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Few, the Proud

Title: The Few, the Proud: Gender and the Marine Corps Body.

Inaccessible until May 31, 2021 due to copyright restrictions.

Name(s): Patterson, Sarah Elizabeth, author
Sinke, Suzanne M., Professor Directing Dissertation
Moore, Dennis, University Representative
Piehler, G. Kurt, Committee Member
Upchurch, Charles, 1969-, Committee Member
Koslow, Jennifer Lisa, 1970-, Committee Member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of History, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2019
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (295 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This project examines the changing shape of femininity and masculinity for Marines from World War I to the Korean War, focusing on the ways that the body serves as a canvas for demonstrating the negotiation of gender roles and the Marine Corps image. Gender has been a constant issue for the military. However, few historical studies consider the ways that the Marine Corps’ status as a particularly elite, masculine institution impacted the desired image of femininity for its female recruits and how this image changed over time. The hyper-masculine nature of the military influenced the relationship between masculinity and femininity for both servicemen and women. My project looks at these changes in masculinity and femininity by placing gender identity within the context of the hyper-masculine military environment. R.W. Connell’s Masculinities, Anthony Rotundo’s American Manhood, and Aaron Belkin’s Bring Me Men assist in putting gender identity in the military into a more complex and nuanced context, especially focusing on masculinity’s centrality to the American military institution. Belkin, in particular, argues that military masculinity has never been entirely devoid of feminine elements. Aspects of femininity have long been a part of military life, from domestic responsibilities often associated with women to close same sex companionship between soldiers. While generally considered less masculine when taken as separate behaviors, they did not seem problematic in a military context. This leads to the conclusion that the incorporation of women into the military was not a radical introduction of femininity into a solely masculine environment, but rather a more complicated shift in the relationship between gender and occupation. This project’s conclusions support this kind of closer relationship between masculinity and femininity in the military context. Francine D’Amico and Laurie Weinstein’s Gender Camouflage, Melissa Ming Foynes, Jillian C. Shipherd, and Ellen F. Harrington’s “Race and Gender Discrimination in the Marines,” Melissa S. Herbert’s Camouflage Isn’t Only for Combat, Heather J. Höpfl’s “Becoming a (Virile) Member: Women and the Military Body,” Leisa D. Meyer’s Creating GI Jane, and Sara L. Zeigler and Gregory G. Gunderson’s Moving Beyond GI Jane address this shift in gender relations and the resulting tension between military men and women throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries I investigate changes in military gender identity by looking at legislation and regulations controlling gender and sexuality in the military, media depictions of Marines, and the ways that gendered military identity plays out on the body, especially through physical fitness, uniforms, and bodily maintenance. The Marine Corps documented their ideas of normative masculine and feminine Marine bodies through pictures, propaganda, and newsletters. Examination of these different characteristics of the ideal body allow for comparison through time of the ways that Marines presented themselves to society, as well as the methods the Corps utilized to encourage images advantageous to its purposes. Such comparisons show changes in the perception of gender identity through time, as well as new norms of appearance and behavior that developed. This evidence illustrates the complicated and often contradictory relationship between masculinity and femininity that all Marines, male and female, negotiate. This project illustrates the significance of these frequently gendered representations of Marine bodies through time. They show the negotiation of gender within the Corps and how assumptions of gender roles shifted from one war to the next. Understanding these changes helps explain the tensions and conflicts which developed between male and female Marines during different periods, as well as creating a framework for investigating these tensions into the contemporary era. The primary sources used for this project focus on the appearance of Marines, male and female, and include national legislation related to Marines and military regulations enforcing conformity in dress and appearance. Memoirs of Marines, publications intended for Marine readers, as well as publications depicting Marines aid in gaining a better idea of the function of gender for Marines, especially in relation to their interactions between male and female Marines. These documents show the changes occurring in expectations about femininity and masculinity in the Marine Corps over time. Public publications, such as general interest magazines, women’s magazines, and newspapers, showed public ideas of Marines’ gender and their relationship to civilian American gender ideals. This project explores the changing shape of normative Marine Corps bodies and the impact of ideas of masculinity and femininity in their deployment as methods of supporting the services’ goals.
Identifier: 2019_Spring_Patterson_fsu_0071E_14978 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2019.
Date of Defense: February 8, 2019.
Keywords: Gender, Korean War, Marine Corps, US Military, World War I, World War II
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Suzanne Sinke, Professor Directing Dissertation; Dennis Moore, University Representative; Kurt Piehler, Committee Member; Charles Upchurch, Committee Member; Jennifer Koslow, Committee Member.
Subject(s): United States -- History
Gender expression
Gender identity
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Patterson, S. E. (2019). The Few, the Proud: Gender and the Marine Corps Body. Retrieved from