Gender and State Militaries

Authored by: Melissa T. Brown

The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Security

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138696211
eBook ISBN: 9781315525099
Adobe ISBN:


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Across cultures and time periods, military service has been tied to masculinity and the transformation of boys into men. The masculinity produced by militaries is often presumed to take one specific form – that of the hard, aggressive warrior. However, military institutions reproduce and reinforce multiple forms of both masculinity and femininity. Militaries have depended on both men and women filling gendered roles. This chapter explores how conscription, recruitment, training, and the motivation of soldiers to fight all draw on and produce masculinity in various forms in order to induce the desired militarized performances from men, as well as how militaries have relied on women to play prescribed roles as camp followers, wives, prostitutes, nurses, and soldiers, subordinate to and supporting military men. It also addresses the ways in which the practice of warfare is informed by gender.

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