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How “World War 3” Memes Turned Into a Sexist Response to The Draft

by Georgia Dodd

On January 3rd, the United States executed a drone strike in Iraq, killing Qasem Soleimni, a top security and intelligence official for Iran. This act quickly escalated tensions between the United States and Iran and stoked fears of a military conflict. While many were concerned of a possible World War III that would re-enact the draft, others, in typical Gen Z fashion, made memes about the “impending” war.


The draft was used for almost every war America has been involved in since the Revolutionary War and it has always been met with sharp criticism. For example, during the Civil War there were riots that lasted a week in Lower Manhattan by working class men in reaction to draft requirements. There was also a lot of backlash when it came to the Vietnam War. Many people evaded the draft by escaping to nearby countries like Canada.

Conscription ended in 1973, after which the U.S. moved to a voluntary military system. However, the Selective Service Systems still remains in case of emergency. All male U.S. citizens and male immigrants from ages 18 to 25 have to register with Selective Service.

In recent years, the question of whether women should have to sign up for the draft has been a topic of many conversations. In 2015, more jobs were open to women in the military under the Obama Administration and lately women have been taking on more roles in the military. A Houston judge ruled in 2019 that having only men register for the draft is unconstitutional. However, at this point in time, women do not technically have to sign up for the draft.

In 2016, the Navy SEAL training was opened to women and in 2019, a woman completed the officer test to become a Navy SEAL. So, it shouldn’t be a question about whether women can physically be in the military. For years, Republicans have been blocking congressional efforts to allow women on the draft. Many representatives said they were keeping the interests of American children in mind and refuse to allow women on the battlefield because of antiquated beliefs.

With the recent possibility of a “World War 3”, many Gen Z and Millennial women are worried about being drafted:


A lot of sexist rhetoric has come out with the possibility of a draft. Memes about feminists claiming they want equality until they have to be apart of the draft have become very popular. They say things like “suddenly sexism is a great idea when it’s convenient for women to not die in a war”. “If you want equality so much you should be drafted”. This is the same idea that many misogynists have when confronted with feminism, “if you really want equality then you should be okay with me punching you in the face” or “now that we’re equal I can punch you in the face.” But why is this considered an appropriate response to someone asking for equality?

Many feminists view the draft in two ways: “Yes, we can fight just as well as men” or “no one should have to be drafted, it’s unethical”. Women are already in the army, and have excelled. They are fighting and dying on battlefields right now.

No one wants to be drafted. There should not be a draft to begin with. The future of the world should not be in the hands of old white men who decide if and when we go to war. Especially, as those old white men will likely not be on the battlefields themselves.



Header image courtesy of Israel Palacio via Unsplash.com


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