The Myth of the Macho Military


Titunik, Regina F. 2008. “The Myth of the Macho Military.” Polity 40 (2): 137-63.

Author: Regina F. Titunik


The public debate about the incorporation of women in the U. S. Armed Forces has primarily included feminist-inspired critics, who denounce the hostility toward women they perceive is promoted in the military s masculinist culture, and, alternatively, opponents of the greater inclusion of women in the military, who valorize the exclusivist masculine qualities that many feminists criticize. Although these ideological adversaries differ in their estimation of military culture, they both share -- and have reciprocally reinforced -- a view of the military as steeped in the traditions and practices of aggressive masculinity. This article shows that the prevailing view of the military as hyper-masculine is misguided. Not unhindered aggressiveness, but camaraderie, discipline, and service are the qualities instilled in soldiers. These qualities foster military effectiveness and counterbalance sexist tendencies producing a complex institutional culture congenial to women in significant respects.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2008

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