Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Militaries

Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles

Citation:

Trisko Darden, Jessica. 2015. "Assessing the Significance of Women in Combat Roles." International Journal: Canada’s Journal Of Global Policy Analysis 70 (3): 454-462. 

Author: Jessica Trisko Darden

Abstract:

What should we know about the roles of women in armed conflicts? I review the existing literature on women’s roles in regular and irregular conflicts to identify gaps in our understanding of the significance of female combatants. I draw on contemporary and historical cases of women’s combat participation across world regions and, in so doing, I challenge existing assumptions about the limits of women’s participation in armed conflict. Examining women as a group and expecting conflict to affect this group in predictable and easily identifiable ways only reinforces existing assumptions about women and war. To understand the range of motivations underlying women’s decisions to fight or to not fight, we should give greater attention to opportunity structures and other social conditions rather than simply assuming that women have different incentives than men.

Keywords: gender, combat, conflict, militaries, security, war, women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security

Year: 2015

Death Does Not Become Her: An Examination of the Public Construction of Female American Soldiers as Liminal Figures

Citation:

Millar, Katharine M. 2015. "Death Does Not Become Her: An Examination of the Public Construction of Female American Soldiers as Liminal Figure." Review of International Studies 41 (04): 757-79. doi: 10.1017/s0260210514000424.

Author: Katharine M. Millar

Abstract:

Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, over 150 female American military personnel have been killed, over 70 following hostile fire. Given Western society’s long-standing practice of reserving the conduct of collective violence to men, these very public deaths are difficult to encompass within the normative and ideological structures of the contemporary American political system. This study examines the ways in which the public duty to commemorate the heroism of soldiers – and the private desire to accurately remember daughters and wives – poses a significant challenge to coherent discursive representation. In doing so, the study employs hermeneutical interpretation to analyse public representations of female soldiers and their relation to death in US popular culture. These representations are examined via Judith Butler’s concept of grievability – the possibility of receiving recognition as a worthy life within the existing social imaginary. It is argued that female soldiers are grievable as both ‘good soldiers’ and ‘good women’, but not as ‘good female soldiers’. The unified subject position of ‘good female soldier’ is liminal, and thus rendered socially and politically unintelligible. The article concludes with an analysis of the implications of this liminality for collective mourning and the possibility of closure after trauma.

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism Regions: MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2015

The "Double-Battle": Women Combatants and Their Embodied Experiences in War Zone

Citation:

Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. 2016. “The "Double-Battle": Women Combatants and Their Embodied Experiences in War Zones.” Critical Studies on Terrorism 9 (2): 312–33. doi:10.1080/17539153.2016.1178484.
 

Authors: Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Shir Daphna-Tekoah

Abstract:

This study contributes to the ongoing debate about women in combat by exploring women combatants’ experiences of war through interviews with women soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces who served as combatants or in combat-support roles in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The authors proffer that the bodily experiences of women combatants disturb conventional international relations and hegemonic masculine war metanarratives that either abstract or glorify combat. These otherwise silenced narratives reveal juxtapositions of feelings of competence and vulnerability and shed light on the women’s struggle for gender integration in the military. The authors conclude the article with a reflection on the challenges facing researchers investigating war and terrorism.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2016

Gendering the Palestinian Political Cartoon

Citation:

Yaqub, Nadia. 2009. “Gendering the Palestinian Political Cartoon.” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 2 (2): 187–213.

Author: Nadia Yaqub

Abstract:

