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WOMEN IN THE CROSSHAIRS (english)
by Workers World
Email: boston (nospam) workers.org
30 Jul 2003
WOMEN IN THE CROSSHAIRS
By Leslie Feinberg
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 31, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper
WOMEN IN THE CROSSHAIRS
By Leslie Feinberg
Does anyone think it's hyperbole to demand an end to the war on the
domestic front? News about hunting women in Nevada ought to clear up
Men with $10,000 can track down naked women, who are allowed to wear
only sneakers, in undisclosed locations in southern Nevada. They use
paintball rifles that fire projectiles at an estimated 200 miles an hour and draw blood.
Feminist groups and their supporters, enraged by these degrading and
violent hunts, are exerting pressure on local and federal government
agencies to shut down this anti-woman "sport," organized by Real Men
Outdoor Productions, Inc.
The media empire in the United States has helped Michael Burdick, the
founder of "HuntingForBambi.com," to create a tempest of publicity that has focused international attention on this burgeoning industry and its brutal entrepreneurial web site.
Susan Cooper, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center in Las Vegas, condemned the "hunts" as promoting violence against women. She stressed that only three states have a higher rate of violence against women than Nevada. (reviewjournal.com, July 17)
Jodi Tyson, director of the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence,
characterized it as "a human rights violation." And the group sent an
"action item" e-mail to mobilize its members statewide to send protests to elected officials and to Burdick.
Even Brass Eagle Inc., the world's largest paintball products
manufacturer, denounced the hunts, warning that the women run the danger of injury.
YOU CAN'T BUY PUBLICITY LIKE THIS
Much debate initially raged in the media as to whether this "game" was a hoax to market a $20 video of combat-dressed hunters chasing nude women in the woods. But after the storm of publicity, Burdick claims his business is booming. And this "game" is reportedly being offered at cut-rate prices in other parts of the world for those wealthy enough to afford it.
After KLAS-TV Eyewitness News of Las Vegas ran a feature story in mid-
July, interviews with Burdick and video clips from an actual "hunt" have appeared on major media features, including "The O'Reilly Factor" and MSNBC. Burdick was interviewed by ABC's Diane Sawyer and other journalists.
Major media reports have also given airtime to Marv Glovinsky, a
clinical psychologist who says a "game" that mixes violence with
sexuality can be dangerous for men who cannot distinguish fantasy from
reality. But they feature his assertion that "Hunting for Bambi is every man's fantasy come true."
The fury that women feel about this misogynistic crime has been paid lip service in some news reports.
But Burdick has been given ample time to promote his business under the guise of equal time for his woman-hating line.
He has aired his refusal to allow women to wear any protective gear at
all, although not all "hunters" followed the rule of not shooting any
woman above the chest. "The main goal is to be as true to nature as
possible. I don't go deer hunting and see a deer with a football helmet on so I don't want to see one on my girl either." (KLAS-TV, July 21)
The web site boasts: "Women are being hunted down like animals . ..."
After being shot with the projectiles, the woman is captured, demeaned
and "mounted" as prey on a wall. This is all videotaped. It is an aping of snuff films in which women actors are actually murdered.
In fact, the company website offers a video it says is actual footage of one of the women fleeing her stalkers and being killed by a semi-truck on the highway. The video is used to promote sale of the "game."
One of the women pictured being dragged by the hair by men in combat
fatigues is transsexual. Among the prominent women the owners "invite"
to take part in the hunt are Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell, an
African American and a lesbian woman, respectively.
It would do further injury to women to repeat the violently vulgar, anti-woman details so graphically spelled out on Burdick's company website.
It would be easy to label Burdick a chauvinist pig--but that would
insult an intelligent species. The truth is, Burdick is a capitalist.
CASUALTIES OF CLASS WARFARE
Many of the women exploited by this company have worked in the
euphemistically named adult entertainment business. They are driven to
try to earn $1,000 to $2,500 for what is portrayed as "sport."
This "woman-hunting" is part and parcel of the multi-billion-dollar sex-for-profit industry that often employs violence against women and other sex- and gender-oppressed people.
The Nevada "hunts" take place on private land owned by capital investors in the company. (reviewjournal.com)
They are an integral part of the ongoing war on women in this capitalist divide-and-conquer economic system.
None of the media coverage has dealt with the relationship between this Rambo mentality and the U.S. war to re-colonize Iraq. But the video clips of men in combat fatigues hunting down women follow closely on news footage of Pentagon troops bursting into Iraqi homes in the middle of the night, pointing their high-tech weapons at women in night clothes.
Spin doctors here hyped the wars against Yugoslavia and Afghanistan as
helping to "liberate" women in those countries. And Washington claims to be bringing human rights to the countries it aims to conquer--on the tips of bayonets.
But the reality of the class war is starkly clear. Rich men can don
military garb and hunt women for pleasure. Working-class and poor men--and women--are ordered to hunt down other working and oppressed people in an army of conquest that only profits the wealthy elite.
- END -
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