Les femmes américaines et la guerre du Vietnam : mise en place et utilisation d’un processus de mimétisme American Women, the Vietnam War and Mimetism: Constructing and Developing an Unconscious Imitation of the Soldier
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
DOAJ:Philosophy and Religion
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AbstractBy and large, women have been maintained at a “reasonable” distance from the war. Their historic identity has mainly been that of mother, and therefore that of those who do not make war. They are not to belong to this sphere; it is to remain masculine, a men’s world. The Vietnam War (1964-1973) is no exception to the rule. This characteristic may be even more visible in the context of Vietnam given the power granted to authenticity: “having been there” has been essential. However, it seems that, just as Vietnam was a confused war, the border between genders has been sometimes blurred as well. We have thus found that some women have constructed and developed a strange process, a(n) (unconscious) strategy, in order to enter the world of war while not “having been there” really, while not knowing physically what war is and was. If “Vietnam is the land of [their] imagination”, as Barbara Sonneborn put it (Regret to inform, 1999), mimetism has allowed them to fill out the blanks, to uncover and discover their man’s reality, to “see what it was he saw […] to be in the field with him”, says Gail Gilberg (Snake’s Daugher, 1997). I will therefore expose and study this phenomenon that appears in various women’s stories, written or told, by themselves or others, through their own narrative styles and speeches. In doing so, I intend to examine 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), it seems interesting to examine to what extent this strategy allows the American women to find their place in the story of the Vietnam war, in a very specific way.