When soldiering gets sexy: the militarization of gender equality and sexual difference

How does militarism change social and cultural expectations of gender roles and relations? This is a huge question. This article by Vron Ware considers three areas.

How does militarism change social and cultural expectations of gender roles and relations? This is a huge question. This article by Vron Ware considers three areas.

Regardless of what they say about a man in uniform, it’s clear that some of them have a particular appeal when they’re half naked and preferably holding a gun.

The UK charity Go Commando which raises money for Royal Marines and their families, has recently launched its third successive calendar featuring marines in various stages of undress. The calendar went through official channels before being launched with acclaim in the national media. Its first print-run sold out within days.

In this now familiar genre, the black and white portraits of the calendar boys reveal them to be as muscly and virile as their female counterparts – who now include military wives – have tended to be demure and coquettish. Whether their nakedness is concealed by rifles, rugby balls, boxing shorts or the bottom halves of their uniforms, the marines’ rippling chests and arms suggest that the male military body represents new standards of idealised masculinity.… Read more

Bullying ‘seen as acceptable in Army’ as survey reveals every woman questioned was victim of unwanted attention

Bullying is perceived as “acceptable” among some in the Army, according to an internal report that found every single woman questioned said they had been the victim of unwanted sexual attention.

Bullying is perceived as “acceptable” among some in the Army, according to an internal report that found every single woman questioned said they had been the victim of unwanted sexual attention.

It also revealed that many soldiers who believed that they were treated unfairly did not want to complain because they did not trust the chain of command.

Details of the report emerged in a memo from Major General John Lorimer to the Army’s Adjutant General, Lieutenant General Gerry Berragan, which was leaked to Channel 4 News.

Maj General Lorimer, who commands nearly 25,000 personnel in 3 Division, reported the findings of his survey of 6,000 of them, including 400 women.

His memo reported that every woman spoken to “claims to have been the subject of unwanted sexual attention”.

“This is an unacceptable situation and one you might consider to be a future area of pan-Army focus,” he wrote.

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Army discipline rules are ‘bullies charter’

The rules on handling discipline and complaints in the British Army have created a ‘kangaroo court’ system and act as a ‘bullies charter’ for senior officers, an Army officer has reportedly claimed.

The rules on handling discipline and complaints in the British Army have created a ‘kangaroo court’ system and act as a ‘bullies charter’ for senior officers, an Army officer has reportedly claimed.

Channel 4 News, quoting a report submitted to the Defence Select Committee’s inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Commissioner, said that an unnamed officer believed the current system was “rarely transparent or accountable and frequently unlawful”.

The officer called for a “root and branch overhaul” of Army General Administrative Instruction 67 (AGAI 67) saying it contains “no safeguards to protect junior personnel from the chain of command… and nothing to prevent dishonest commanders from pursuing vendettas against those over whom they exercise power”.

According to the report, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force lawyers have questioned the legality of AGAI 67’s power to deny legal representation, refuse witness and protect favoured individuals.

The summary hearings allowed by the rules, which are said to have a 90 per cent conviction rate, are in breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the officer wrote.… Read more

The War On Suicide?

More U.S. military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan began than have died fighting there. The rate jumped 80% from 2004 to 2008, and while it leveled off in 2010 and 2011, it has soared 18% this year. Suicide has passed road accidents as the leading noncombat cause of death among U.S. troops.

More U.S. military personnel have died by suicide since the war in Afghanistan began than have died fighting there. The rate jumped 80% from 2004 to 2008, and while it leveled off in 2010 and 2011, it has soared 18% this year. Suicide has passed road accidents as the leading noncombat cause of death among U.S. troops. While it’s hard to come by historical data on military suicides–the Army has been keeping suicide statistics only since the early 1980s–there’s no denying that the current numbers constitute a crisis.

The specific triggers for suicide are unique to each service member. The stresses layered on by war–the frequent deployments, the often brutal choices, the loss of comrades, the family separation–play a role. So do battle injuries, especially traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And the constant presence of pain and death can lessen one’s fear of them.… Read more

Concern over Government schemes promoting ‘military ethos’ in education

The organisation ForcesWatch (1), which monitors the way young people are recruited into the military, have expressed concern about the announcement made by Education Secretary Michael Gove of four projects which promote ‘military ethos’ in order to improve achievement among pupils disengaged with education

The organisation ForcesWatch (1), which monitors the way young people are recruited into the military, have expressed concern about the announcement made by Education Secretary Michael Gove of four projects which promote ‘military ethos’ in order to improve achievement among pupils disengaged with education

The projects will receive £1.9 million of government funding. In June this year the Department of Education announced another £10.85 million to expand cadets into state education (2).

The schemes are part of a wider package of measures in the DfE’s ‘military skills and ethos programme’ which also include the future development of military academies and free schools in which every pupil in the school would be educated with a ‘military ethos’ (3).

Emma Sangster from ForcesWatch said, “We question the one-sided view of ‘military ethos’ being promoted here and whether it is appropriate within an educational context. The development of values and life skills are of course vital but why is a military approach a necessary component?… Read more