Along with my new-found ‘whiteness consciousness’ comes a journey inspired by oppression/discrimination. Throughout our history certain races and the female gender have always been oppressed/discriminated against. Seen as inferior in many, if not all, aspects, this oppression/discrimination was/is always disguised as “it’s for their own good”, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
I’ve recently watched G.I. Jane, a movie just over 13 years old, released on the 22 August 1997. I was 7 years old at the time so obviously it just blew by me at the time. It tells a story of Lt. Jordan O’Neil who is sent to train for the Navy Seals as a test case for women and everyone expects her to fail.
It’s a classic story of females being excluded from male dominated fields, because of their gender. Females being physically weaker and operations not being equipped to accommodate them. The movie emphasizes the aspects regarding this discrimination.
Throughout the movie social commentary is made about issues at the time of production, still applicable today. I’d like to quote these in a series posts in the next few weeks.
To me, this is one of the first ones that stand out:
A conversation between a boat crew – McCool (black), O’Neil (female) and the rest of the white males:
“McCool: Had a grandfather who wanted to be a Navy man. Wanted to fire them big guns on a big-ass battleship. But Navy says to him, “Oh no. You can only do one thing on a battleship son, that’s cook.” Now I’m not talking ‘bout 100 years ago either – I’m talking United States Navy, middle World War 2. And you know the reason they gave him? The reason they told my grandfather he couldn’t fight for his country? . . . ‘Cause negro’s can’t see at night – bad night vision.”
White male: “Hey man, that’s unbelievable, thank God times have changed.”
McCool: “Have they? So you see O’Neil, I know where you’re coming from, ’cause to them you’re just a new nigger on the block, that’s all. And maybe you just moved in a little too early.”
Often people who have experienced some sense of discrimination will better understand each other. In South Africa women are some of the leading voices on white supremacy, specifically white male supremacy. For ages women have been in the position where we are seen as inferior to men. We too, have had to wait years before we had the right to vote, which in South Africa was in 1930, and then it was only for white women. Yes, a lot of this has changed and our situation isn’t bad at all – yet there remains sectors where we, as females aren’t naturally welcome.
Women may be better equipped to understand something like Apartheid and the havoc it has left on our country – as females too have once been discriminated against. Though maybe not to the same extent in S.A. Not that is gives us an upper hand so to speak, but understanding is often found from the female perspective.
Feminism gets construed into “the hate of males”, a type of anti-male campaign. That is NOT at all what it’s about, it’s complicated and confusing and downright hard to come to grips with – no matter what your gender or race.
A feminist is not a type of women, feminism is a movement, but yes, focused on women’s issues.