The female combat soldier
European Journal of International Relations
As a result of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, women have increasingly served on the frontline performing in combat roles, once reserved exclusively for men. This paper explores the ways in which western military culture may have both impeded and facilitated female accession. In line with the feminist concept of hegemonic masculinity, the paper explores how female soldiers are often subjected to an institutionalised cultural code which defines them as ‘sluts’ or ‘bitches’, denying them equality and recognition, irrespective of their behaviour. At the same time, some highly competent women have begun to be accepted and a new cultural classification has been developed for them; they are ‘honorary men’. This new status represents an important development for the armed forces and an opportunity for women. Yet, the category is so narrow that it is very difficult for women to maintain it.
Copyright © The Author(s) 2015, by European Consortium for Political Research, SAGE Publications
This is the author’s accepted version of the article published in European Journal of International Relations.
Published online before print May 5, 2015