The decision to abort the mission was based on practical considerations, says the group.
In April, hundreds of girls were abducted from a Nigerian village by Boko Haram, the terror organization that wants to institute a strict Islamic fundamentalism in which women are the chattel of men.
Darlene Levy, known by the nom de guerre “Commandante Cleo,” is the NYU gender studies professor who called the act “a real attack on women” that makes describing the Hobby Lobby contraception case a “war against women” seem like a joke.
Levy recruited scores of women to join her in forming a commando unit to carry out the rescue mission. The feminist militants underwent rigorous training in a secret location in New York’s Greenwich Village, and early last week they were airdropped into a clearing in the densely-forested region in northeast Nigeria where the girls are believed to be held.
Camped out a few miles from the Boko Haram compound, the feminists were reviewing their attack plans when they came across a magazine advertisement featuring a scantily-clad Charlize Theron posing next to an oversized bottle of Christian Dior perfume.
The women acted quickly, cancelling the rescue mission and catching last-minute flights to return to their university posts in North America and Europe. Within hours, they were collaborating on academic essays critiquing the ad.
“This ad is the perfect example of how women are constantly sexualized and objectified by the media, in even in ads that are aimed at women themselves,” said one grad student from Toronto who had been trained in clearing mines. “The model’s exaggerated cleavage and digitally-enhanced face creates an unrealistic standard of beauty, one than causes real pain and suffering for women.”
Commandante Cleo agreed that while it is important to give some consideration to females who are probably being caged like dogs — when they are not being forced to cook and clean for their male captors — it is vital to take a practical, long-term approach to helping all women.
“We must intensify our search for the semiotic loci of violent objectification of women, and to explore how these intersect with modes of hypermasculinity and heteronormativity in neoliberal global economies,” she said, removing her camouflage face paint.
“I just hope those Nigerian girls aren’t being raped all the time,” she added. “Maybe someone can lobby the UN or something to, you know, do something.”
Some commentators erroneously saw the rescue mission as the birth of a fourth wave of feminism in which theory would be replaced by direct action.
“Enough with the lengthy dissertations and conferences and sanctimonious bumper stickers and endless performances of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’” wrote one prominent feminist blogger who joined the mission as a sniper. “We’re going to Nigeria to save our sisters, and to teach those misogynist fuckers a thing or two.”
“On second thought, it’s better to stay at home and dismantle the system of patriarchy through my blog, which is read by a great number of people,” she wrote upon returning to the U.S.
A contingent of British feminist militants who were preparing an attack on the Taliban in northwest Pakistan have also called off their plans, citing a pressing need to criticize Prime Minister David Cameron who again sparked a storm of controversy when he used the words “my dear” to address a female member of parliament.