Whores, Men, and Other Misfits: Undoing ‘feminization’ in the Armed Forces in the DRC

Citation:

Baaz, Maria Eriksson, and Maria Stern. 2011. “Whores, Men, and Other Misfits: Undoing ‘feminization’ in the Armed Forces in the DRC.” African Affairs 110 (441): 563–85. doi:10.1093/afraf/adr044.

 

Authors: Maria Eriksson Baaz, Maria Stern

Abstract:

The global attention focused on sexual violence in the DRC has not only contributed to an image of the Congolese army as a vestige of pre-modern barbarism, populated by rapists, and bearing no resemblance to the world of modern armies; it has also shaped gender and defence reform initiatives. These initiatives have become synonymous with combating sexual violence, reflecting an assumption that the gendered dynamics of the army are already known. Crucial questions such as the ‘feminization’ of the armed forces are consequently neglected. Based on in-depth interviews with soldiers in the Congolese armed forces, this article analyses the discursive strategies male soldiers employ in relation to the feminization of the army. In the light of the need to reform the military and military masculinities, the article discusses how globalized discourses and practices render the Congolese military a highly globalized sphere. It also highlights the particular and local ways in which military identities are produced through gender, and concludes that a simple inclusion of women in the armed forces in order to render men less violent might not have the pacifying effect intended.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militias Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2011

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.