MALE CONSTRUCTIONS AND RESISTANCE TO WOMEN IN THE MILITARY

  • Nyameka Mankayi

Abstract

Given that a masculinised institution like the military presents anexaggerated picture of hegemonic masculinities, and particularly emphasisingphysical fitness as one of the multiple ways in achieving masculinity, this paperprovides an overview of how men in the military construct women’s role in themilitary. This information is useful in understanding the gender power relations thatmake it difficult for most women in the military. The paper is based on a qualitativestudy of a diverse group of 24-33 year old male soldiers. Participants’ storiesreflected how notions of the strong body, particularly in the military context, whichvalues toughness, contributes to masculinity. They further see women’s expressionof sexuality and their participation in command or combat roles as having direconsequences in terms of corrupting or weakening military deployment. This paperconcludes that tackling traditional forms of male sexuality as they get played out inthe military context involves the examination of dominant constructions ofmasculinity, and in particular discourses prescribing traditional sexual practices.
Published
2011-08-08
How to Cite
Mankayi, N. (2011). MALE CONSTRUCTIONS AND RESISTANCE TO WOMEN IN THE MILITARY. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 34(2). https://doi.org/10.5787/34-2-23
Section
Articles