Arms And The Enlisted Woman

TitleArms And The Enlisted Woman
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsStiehm, Judith Hicks
Number of Pages331
PublisherTemple University Press

This book is about America's most unknown soldiers–enlisted women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Focusing on the decade from 1972 to 1982, Stiehm uses personal narratives, interviews, policy statements, and other material to explore the experience of American women in the military, as well as their reasons for enlisting, their roles, their self-image, and the way they are viewed by civilians.  Her analysis of the effects of change in military policy on women of different ranks and ages reveals how certain functional myths (e.g., 'war is manly') are challenged by the presence of women. The result has been an uneasy accommodation. "Arms and the Enlisted Woman" includes a vivid first-person account by a female veteran of one woman's experience in the Air Force as an airplane mechanic. Her mixed reaction to her military career epitomizes the difficulty with which enlisted women have been assimilated. Stiehm also analyzes the rapidly shifting military policies concerning women as well as the reasons for certain erroneous but persistent beliefs about them, and remarks, 'One thing seems to be certain. To the professional military the enlisted woman is a raw nerve'.

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