Wives and Warriors: Women and the Military in the United States and Canada

Wives and Warriors: Women and the Military in the United States and Canada

Wives and Warriors: Women and the Military in the United States and Canada

Wives and Warriors: Women and the Military in the United States and Canada

Synopsis

This book is about the women who serve the military as wives and those who serve as soldiers, sailors, and flyers. Comparing wives and warriors in the U.S. and Canada, it examines how the military in both countries constructs gender to exclude women from being respected as equals to men. Written by a wide range of scholars and military personnel, the book covers such contemporary issues as the opening of military academies to women, the opening of combat posts to women, the experience of being a wife in the two-person career of an officer-husband, sexual harassment, turnover of women in the armed services, and U.S. and Canadian policies allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military. Part of an emerging feminist scholarship in military studies, this work also explores how gender has been constructed to maintain the status quo and women's narrowly defined roles as the dependent helpmates of men.

Excerpt

As we move toward a new century, militaries are becoming the objects of a wider spectrum of sophisticated attention. Among the holders of the new analytical binoculars are domestic violence researchers, students of sexuality, historians of masculinized state formation, and human rights researchers/activists. That is, those who want to be up-to-date on the latest thinking about the world's militaries today no longer can confine themselves to reading the conventional national security literature.

The original research chapters collected here by Laurie Weinstein and Christie White make clear that the military as an institution is a much more contested site than often has been assumed. In fact, one begins to put mental quotation marks around the military. As one reads these chapters, one begins to think of any military as a "military." That is, these authors reveal that, while senior policymakers certainly do try mightily to portray a state's military as internally cohesive and coherent, in practice it is an institution typically riven with barely suppressed conflict, contradictions, and outright confusions. True, the turf rivalries among the Air Force, Navy, and Army are not news. Nor are the frequent differences among certain generals and certain civilian cabinet officials. But the analyses that follow here demonstrate persuasively that these commonly discussed intramilitary dynamics are only the tip of an iceberg of institutional contestation. Moreover, the iceberg is gendered.

Scholars who have become convinced of the analytical value of a feminist research approach--as have editorsLaurie Weinstein andChristie White and their contributors--have learned that any institution, no matter how solidly masculinized its public facade, is not fully comprehensible unless its relationships to women are exposed. The women taken seriously here are . . .

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