Les femmes américaines et la guerre du Vietnam : mise en place et utilisation d’un processus de mimétisme

TitleLes femmes américaines et la guerre du Vietnam : mise en place et utilisation d’un processus de mimétisme
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBoudet-Brugal, Alexandra
JournalRevue LISA
Volume4
Issue3
Start Page280
Pagination280-298
Date Published2009
Abstract

By and large, women have been kept at a distance from war, with their historic identity mainly consisting of mothers. The world of war, in other words, was to remain solely in the realm of the masculine. This characteristic may be even more visible in the context of the Vietnam War (1964-1973), given the power granted to authenticity: “having been there” taking on an essential element to discussions of the war. However, it seems that, just as Vietnam was a confused war, the border between genders was sometimes blurred as well. The author argues that some women constructed and developed an unusual process, a(n) (unconscious) strategy, in order to enter the world of war while not “having been there". If “Vietnam is the land of [their] imagination”, as Barbara Sonneborn put it, (Regret to inform, 1999), mimetism allowed women to fill out the blanks, to uncover and discover men's reality, to “see what it was he saw […] to be in the field with him”, says Gail Gilberg (Snake’s Daugher, 1997). The author exposes this phenomenon that appears in various women’s stories, written or told, by themselves or others, through their own narrative styles and speeches. She also examines whether the use of this mechanism reinforces the traditional representations of men and women in war: Does it allow a re-writing of these excluded female voices, while putting forward the specificities of women’s experiences in war? Does it grant women a voice and a visible presence? Considering that “societies are, in some sense, the sum total of the war stories” (Jean B. Elshtain), she examines to what extent this strategy allows the American women to find their place in the story of the Vietnam war.

Translated TitleAmerican Women, the Vietnam War and Mimetism: Constructing and Developing an Unconscious Imitation of the Soldier
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