This paper examines the representation of the distribution of agency and responsibility across gender roles in Palestinian political cartoons. Cartoons are read to discover the nature of family dynamics, the relationship between the home and what lies outside it, and public and private sources of culture and Palestinian identity. Included are the work of Naji al-Ali whose widely- read cartoons appeared in Arabic language newspapers from the 1960’s until his assassination in 1987, and that of six contemporary cartoonists: Baha Boukhari, Khalil Abu Arafeh, Omayya Joha, Muhammed Sabaaneh, Naser al-Jafari, and Emad Hajjaj. In al-Ali’s cartoons, Palestinian men and their families are deeply affected by the pressures of dispossession, violence, and exploitation by elites. However, because the disruption affects mainly the public sphere of military action, politics, and wage labor, it is men who are most negatively affected by those pressures. They are often at a loss as to how to respond, and do not always make wise choices. On the other hand, al-Ali locates the idea of Palestine squarely in the private sphere, in women’s roles in biological and social reproduction. Because this idea is intact, women are able to perform their roles even in states of extreme violence and dispossession. The cartoons of later artists differ in that masculinity is divorced from military action, and although politics is largely ineffectual, men are endowed with agency in the public sphere. Women in the later cartoons continue to be defined chiefly, though not exclusively, by the domestic sphere, but Palestinian motherhood is in crisis and women in grave danger in many of these cartoons, a reflection of the crisis of the idea of Palestine as a whole and sound homeland.

Keywords: Palestinian, political cartoons, gender, representation, masculinity, Naji al-Ali

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2009

Unmanned? Gender Recalibrations and the Rise of Drone Warfare

Citation:

Bayard de Volo, Lorraine. 2016. “Unmanned? Gender Recalibrations and the Rise of Drone Warfare.” Politics & Gender 12 (01): 50–77. doi:10.1017/S1743923X15000252.

Author: Lorraine Bayard de Volo

Abstract:

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—drones—are increasingly prominent in U.S. military strategy (Shaw and Akhter 2012). The U.S. Air Force (USAF) trains more UAV pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined (Parsons 2012). A 2011 Defense Department analysis predicted “a force made up almost entirely of [UAVs] by the middle of this century” (U.S. Department of Defense 2011). Some argue that drones and other robotics so alter the character and conduct of military operations as to constitute a revolution in military affairs (RMA) (Singer 2009).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender Analysis, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2016

The Military as a Split Labor Market: The Case of Women and Religious Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces

Citation:

Levy, Yagil. 2013. “The Military as a Split Labor Market: The Case of Women and Religious Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 26 (4): 393–414. doi:10.1007/s10767-013-9146-7.

Author: Yagil Levy

Abstract:

A conflict between religious male soldiers and secular female soldiers has emerged since the 2000s within the Israel Defense Forces. This clash has gradually taken the form of religious rhetoric, articulated by rabbis and other religious activists, that has moved from refraining from publicly questioning the fitness of women as combatants to discourse that gradually delegitimized women’s service. Based on the theoretical theme of the split labor market, I will argue that there is a link between the extent to which the growing introduction of women into field units threatens to devalue the religious youth’s symbolic rewards and the escalation in anti-feminist rhetoric, whose ultimate goal is to exclude women from the military.

Keywords: diversity management, gender exclusion, military service, split labor market

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Religion Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2013

A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences

Citation:

Taber, Nancy. 2013. “A Composite Life History of a Mother in the Military: Storying Gendered Experiences.” Women’s Studies International Forum 37 (March): 16–25. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.01.007.

Abstract:

In this article, I discuss a research project exploring the experiences of military mothers. First, I examine literature that investigates the organizational context of women and mothers in western militaries. Second, I relate my approach to life history methodology and the ways in which I story the experiences of my participants. Third, I present a composite narrative re-presenting the important events and themes in the stories my participants told of their lives. Fourth, I discuss my narrative analysis of the composite story and its implications as relates to literature about military women. I conclude that the composite story demonstrates the interconnections between motherhood and military membership. The composite story is a compelling example of how, despite societal gains and occasional exceptions, women continue to experience being pushed back towards traditional roles. Additionally, in order to understand the complexities of participant lives, it is important to recount as much of their narratives as is possible.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Livelihoods, Militarized livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries

Year: 2013

Gender, Dissenting Subjectivity and the Contemporary Military Peace Movement in Body of War

Citation:

Tidy, Joanna. 2015. “Gender, Dissenting Subjectivity and the Contemporary Military Peace Movement in Body of War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (3): 454–72. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.967128.

