Stroking my rifle like the body of a woman: a woman’s socialization into the U.S. Army
In the US military, gender and sex define one's organizational place and possibility. This chapter reviews the literature surrounding female soldiers. It begins by conceptualizing the female soldier through discussion and exemplars of archetypes. The chapter situates the study in a theoretical framework with an overview of muted group theory in addition to exploring how Butler's notion of performativity is useful in understanding the ways in which gender is performed in the military. It articulates author's methodological approach of autoethnography then presents his findings, which correspond with the three overarching archetypes of female soldiers presented in the literature. The construction of the female soldier identity emerges both from media representations of female soldiers, as well as discursive, ideological norms and behaviors enacted throughout organizational culture. Critical feminist theories combine feminist thought with critical theories to examine how culture impacts women's experiences and how women impact cultural ideologies and norms.