The Female Combat Soldier

TitleThe Female Combat Soldier
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKing, Anthony
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Date Published03/2016

As a result of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, women have increasingly served on the front line, performing combat roles once reserved exclusively for men. This article explores the ways in which Western military culture may have both impeded and facilitated female accession. In line with the feminist concept of hegemonic masculinity, the article explores how female soldiers are often subjected to an institutionalized cultural code that defines them as ‘sluts’ or ‘bitches’, denying them equality and recognition, irrespective of their behaviour. At the same time, some highly competent women have begun to be accepted and a new cultural classification has been developed for them: they are ‘honorary men’. This new status represents an important development for the armed forces and an opportunity for women. Yet, the category is so narrow that it is very difficult for women to maintain it.

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