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Lynndie, the antithesis

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Lynndie was seen as the antithesis of Jessica Lynch.

In contrast to Lynch, England was not attractive, full of life and a ‘sweetheart’.

But she did provoke an emotional reaction, even if not positive, on the ‘war on terror’ and even became the face of the scandal.

Lynndie’s situation was interesting as she was both powerful and powerless at the same time.

She was powerful in the sense that she was strong enough to torture men as a woman. She was intimidating and powerful as she was white, all American therefore part of the occupying force which made her in a sense ‘the man’. She tortured men by having that ‘masculine power’ by ‘feminizing’ her victims.

So all these factors were “all powerful identity markers in comparison with being Iraqi, brown skinned, Muslim and captive” in the context of Abu Ghraib.

The torture techniques that were applied “can be read as a manipulation of power dynamics designed to feminize the captives and masculinise the captors in a powerful/powerless dynamic.”

This will eventually lead to the capturer becoming more and more self-confident because of the power-flow, which is gained by being the captor and stripping others of their self-confidence. This could explain Graners role in this whole scandal.

England’s tomboy appearance, like I have mentioned before, could be related to her role in this, which seems more assimilated then it would, for example, another soldier, who was also involved in this, Sabrina Harman. Harman’s appearance slightly resembles that of Lynch’s with the blonde hair and pretty face. She did not get as much attention as England did.

It is certain that England did have power, but this was not a successful and moral empowerment. Event though she had the status and the physical power, it seems, to apply physical abuse, she was still in a critical and vulnerable position.

After all, she only chose to take part in this because of her loyalty and commitment to the military and therefore a ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and her partner who put her under pressure to do so, so again: masculinity.

Interestingly, the fact that Graner, who was known to have a history of violence, like putting razor blades into a prisoner’s food and restrain orders against his ex-wife, was the ring leader of abuse did not seem as unacceptable as a young woman ‘stepping so far out of her traditional gender role’.

Like I mentioned earlier, the fact that she was outside of those ‘social norms’ was an excuse for her to be seen as an ‘isolated aberration rather than a systematic problem with the military culture.’ As a solution the scandal was overcome but scapegoating a few individuals rather then questioning the system that allowed this to happen in the first place.

Another ‘funny’ detail is that England’s attorney told her to grow her hair before the parole board in order for her to look more ‘feminine’

Alex J. Bellamy (2008). Security and the war on terror, Taylor & Francis. p. 42-49.]


Written by coskufertingercmp

November 26, 2010 at 5:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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