Feminist Friday to cover gender and the draft


Feminist Friday speaker Danny Cook, senior in communication studies, led a group discussion titled “L’Ecricture Non-Binaire” on Oct. 18.

Loretta Mcgraw

This week’s Feminist Friday will bring a new topic to the table relating to the United States Military.

Each week, the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity hosts a discussion from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Sloss House. These events are open to all students, faculty and community members. Amy Rutenberg, assistant professor of history, will lead this week’s discussion, “Uncle Sam Wants Who? Women and the Draft.”

As an assistant professor of history, Rutenberg said she is watching history being made, which is why it is important to examine what led to the changes people see being shaped today when it comes to the draft. With a specialized focus on gender history, war and society, Rutenberg said she saw the controversy form into inequity in the draft following the Vietnam War.

Rutenberg is also a published author as of last month with her book “Rough Draft: Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance.”

As the title implies, her book is centered on the race and class inequities of the Selective Service System during the Vietnam War. It also focuses on masculinity in Cold War America and how it ended up influencing manpower policy, specifically who was drafted and who got deferments. Rutenberg said it is an unavoidable topic when talking to people about gender and the draft.

“With recent court cases saying that women should be obliged to register with the Selective Service and a congressionally appointed commission currently meeting to look at the question, it seems a timely topic,” Rutenberg said.

Taking the time to consider and gain an understanding of the historical basis for why women currently do not have to register for the draft and what it might mean if those regulations change is an important topic for many to understand, according to Rutenberg.