The White Feather of Female Militancy

GettysburgMuch is said about the role men play in wars, particularly in starting them. Some naive sexists have even gone so far to claim that if women ran the world, there would be no more war.

This is another example of hypoagency, as the role women play in instigating violence is concealed because they aren’t directly involved in (or suffering from) the violence toward which they encourage, pressure, or manipulate men.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest day in American history. The role women played in putting men on the battlefields of the American Civil War, to die or have their limbs and senses destroyed, has been too long overlooked. No more ignoring the white feather.

[Women’s] first task was to encourage men to enlist … they promised to favor them when they returned … to reserve their charms “for those who go forth to battle” while denying them to “men who stay home.” … Southern women were “the best recruiting officers,” absolutely refusing “to tolerate, or to admit to their society any young man who refuses to enlist.” Catherine Cooper Hopley, an English subject teaching in the South, was appalled by the lighthearted manner in which southern women pressured their men into service.

Women in the Civil War by Mary Elizabeth Massey, p. 30

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.