I was standing in one of those shops that carry trendy clothes and miscellaneous fad trinkets. Several yards away from me two women were having fun trying on hats. Judging from their clothes and the prominent political buttons each one sported, I reckoned them to be progressive, probably feminists. The amazing part of the picture was the hats they were trying on.
Some company had taken surplus military caps and dyed them various earth tone purples and pastel pink. I stood there watching the irony of these women modeling for each other the cap that any man who has been in the military knows as the "Cunt Cap."
There must be an unwritten rule that GIs or veterans not use the term "Cunt Cap" in the presence of women. Probably 98% of all men who are or were in the U.S. Army know the "Cunt Cap" by that name. Probably 98% of the women in America have never even heard of it. The root of this difference is male bonding. This universal camaraderie-among-men starts with "No Girls Allowed" which is nothing more than Woman Hatred 101. The U.S. military concentrates this exclusion of women and uses it as the lowest common demoninator among GIs: "At least we're not girls!" Military authorities need to create a cohesive fighting unit which is completely controllable. To off-set the danger of GIs sticking together against the Brass, they foment divisions like racism within the ranks. On the other hand, male bonding is the distraction used to patch the splits between the troops arising from racial, regional, and cultural differences. By dividing the troops in some ways, and simultaneously uniting them against women, the Brass hope to create reliable fighters completely under their control. Male bonding also keeps the troops in line, for fear of being labeled a "sissy" or "pussy." The label becomes more than a sexist insult, but constitutes exclusion from the group. Much more than momma and apple pie, male bonding and fear of exclusion keeps the troops marching along in lockstep.
Military authorities have an additional motive in promoting woman-hating. Probably 90% of the contact the troops have with the people they are sent to subjugate is with women and children. If soldiers see "enemy" women as sub-human, there's far more likelihood that they will be willing to carry out orders to commit atrocities against them.
Not that American GIs have to stray far from the community standards they were raised with to commit atrocities. Authorities on rape often point out that 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. That horrible statistic comes from relatively stable, "normal times" in Amerikkka. Nobody has ever compiled the statistics for the fate of women in other countries when American troops land, but given how the military fosters and gives permission to the worst view of women, the thought boggles the mind.
A mother whose son was joining the army was saying "At least he'll be off the streets and will get some training." He'll be trained, all right. He'll learn the name for the "cunt cap" in the first few days. That, of course, is merely a small example of the way that the military takes the sexism every young boy in America gets as part of his "manhood training" and concentrates it and raises it to all-new levels of woman-hating.
Veterans can play an important role in going up against all this. We must break the code of silence and expose just how sick military "service" really is. We must break with complicity by refusing to tolerate the rampant sexism that surrounds all of us. The saying "the dust doesn't vanish where the broom doesn't reach" is certainly true here. The popular image of veterans as individuals who have successfully passed all the "manhood" tests makes it absolutely important that we, of all people, take a clear and public stand on the oppression of women. The "Cunt Cap" must go! Vets have to decide what legacy we are going to pass along to the next and future generations-to continue marching to the beat of sexism and sexual violence towards women, to uphold those moments in our lives we feel the worst about, or to determinedly fight to bring about a new day. But be forewarned: sexism is one of the big foundation blocks of the empire-if we bring down the one the other falls too!