Butterflies in Combat Boots

Can't you just see it: an eight-foot tall sculpture of a lovely young woman with softly curling hair, dressed in a long flowing skirt patterned with lilies and roses. On her feet are combat boots. That's right: combat boots. She represents the new woman, delicate and fierce at the same time. She fulfills men's fantasies of allure and women's desire for power. She is Eve, the Mother of mankind, the Mesopotamian black-skinned progenitor of all human life on earth, not Eve the Judeo-Christian evil, selfish, seductive, meant-to-be-subdued apple-eater patriarchal fairytale chip-off-the-rib concoction of the book of Genesis.

How did she recently come to light? A gallery owner wanted a show of women's work. He asked for "things that really get men uncomfortable and that get women really delighted in revealing their true aspects".

Are we butterflies, delicate and flitting without ever settling on anything? Keep in mind that those butterflies also gave rise to the Law of Unintended Consequences, so that flapping their fragile wings in Shanghai could cause a tsunami in Rotterdam. Remember too that combat boots were designed to be worn during actual military operations, not as ceremonial or parade accessories. The foot soldiers of the ancient Assyrians, according to Wikipedia, are said to have been the first military men to be issued boots, while Roman foot soldiers wore hobnail boots, called caligae. Today in the United Kingdom they are called Combat Assault Boots.

Do women want to be assaultive? Will that truly make men "uncomfortable" and females "delighted"?

Maybe we will need to be assaultive, if a new book called "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls", by Mara Hvistendahl, is correct. Hvistendahl reminds us that due to the increased use of ultrasound technology in China and India, parents have been aborting girls and keeping boys. The practice is so wide-spread that it is estimated as many as 160 million girls have been lost in Asia this way. "The result", she tells us, " is a future for many parts of the world, from India to China, Azerbaijan to Albania, where brides are much more likely to be bought, women are much more likely to be trafficked, men are much more likely to be frustrated". "Unnatural Selection" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Its Amazon review reminds us that, historically, as the world becomes more male, instability and violent conflict result.

In another take on war, Mary L. Dudziak has written a new book called "War Time: An Idea, Its HIstory, Its Consequences" in which she calls war a permanent condition, one that Americans now accept as normal. The boundaries between peace and war, according to her, have been erased into a state of permanent conflict. That acceptance of conflict as a standard appears to have extended into a conflict between men and women as well.

Is it time for women to protest, before it's too late, before even the combat boots can help?

In a song called "Unnatural Selection", Matt Bellamy writes "we're not droplets in the ocean. We're the ocean." Bellamy goes on to say: "I am hungry for some unrest, I want to push this beyond a peaceful protest. I wanna speak in a language that they'll understand."

So here's my proposed prospective for a show at the unnamed gallery:

Butterflies in Combat Boots

In my place? In your face!

No more nice. Blades on ice.

You set the table. I'm on cable.

You burp the kid. I'm all id.

Scrub floors? Up yours.

Twosome? Threesome? How about FEARSOME.

Trash the flowers. We want powers.

It's showtime. Go time. Second to the XY's absolutely NO time.

Women want it all.

We're ready to brawl.

Call us Butterflies in Combat Boots.

What do you think? Is this a language they'll understand? Is this a language we're prepared to speak? Would you go to this show?

c. Corinne Whitaker 2012