It’s been a while since this webpage was graced with the words of wisdom from ‘Iffiayah Wazza-Lefte’.
But she’s never far away when social justice is at stake and she’s back in the wake of the Australian Defence Medal kerfuffle, ready to defend progress.
Below our favourite progressive, secular (but Islamic), empowered and LGBT-friendly warrioress gives her take on this situation.
Whenever Bernard writes, a little piece inside me dies. Usually I ignore it and keep on keeping on, albeit wounded and hurting.
But this time I had to respond.
First up, I don’t know why there is any fuss about the Australian Defence Medal. It’s just a medal.
Secondly, this entire situation has been concocted anyway. Not a single word has been changed in the criteria used to award this medal.
Not. A. Single. Word.
Thirdly, the reason some females get the medal after two years is because that is what they sign up to do. Good on them. We need more women in Defence because it has been proven that females increase capability.
Men don’t get the medal after two years because they sign up to serve four years. It is simply nonsensical for men to complain about this when they voluntarily scribbled on that bottom line agreeing to their longer enlistment period.
They are getting exactly what they deserve and are entitled to. If men don’t like it they should take it up with their union rather than seeking to impose their male privilege on others who have for too long been subjugated.
Fourthly, women are clearly better Defence members.
That is why it was completely truthful for the Australian Defence Force to tell the Daily Telegraph that enlistment periods are linked to the time it takes to ensure that a member is proficient in their role.
Data from the Women in Defence 2016/17 Annual Report shows that across all three services women performed better on operations than men. In the Navy, the percentage of women who received honours and awards for operational performance was slightly higher than men. However, the percentage of females in the Army and Royal Australian Air Force who were recognised for operational performance was significantly higher.
Women were 53% more likely to receive an award in the Army and 57% more likely in the Royal Australian Air Force.
As these awards are clearly given to the best performers, it is a proof that females do actually achieve to a far higher standard than men.
And fifthly. Don’t even get me started on fifthly. But this is the most important point of all.
Medals are symbols of male oppression and dominance. They represent the domain of men: violence.
There is not a single war that has been fought by armies that were predominantly female or led by women (discounting the feud between the cast of Sex and the City and we all know that Sarah Jessica Parker was just being a Royal B anyway).
And every single war is a testament to the inability of men to find a peaceful solution to the challenges they faced. Medals just glorify and normalise the violence that resulted from this hyper-masculine incompetence.
So we need to start a debate about abolishing them altogether.
This is the real discussion that we need to have, rather than this chauvinistic huff and puff about the Australian Defence Medal.
True achievements such as the securing of peace agreements and international cooperation treaties are the events that should be recognised. And as these achievements are more in tune with female attributes they should be recognised with symbols that are overtly feminine.
Instead of clamouring for the Australian Defence Medal to recognise a period of service, we should be striving for a military that honours those who have completed a number of theoretical courses in equality and human rights.
The Australian Defence Medal should be replaced with Human Rights Leadership Bangle.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Victoria Cross was replaced with an award that similarly esteemed peace.
Imagine if instead of learning about how Simpson won his Victoria Cross at Gallipoli for being a super-sniper, children learnt that he instead received his Golden Peace Brooch for entering into a dialogue with the Turks that resulted in a peaceful withdrawal and a permanent standing apology for invading their non-violent nation.
This is the kind of world that we can achieve and should aspire to. But we won’t get there until military medals and the male imperialism they embody are deemed to be nothing more than relics of a dark age.