Off Limits: The Cults of the Body and Social Homogeneity as Discoursive Weapons Targeting Gender Integration in the Military

TitleOff Limits: The Cults of the Body and Social Homogeneity as Discoursive Weapons Targeting Gender Integration in the Military
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCarreiras, Helena, and Gerhard Kümmel
EditorCarreiras, Helena, and Gerhard Kümmel
Book TitleWomen in the Military and in Armed Conflict
PublisherVS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften

The history of including women in the armed forces and also in para-military groups is a quite long one (cf., e.g., the contributions in DeGroot/Peniston-Bird 2000). Whether as camp followers, nurses, revolutionaries, spies, soldiers in disguise or as regular female soldiers and as supreme commanders, women have engaged in a multitude of classifications and trades and continue to do so (Wheelwright 1989; Jones 1997; Seidler 1998; Blythe 2001). In addition to these roles, women have been subject to military activities as non-combatants; they have been taken as hostages and trophies, they have been killed, they have been wounded and they have been tortured, raped and utilized for prostitution (cf. Enloe 1989; Albrecht-Heide/Bujewski-Crawford 1991; Pollock Sturdevant/Stoltzfus 1993; Stiglmayer 1994; Hicks 1994; Allen 1996; Skjelsbaek 2001). Thus, women are enmeshed in the military and its activities in a huge variety of ways. Yet, our focus here is the integration of females into the armed forces, an area in which, in recent decades, notable developments have occurred. Indeed, in the course of time, women have remarkably extended their military roles to even include combat thereby challenging the common view of the armed forces as a male domain and the male-warrior paradigm (Dunivin 1994). This process of ‘normalization’ of female participation in the military can be attributed to a mixture of different factors, among them in a first approach: women have been granted access to the military in times of a military emergency, i.e., in times of war; they have been recruited when there was a shortage of military personnel; and they themselves have forcefully demanded their inclusion in the process of women’s emancipation.

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