Forging Patriarch-Soldiers: Women and the Racial Inflections of Patriarchy in the Construction of Manly Honor in Cuba, 1895–98
In light of the seemingly radical implications of meritocratic visions of military service, this paper examines the racially-distinctive outcomes of insurgent claims on patriarchy, focusing on examples of family economy, fatherhood, and extra-marital sex. I argue that the conflation of women’s sexual morality with whiteness substantially undercut the equalizing principles of military merit, rendering white men’s claims on patriarchy more successful in status negotiations than those of black men. While white men benefited from the social valuation of white womanhood, which rendered their claims on patriarchy more legitimate in the eyes of their compatriots, black men struggled to validate their status as soldier-patriarchs due in part to the devaluation of black femininity. By employing an intersectional feminist perspective, this study underscores the centrality of gendered power relations to the construction and perpetuation of racial hierarchy.
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