Images of a kinder and gentler war

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper attempts to move beyond the well-established argument that discourses of gender equality and feminist tropes at times have played a role in justifying, legitimizing and extending military aggression on behalf of the West in the Middle East. Instead, this paper explores the ways in which the US army in concrete terms is redoing masculinity in its presentation of itself as a gentler, kinder military force, engaged with women’s rights. The paper seeks to analyze how this presentation of a transformed masculinity is linked to actual killing practices in the US counterinsurgency operations. Taking as starting point the Internet phenomenon of YouTube Military Dads, homecoming videos of US soldiers donned in their combat uniforms who appear in kindergartens, schools, workplaces or gyms to surprise their children, the paper analyses the US Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual in relation to the historically gendered aspects of the military uniform to unpack the role and meaning of representations of a softer military strategy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 9
Publication categoryResearch
EventGender Studies Annual Sysmposium 2016: Gender and Inequality: Global challenges, Local negotiations - Department of Gender Studies Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2016 Nov 92016 Nov 9


ConferenceGender Studies Annual Sysmposium 2016