culture which still doesn't know how to view or treat women.

But believe you me, if an accomplished lawyer and actively serving US Senator can't get a little RESPECT, the women bravely serving their nation in the armed services aren't fairing much better.

Earlier this week I posted my thoughts on the mysterious death of Pfc LaVena Johnson while serving in Iraq. Although physical evidence clearly shows that this 19 year old US service woman was viciously abused and murder, the military told her family that she had committed suicide.

Clips of the July 23rd interview of the Johnson family by DemocracyNow's Amy Goodman are available on Youtube. And if you are troubled by rap lyrics try reading some of the comments posted by Youtube members in response to this interview.

Now today I watch the following video in which the Subcommittee Chairman Tierney and Full Committee Chairman Waxman threaten the Deputy Undersecretary for Defense, with contempt after he reveals that he has ordered the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to defy a subpoena to appear.

Click on the link below if the video is not displaying properly:


Hopefully, Senators Obama, McCain and Clinton will all speak out on this issue.

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