International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

“Some of the Best Soldiers Wear Lipstick”

Authors

Cynthia Enloe

Document Type

Book Chapter

Abstract

The word ‘Amazon’ is thought to be derived from the ancient Greek words a mazon-‘breastless’. What is ‘wrong’ about the Amazons is not only that they are women who fight using military equipment and tactics, but that they live without men. Like the Amazons, Joan of Arc has become as significant ideologically as historically in shaping our images of women and soldiering. Ambivalence about the meaning of women-as-soldiers continues to plague military uniform and cosmetic designers. One of the most celebrated women to disguise herself as a man in order to soldier was an American, Deborah Sampson. As the 1982 documentary film Soldier Girls revealed, black as well as white women have not endured the male-defined military discipline without resistance. Military pregnancy studies omit the fact that in the US military it is male soldiers who proportionately lose the most days of active duty-because of drug abuse, going absent without leave, and as a consequence of disciplinary actions.

Publication Title

Living With Contradictions: Controversies In Feminist Social Ethics

Publication Date

1994

First Page

598

Last Page

608

ISBN

9780429499142

DOI

10.4324/9780429499142-90

Keywords

United States military, documentary, films, documentaries, gender, women, feminism

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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