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Language and Gender in the Military: Honorifics, Narrative, and Ideology in Air Force ...

Chapter 1:  Gatekeepers and Categories: Gender in Military Life
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Language and Gender in the Military:

Chapter 1

Gatekeepers and Categories: Gender in Military Life

In a fall 1998 edition of Foreign Affairs, Francis Fukuyama observes that “[b]oth men and women participate in perpetuating the stereotypical gender identities that associate men with war and competition and women with peace and cooperation” and goes on to say that “[m]asculine policies will still be required, though not necessarily masculine leaders” (33). Does Fukuyama mean that the masculine policies can be implemented by nonmasculine males? Can these “masculine policies” be implemented by males who are not driven by masculine traits, or, by women who are, “not necessarily masculine?” Fukuyama argues against women’s participation in combat, saying that “unit cohesion, which is the bedrock on which the performance of armies rests, has been traditionally built around male bonding, which can only be jeopardized when men start competing for the attention of women” (37). By putting those words in print, Fukuyama serves to perpetuate the very stereotypes that are destructive of that which he touts: unit cohesion, leadership, and peace.