Guest Commentary by Noe Gyven-Tayke - I approach with trepidation the Women’s War Memorial sculpture in Washington, D.C. which depicts three uniformed women with a dying male soldier.
Will I be angry? Will I feel abhorrence? Will I regard it as just another monument to patriarchy?
I slowly walk toward the sculpture and see the noble women depicted. They are doing what all women have always done, and to no avail. They are trying to heal the destruction wrought by patriarchy.
And then I see the male. A 20-year-old injured and dying soldier, defiantly sprawled out, legs open as if flaunting his undeserved male privilege and organ of misogyny. I am filled with disgust and fall to the ground and vomit. I vomit not for me, but for all women.
Then I am ashamed, disgusted with myself, for feeling a fleeting moment of unintentional pity because the creature has been fatally wounded by – of course – another male, another beneficiary of patriarchy. The fatal shot came as the assailant and the dying male played their favorite sport of male bloodlust. Men have even given this sport a name to legitimize it: war. They play at war to become like women because war is the only way men can simulate menstruation.
I quickly assure myself that the creature deserves no pity, no compassion, no understanding. He has raped and mocked women all his life. He has used women’s bodies as his personal playground. He has viewed pornography of women forced to sell their bodies for men’s pleasure. He has snatched women’s dignity in jest.
Even though the particular male depicted in this statue did not do any of those things, he lies there dying vicariously for all males who have ever lived because he must answer for their hatred of women. It would have been far better if he had been aborted at the first sign of a penis on the sonogram.
The statue depicts an actual photograph taken in the Vietnam War. The male in the statue was a soldier named Matthew Tayke, and the scene depicts the moment of his death from combat injuries.
You see, I was his mother.
Don't panic -- it's a spoof. But spot on.