The Unwomanly Face of War
“I knew my father was killed. My brother as well. I am sad for my mom. That beautiful woman is lonely now. She cannot live without my father. She asked me why I was joining the war. I said that to get revenge on my father…” – Ulyana Osipovna Nemzer
A book I have been reading for a while affected me so much and inspired me to write this article. This jarring book was written by a Russian lady, called Svetlana Alexievich. The title of the book is “у войны не женское лицо”, which translates to “The Unwomanly Face of War” (1).
The book is about Soviet women who became soldiers in WW2. Their stories and memories were collected by the writer. They were nurses, snipers, tankers, gunners, doctors, washerwomen, etc. Same war, but different stories—blood, broken bones, shredded organs, broken hopes, screams, and terrible states of health. These women influenced the war’s result for sure. Even if they had disadvantages according to men, they did whatever they could. Even after the war, its effect never left them. They lived with memories and trauma of the war. Reading these stories from witnesses is shocking for the readers and motivates them to do something for world peace.
Every nation and land have had dark times during their history. Everybody was a part of it: men, women, kids, older people and so on. Bullets don’t discriminate based on gender. They do their duty. The question is whether you want to overcome a struggle or not. Gender is irrelevant if you are determined to overcome one, and you are together. The book drives this point home.
So, what’s the point of gender discrimination? Do you think that a woman can live without a man or vice versa? Do we still have to talk about gender discrimination even in the 21st century? Will we still follow the outworn traditions of the middle ages? If we need women-power in war, why don’t we want to see it in business (2) or politics (3)? My judgment does not apply to all countries, but some. All the same, traditions, religions or other primeval reasons stop women in their tracks. They embolden men to be self-righteous against women, at least they are partial to think so.
We are here to change this strange ideology!
“It seems to me that I have lived 2 lives. One as a man, another as a woman” – Stanislava Petrovna Volkova
– Oğuz Yılmazlar
- The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II
- 2019 Women in Business Trends
- Women in Parliaments: World Classification
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The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.