Masculinity, Whiteness, and the Warrior Hero: Perpetuating the Strategic Rhetoric of U.S. Nationalism and the Marginalization of Women


Prividera, Laura C., and John W. Howard III. 2006. "Masculinity, Whiteness, and the Warrior Hero: Perpetuating the Strategic Rhetoric of U.S. Nationalism and the Marginalization of Women." Women and Language 29 (2).

Authors: Laura C. Prividera, John W. Howard III


In this research we employed gender archetypes and critical whiteness studies to examine the interconnectedness of gender, race, and nationalism in U.S. media coverage of the 507th Ordinance Maintenance Company during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Our theoretical frame illustrates how the national ideology sanctions specific constructions of gender and race both in and out of the military. The nationally-preferred archetypal constructions (in particular the "warrior hero" archetype) framed media representations of Jessica Lynch, Lori Piestewa, and Shoshona Johnson. Our feminist rhetorical analysis reveals how the media portrayal of the soldiers of the 507th simultaneously privileges whiteness and marginalizes femininity through its extensive focus on Private Jessica Lynch. In addition, this study demonstrates how the overarching national ideology creates a complex social hierarchy of gender and race relative to the ideal (archetypal) national representative.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Race Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2006

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