9/11, Gender, and Wars without End

Authored by: Anna Froula

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:


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The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 prompted a retaliatory response from the United States that has ushered in sweeping changes in the military and society at large. The open-ended invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq continue to necessitate changes to pre-existing gender norms in military culture. More recently, progressive calls for social change along with the United States’ ongoing conflicts have led to repealing laws that historically prevented the full inclusion of women and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) personnel in all branches of service, though not without appeals to militarist masculinity and social resistance. Military women and LGBT personnel continue to challenge conceptions of both military masculinity as the exclusive province of male soldiers and femininity as the realm of peace. The existence of women and LGBT soldiers in combat has historically been both defined and denied by discourses of sexuality, aggression, violence, and power within an institutional hierarchy that is based on and communicated through the abhorrence of the feminine. Their increasing presence in the armed forces invokes cultural anxieties about what it means for the U.S. military to rely on the expanding service of women, debates over women’s fitness for combat conditions, and social angst over the military’s dwindling role as a male rite of passage.

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