Author: Joanna Tidy

Abstract:

This article considers the gendered dynamics of the contemporary military peace movement in the United States, interrogating the way in which masculine privilege produces hierarchies within experiences, truth claims and dissenting subjecthoods. The analysis focuses on a text of the movement, the 2007 documentary film Body of War, which portrays the antiwar activism of paralyzed Iraq veteran Tomas Young, his mother Cathy and wife Brie. Conceptualizing the military peace movement as a potentially counter-performative reiteration of military masculinity, drawing on Butler's account of gender, subjectivity formation and contestation, and on Derrida's notion of spectrality (the disruptive productivity of the “present absence”), the article makes visible ways in which men and women who comprise the military peace movement perform their dissent as gendered subjects. Claims to dissenting subjecthood are unevenly accorded within the productive duality that constitutes the military peace movement, along gendered lines that can reproduce the privileges and subordinations that underpin militarism.

Keywords: dissent, performativity, Body of War, masculinity, injured veterans

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Nonviolence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2015

Making Feminist Sense out of "Charlie Wilson’s War"

Citation:

Larson, Janet. 2015. “Making Feminist Sense out of ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (1): 77–99. doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.835527.

Author: Janet Larson

Abstract:

Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Mike Nichols's film about the womanizing Congressman who engineered black funds for the CIA's proxy war in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, is historically misleading but highly instructive, because in packaging dominant American masculine identity and war politics as popular entertainment for post-9/11 audiences, it reveals the sexed and gendered ‘politics of the visual’ in global affairs. This intertextual study of ‘Charlie Wilson's war’ as movie, constructed history and legacy examines Wilson as a prime exhibit of a needy masculinity that, like the film's emasculated CIA, bulks itself up through surrogate military selves. It also analyses modes of the imaginary and specularity in brother-bonding with the mujahidin, tracks the proxy system's loops of masculine identity-and-war-making between Stateside and South Asia in the post-Vietnam 1980s and interrogates the dynamics of imperial ‘un-seeing’ in this campaign and its long aftermath. While US proxy wars proliferate worldwide, the lack of useable political memory about the ground truths of ‘Charlie's war’ continues to matter because America's second ‘good’ war in Afghanistan, bound to the first by gendered causal links, has re-empowered the forces that still menace women's rights and lives.

Keywords: Afghanistan, amnesia, bonding, Charlie Wilson, CIA, Cold War, film, image, imagination, imperial, intertext, masculinity, perform, proxy, Russians, visual, mujahidin

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Rights, Women's Rights, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, United States of America

Year: 2015

Gendering a Warbot: Gender, Sex and the Implications for the Future of War

Citation:

Roff, Heather M. 2016. “Gendering a Warbot: Gender, Sex and the Implications for the Future of War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (1): 1–18. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1094246.

Author: Heather M. Roff

Abstract:

Recently, the United States Defense Advanced Project Agency (DARPA) hosted its “Robotics Challenge.” The explicit goal of this challenge is to develop robots capable of “executing complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human engineered environments.” However, the competitors’ choice to build humanoid robots tells a different narrative. In particular, through the physical design choices, the giving of names and the tasking of roles, the competing teams perpetuated a gendered narrative. This narrative in turn reifies gendered norms of warfighting, and ultimately leads to an accretion of gendered practices in militaries, politics and society, despite contemporary attempts at minimizing these practices through policies of inclusion. I argue that though much work on gender and technology exists, the autonomous humanoid robot – the one currently sought by DARPA – is something entirely new, and must be addressed on its own terms. In particular, this machine exceeds even Haraway's conception of the post-human cyborg, and rather than emancipating human beings from gender hierarchy, further reifies its practices. Masculine humanoid robots will be deemed ideal warfighters, while feminine humanoid robots will be tasked with research or humanitarian efforts, thereby reinstituting gendered roles.

Keywords: robotics, DARPA, gender, autonomous weapons, masculinity

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2016

Pages

© 2019 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.

Subscribe to RSS - Militaries