Monday, April 18, 2011

Follow Up: Enloe

Enloe’s chapter “All the Men are in the Militias, All the Women Are Victims” shed light on the masculinization of the military.  The chapter gave examples of how soldiers are almost brainwashed by officers to perform awful violent acts and rapes.  As Enloe explained, during wartime in Yugoslav these male soldiers were organized into a masculinized “micro-culture” and taught that they were oppressed by their enemy and thus needed to react accordingly.  Joining the fight was regarded as a manly thing to do in the Yugoslav army and thus worked to fulfill the Serbian ideal of masculinity.  Furthermore, these men were socialized in a way that I think made them desensitized to violence.  They could easily carry out assignments of rape and murder.  Because these types of awful orders were frequent they became similar to a routine for the male soldiers.  The manipulations through social pressure and the emphasis on masculinity led to deadly consequences.
            It is also worthy of note that the women described during wartime in Yugoslav seem to be defined in terms of the men.  Society during war regarded the women as “mothers-of-soldering-sons”.  Thus their identities were entirely dependent on men, further emphasizing the value placed on masculinity in the military.  
            “Spoils of War” another Enloe chapter, brings up the issue of the U.S. military’s policy about sex.  She explains that women are viewed as prizes and “warriors’ booty”.  This is of concern because it emphasizes women’s sexuality as a means to fulfill male sexual drives.  I do believe that this perception of women can lead to both military rape and military prostitution.  Focusing on women as prizes leads men to feel entitled and worthy, which in turn may result in consequences such as violence of rapes.


  1. Tricia- I agree it is really interesting how Elnoe discusses this socialization of men to be violent and beasts in war. Something that really shocked me was the interview with Borislav Herak. In the interview he did not come across as a serial rapist and he did not seem to be a killer. His answers seemed to all be very honest as well. It is interesting how men are socialized like this, especially in war to behave in such violent, illegal ways. I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and in the book there are two children, a boy and a girl, who are taught from a young age by their father to be serial rapists and killers. They are bought taught this lifestyle, however the daughter gets out and is normal and the son becomes a killer. How was the daughter able to overcome this twisted childhood? I am not sure how a professional in this area would describe it, but somehow it seems it is harder for men to resist social pressures involving violence and rape.