Gender Socialization in Military

Socialization is a very important aspect in helping an individual to learn and accept the given roles depending on gender. This means that socialization helps individuals to conform to the behaviors that are inline with their sex orientation. It is through socialization that one recognizes the importance of adopting the wanted and rejecting the unwanted behaviors. Those who are more oriented to the male behaviors exhibit masculinity sex orientation, while those who are oriented more to the female behaviors can be said to exhibit feminine sex orientation. Certain behaviors have been oriented to a specific gender.

In any job or society, one is taught what is expected of him/her. In the society, one has the choice of either accepting what they feel are good socialization principles and rejecting those they feel are not good. This however does not apply smooch in the job categories, as there are strict strategies laid down which have to be followed, and if not, you just have to quit. Therefore, it implies that if you are to remain in that job, then there is need to conform to the laid down principles. Gender Socialization in the Military Many youths have been joining the US military to represent there country in various occasions of war.

The military like any other job has got the strategies on how to acquire its objectives. Therefore, when the new recruits are taken in to the military, they have to be absorbed in the system through gender socialization. Gender socialization in the military has got various effects that are both long term and short term. However, some of the effects have never been taken so serious nor even enough studies taken to ascertain such effects. For instance, gender socialization in the military has been found to contribute to military domestic violence, but this study has not been given much attention (Anthony, 2007).

All the braches of the armed forces have the same characteristics they expect their officers to exhibit. As Anthony (2007) argues, all of these branches “cherish the same societal, cultural prescriptions, which are physical aggressiveness, competitiveness, and lack of nurturing,” (pp 32). These are the gender roles that are assigned and a recruit or an officer is looked upon to have, no matter which gender they are. Aggressiveness which is mostly associated with males is mostly rewarded in the military. Therefore, for those who want to attain such recognitions and be respected in the military ranks, they need to carry on with such legends.

This puts a lot of pressure on the soldiers to get such achievements. As it is known, the military is dominated by males. Therefore, “much has been made of the effect of women on the warrior ethnic , the divisive issue of sexual harassment , and the trade offs entailed by either mixed or single-sex basic training,” (Bolt, Coletta & Shakelford, 2005 pp 298). In many cases, the superior performance and achievement of the women military have been overlooked by the military officials. There have been increased volunteer women in the military pool which has increased the quality of recruits.

In some studies, it has been found out that the integration of male and females in the military reduces social cohesion, but does not affect task cohesion (Goldstein, 2001). This implies that the performance of the military officers is not affected. The female soldiers are found to work hard so that they can be recognized by their male counterparts. On the other hand, the male soldiers work hard so that they are not outdone by their female counterparts. While in the fight, it is found that the female soldiers’ presence contributes to males’ effectiveness.

For instance, men who wants to retreat from a front line then sees that a woman is firmly in her position, they get challenged and thus move on. The US military has been dominated by the masculine warrior and combat characteristic. The sole activities of the US military rotate around combat. Combat in the military entails mostly killing and destroying the enemy. In the characteristic of masculine- warrior, the soldier is supposed to show the masculinity roles and behaviors which are highly recognized in the military system.

This means that it does not matter whether you are a male or a female officer, but what matters is the fact that you have to exhibit all those characteristics (Ferrante & Ferrante-Wallace, 2005). In most cases, the combat characteristic will give room to the male to show there masculine characteristics. When they practice the warriors’ role, the men in the military are taken to prove their manhood. In all of these activities, women are not recognized so much, hence they are considered to be outsiders. This is more so because they can not attain the masculine combatant image the males have.

It is assumed that combatant images are for men who are not afraid, but rather are competitive and aggressive. The military is one of the institutions that encourage macho characteristics, in which soldiers are encouraged to take up manly characters and to completely despise effeminacy. This has made many people feel that the military should only be left to the males, and not involve the women (Boyce & Herd, 2003). Despite all this, women have taken up important roles in the military especially during war.

The role that were given to Women in the military had been involved in activities like being nurses, giving support to those in war forefront, but were never allowed to take active roles in the fight itself, mostly up to the time of the World War I (Sherkat & Blocker, 1994). when the mandatory enlistment of the males to the armed forces was dropped, the number of males in the military decreased thus the Department of Defense was motivated to increase more females in various areas, with the exceptional of combat and heavy work. With time, women have taken up the leading roles in the combatant and other roles that were reserved for the males.

However there are still some areas that are still reserved for males in which women are not allowed to participate into. There are traditional occupations that women have completely been excluded from. For instance, in areas such as “aviation, paratroopers, cargo handlers, military intelligence, law enforcement, and equipment maintenance operation,” (Rooks, n. d para 11). This has put the female soldiers in between the tussle of female socialization, and the traditional military culture. Therefore, we can conclude that in the military field, we can assume that the socialization of females in this field follows their gender polarization.

The usual expectations are that females should behave in a feminine way. Another assumption in the military is that this is a masculine professional. Since women are assumed to exhibit feminine characters, then it will imply that they need no be in the military which is a masculine endeavor. This traditional believe in the military does not however give recognition to female warriors, but leaves them to be cheerers of their male counterparts. Such traditions can only be broken by continual empowering the female soldiers.

Reference: Anthony E.R (2007): Gender-Role Socialization and its Effects on Batteries, Victims, and Military Domestic Violence: A Military Chaplain’s Approach to Provide Pastoral Care, Community Action, and Congregational Outreach, retrieved on 23rd July 2008 from http://etd. library. vanderbilt. edu/ETD-db/available/etd-04242007-161424/unrestricted/thesis. pdf. Bolt P. J. Coletta D. V & Shackelford C. G, (2005): American Defense Policy ISBN: 0801880939; JHU Press Boyce L. A & Herd A. M (2003): The Relationship between Gender Role Stereotypes and Requisites Military Leadership Characteristics (1), a Journal of Research, Vol. 49. Issue 5, pp 7-11.

Goldstein J. S (2001): War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa. ISBN: 0521001803; Cambridge University Press Rooks S C (n. d): Looking at G. I. Jane through Lenses of Gender, retrieved on 23rd July 2008 from http://acjournal. org/holdings/vol2/Iss1/essays/rooks. html Sherkat D. E & Blocker T. J (1994): The Political Development Of Sixties’ Activists: Identifying The Influence Of Class, Gender, And Socialization On Protest Participation, A Journal Of Social Forces, Vol. 72. Issue 2 pp 11-15. Ferrante J & Ferrante-Wallace J (2005): Sociology: A Global Perspective, ISBN: 0495005614; Thomson Wadsworth