Saturday, July 17, 2021

Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller - short summary and overview

In Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller describes how rape is not about an act of lust and passion on the part of the man, but how it is really about a tool of power that men have always used to oppress women. She argues that the constant threat of rape oppresses women and thus benefits all men. 

In the book, Brownmiller highlights how women in war situations are systematically raped. Brownmiller believes that rape is often seen as an inevitable part of war and something that can not be prevented, but she opposes this view. Brownmiller describes the majority of rapes in e.g. World War II and the Vietnam War against women in detail. She highlights women's own experiences of the rapes they have been subjected to. 

Among other things, Brownmiller writes about how women in war are encouraged to submit to the soldiers so as not to be killed, but that they are still often killed after being raped. Many times, military brothels were set up for soldiers to keep their lusts under control, and Brownmiller believes that this dispels the myth of rape as an act of lust. 

Brownmiller writes about the Nanjing Massacre in which Japanese soldiers raped Chinese women. Brownmiller also devotes some of his text to slavery in the United States . She shows how black, female slaves had no right whatsoever to say to their owners when they raped them. During this time, it was not illegal to rape their slaves because they were seen as the property of the slave owners. The female slaves were also often used to give birth to a new generation of slaves for their owners.