Podcast Tip: Eve Ensler, The Apology

Earlier this summer, Eve Ensler did a long, and profound discussion on WTF with Marc Maron.

Over the course of the 90 minute conversation, Ensler discusses her latest novel, The Apology (2019), as well as toxic masculinity; negotiating trauma; the ways that the victim-perpetrator narrative is constructed (and re-constructed), and how we practice the apology:

We don’t often know what an apology is. I wanted to explore and find out what the words were that I needed to hear. What did I need to experience in order to release? What would it look and sound like? What would its textures be? What were the stories I needed to hear? I was looking for what catalyzes the alchemy of an apology.

The Alchemy of an Apology: Eve Ensler Interviewed by Raluca Albu, BOMB, June 13, 2019

The interview is a visceral experience, and provides a deep understanding of the complexities of violence, trauma, and its aftermath.

For more on The Apology, visit the full interview by Raluca Albu, and/or read an excerpt from the novel at LitHub, here.

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Reading: Lebanon’s militarized masculinity, by Joey Ayoub

One for Week 5 (or Week 2), Joey Ayoub’s Lebanon’s militarized masculinity provides a comprehensive and insightful reflection on masculinities, gender, and sexuality in Lebanon.

Through the piece, Ayoub considers the ways that masculinity has unfolded since the Lebanese Civil War, as well as the questions that surround the study of Lebanese masculinity, including:

Does ‘Lebanese’ include only those lucky enough to get the difficult-to-obtain citizenship, itself often a sectarian calculation? Do studies exclude, for example, Syrian and Palestinian refugee men who have been in Lebanon for several years? What about those who are half-Lebanese, half-Palestinian, or those who have a non-Lebanese father and a Lebanese mother, and therefore don’t have the citizenship? Does the topic pre-suppose a cis and heterosexual subject? 

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Working as both a primer for the nuances of post-war society and a profound consideration of race, LGBTQ+ rights, socio-economic issues, gender equality, and the Kafala (sponsorship) system, the article also offers paths to research the topic further, via the works of Fatima Sbaity Kassem, Najib Hourani, and Sune Haugbolle.

For more pieces by Ayoub, follow his blog, Hummus for Thought, here.

Gender and Drone Warfare

One for the bookshelf, Gender and Drone Warfare: A Hauntological Perspective by Lindsay C. Clark (2019), draws on interviews with British reaper drone crews to gauge how killing with drones complicates how we understand masculinity and femininity during wars.

In particular, her work considers how,

As their role does not include physical risk, drone crews have been critiqued for failing to meet the masculine requirements necessary to be considered ‘warriors’ and have been derided for feminising war. However, this book argues that drone warfare, and the experiences of the crews, exceeds the traditional masculine/feminine binary and suggests a new approach to explore this issue.

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For more on gender and drone warfare, Martine Heijthuyzen’s ‘Gendering Drone Warfare‘ provides a quick read at the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP), and Cerelia Athanassiou’s 2012 article, ”Gutsy’ Decisions and Passive Processes: The Warrior Decision-Maker after the Global War on Terror’ looks at the context of masculinity and the re-emergence of the GWOT ‘war machine’.