War as Masculine Action

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 4:10 PM
Maryland Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Eugenia C. Kiesling, United States Military Academy
Efforts to find historical evidence of female participation in combat notwithstanding, most
military historians acknowledge—and some even gloat—that men have almost completely
monopolized the fighting of war. Policy-oriented studies have sought to assess the relative
capabilities of men and women to function in combat; gender historians have observed that
certain images of masculinity—and the deprecation of the feminine—serve a role in mobilizing
men to fight, but the essential importance of gender distinctions in military service remains
inadequately examined. War survives as a human behavior in part through the connection
between combat and manhood, but the exclusion of women from war-fighting is an over-looked
part of the story. I plan to examine the asymmetry between manhood and womanhood in war
both for its significance in the history of war and its importance in crafting policy for the gender-
integrated armed forces of the future.
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