Citizenship Rites

Citizenship Rites: Feminist Soldiers and Feminist Antimilitarists

Ilene Rose Feinman
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Citizenship Rites
    Book Description:

    In the United States, the question of women in the armed services has been continuously and hotly debated. Among feminists, two fundamentally differing views of women in the military have developed. Feminist antimilitarists tell us that militarism and patriarchy have together pressed women into second class citizenship. Meanwhile, feminist soldiers and their advocates regard martial service as women's right and responsibility and the ticket to first class citizenship. Citizenship Rites investigates what is at stake for women in these debates. Exploring the perspectives of both feminist antimilitarists and feminist soldiers, Ilene Feinman situates the current combat controversy within the context of the sea change in United States politics since the 1970s-from ERA debates over drafting women to recent representations of military women such as the film GI Jane. Drawing on congressional testimony, court cases, feminist and antiracist political discourse, and antimilitarist activism, Feinman addresses our pressing need for an analysis of women's increasing inclusion in the armed forces while providing a provocative investigation of what this changing role means for women and society alike.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2901-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. 1-10)

    Two very different approaches to women in the military have developed from common roots in the second-wave women’s movements. While each is invested in women’s empowerment, and each uses the tools of the new discourses and policies of equal rights, their respective analyses of what that empowerment should look like are fundamentally different. Feminist antimilitarists oppose the military for its use of violent diplomacy, and associate that violence precisely with the military’s culture of virulent masculinism. Their analyses demonstrate that the social, political, and economic apparatuses shaping masculinist militarism depend on the oppression of women. Feminist antimilitarists use a variety...

  5. ONE Feminist Antimilitarism/Feminist Egalitarian Militarism
    (pp. 11-43)

    United States feminist antimilitarism’s core symbol and analysis has been reliant on a fundamental connection between patriarchy and war.¹ Antiwar signs during the Persian Gulf War were frequent iterations of the connection.² Feminist antimilitarist arguments to dismantle militarism, in which militarism is defined as the use of military force for diplomacy and the deep conditioning of the society to valorize military cultures, are securely wedded with arguments to dismantle patriarchy. Such arguments rest on the assumption that militarism and patriarchy are in effect and construction consanguine, and moreover, the antithesis to justice and peace.³ Feminist antimilitarists argue, alongside Enloe, that...

  6. TWO The Soldier in the State
    (pp. 44-86)

    In this chapter I consider women’s entry to the military as a process embedded in the development of postmodern late capitalism and effected by the transformative influences of social movement politics. In other words, I want to suggest that to understand women’s entry to the military and respond to it—from either anti- or pro-positions—we are much better able to do so by understanding the conditions of that entry. By contextualizing women’s entry to the military in these broad political and economic terms, I foreground and engage the intersections of class, racial, and sexual hierarchies in the United States...

  7. THREE Martial Service and Military (Masculine) Citizenship: The Challenge
    (pp. 87-110)

    In the filmStarship Troopers(1997) women and men experienced co-ed training, habitation, and showers. This thorough co-ed status was new in the movie compared with the book. Robert Heinlein made waves in the book by having women as naval officers and pilots. In the movie they were also ground combatants. Membership in the society, of the book and the movie, was two-tiered: civilians on the bottom and citizens on the top. You became a citizen if you served in the military. Citizens’ privileges included various kudos of social status, education, and the license to raise a child. As the...

  8. FOUR Legislating Equality: The Equal Rights Amendment, the Courts, and the All Volunteer Armed Forces
    (pp. 111-130)

    I turn now to a closer look at the broad-ranging debates linking women’s interests in women’s proper role in the forces¹ with the women’s liberation movement and its use of the ERA to showcase demands for women’s rights. The struggles over giving women “equal rights” presented a broad opportunity for changing the terms of women’s participation in the economy and culture. Resistance to those changes formed around a mixed bag of rights and responsibilities that not everyone wanted; the question of women in the forces raised deep internal conflict for women’s rights advocates, many of whom had cut their activist...

  9. FIVE Women’s Actions and Womanpause
    (pp. 131-152)

    The combined influence of the Binkin and Bach report, Department of Defense studies and hearings comparing women and men’s deployability rates, and pressure from organized egalitarian feminists effecting ERA mandates in the variety of ways outlined in the prior chapter all worked to impress upon President Carter the appropriateness of including women in the draft. Whether or not there was a priori knowledge that it would be a lost battle, this public move to include women in the draft was a nod to the mainstream egalitarian feminists, and in keeping with Defense Department think tanks’ research that indicated women were...

  10. SIX Mothers and Others for Peace Meet Women Soldiers
    (pp. 153-173)

    Feminist antimilitarism enacted a theory of and practice of opposition to masculinist militarism that was unable to account for women’s increased visibility in the forces of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In some sense, both the military and the antimilitarists were taken by surprise at how integral to the forces women had become by the late 1980s. While the Reagan administration created a build-up in armed force and provided an opening, albeit not fully visible to the public, for women to increase their presence and position in the forces, extensive, and highly visible, antinuclear and antimilitarist direct action formed...

  11. SEVEN Can Women Kill?
    (pp. 174-197)

    The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces convened in early 1992 to discuss the feasibility and propriety of women being allowed to fly combat missions, and, more generally, to assess their participation in the forces. As I discussed in the prior chapter, the Presidential Commission’s formation was a compromise and stall on the enforcement of Public Law 102-190, which allowed women to train and serve as fighter pilots. The empaneling of the commission occurred in March 1992, after the Persian Gulf War and the Hill-Thomas hearings, and spanned the sexual harassment investigations of the “Tailhook...

  12. EIGHT Citizenship Rites
    (pp. 198-212)

    This chapter synthesizes the issues that I have raised in thinking about feminist soldiers and feminist antimilitarists. I raise the unresolved questions and suggest what I think might be fruitful sites for additional work. I suggest ways that I think meanings and practices are currently evolving regarding women in the military and what that might mean for feminist soldiers and feminist antimilitarists. I discuss the technological changes and potential devaluing of foot soldiers, the film representations of women as soldiers, and raise questions and hopes for the present and future.

    In examining the several episodes of United States political history...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 213-242)
    (pp. 243-276)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 277-285)
    (pp. 286-286)