Arms and the Enlisted Woman
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|Format:||Paperback, 352 pages|
|Published In: ||United States, 01 February 1990|
"This book is about America's most unknown soldiers-enlisted women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines." Focusing on the decade from 1972 to 1982, Judith Stiehm uses personal narratives, interviews, policy statements, and other material to explore the experience of American women in the military their reasons for enlisting, their roles, their self-image, and the way they are viewed by civilians. Although there are now more than 200,000 women in uniform, Stiehm asks why the policies concerning enlisted women "so often appear to fly in the face of both logic and evidence." Her analysis of the effects of change in military policy on women of different ranks and ages reveals how certain functional myths (e.g., "war is manly") are challenged by the presence of women. The result has been an uneasy accommodation. Arms and the Enlisted Woman includes a vivid first-person account by a female veteran of one woman's experience in the Air Force. Honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant after six years of working as an airplane mechanic, this woman describes the struggle to be taken seriously and treated equally, and to excel in a non-traditional field.She also relates the joys of seeing a job well done and being part of a cohesive team. Her mixed reaction to her military career epitomizes the difficulty with which enlisted women have been assimilated. Stiehm also analyzes the rapidly shifting military policies concerning women as well as the reasons for certain erroneous but persistent beliefs about them, and remarks, "One thing seems to be certain. To the professional military the enlisted woman is a raw nerve." Author note: Judith Hicks Stiehm, Provost of Florida International University, is the author of Bring Me Men and Women: Mandated Change at the W.S. Air Force Academy.
Explore the experience of American women in the military
About the Author
Judith Hicks Stiehm, Provost of Florida International University, is the author of "Bring Me Men and Women: Mandated Change at the W.S. Air Force Academy."
Stiehm, provost of Florida International University, presents a survey of enlisted women in the military that is certainly thorough but quickly bogs down in detail. In the author's view, the principal problem of females in the service is their very presence, which prompts such questions as whether women should be drafted, whether they should serve in combat, whether they can do all the jobs in the military and how to cope with pregnancy, particularly in unmarried servicewomen. Stiehm reports on attitudes in all four branches of the service, among enlisted men and women, both noncommissioned and commissioned officers, as well as the public. Her conclusion: the tension that results from having women in the armed forces is not likely to diminish. This is more a reference work than a book for general readers. Photos. (Apr.)
"A vivid and provocative account... Stiehm's assessment of the myths that sustain 'this man's army' reveals the reasons for enlisted women's ambivalent status--and throws a new light on some of America's real military problems." --Betty Friedan "Digging beneath the accumulated rubble of military studies and statistics, Stiehm discovers that 'defensiveness rather than sense' drives much military policy on women... Her brilliant contrasts of the successive generations of enlisted women illumine the frequent and incongruous shifts of policy which endanger women's careers, and shed light on the obstructions to bonding and networking among military women...not only does Stiehm encapsulate an enormous quantity of useful data on enlisted women, both in her text and in her appendices, but she also tackles the underlying problems, offering for their resolution the stimulating suggestions of an honest, daring, and original mind ranging over little-known territory which the author herself has thoroughly explored." --Minerva "This is potentially a blockbuster book of great importance. The author is a very good writer...her book is not only of interest to military types and to the soldiers themselves but also to feminists concerned with the shape and tenacity of gender roles in our society." --Arlene Kaplan Daniels, Northwestern University "In the author's view, the principal problem of females in the service is their very presence, which prompts such questions as whether women should be drafted, whether they should serve in combat, whether they can do all the jobs in the military and how to cope with pregnancy, particularly in unmarried servicewomen. Stiehm reports on attitudes in all four branches of the service, among enlisted men and women, both noncommissioned and commissioned officers, as well as the public. ...a reference work..." --Publishers Weekly
These books are fresh examples of the two types concerning women in the military--one scholarly and dispassionate, the other journalistic and emotional. Both are well researched and well written, raising questions and attempting answers. Stiehm continues the scholarly work begun in Bring Me Men and Women (LJ 3/15/81) concerning the acceptance of women into the federal service academies. Using the assumption that women should be in the military, she reviews the history of women in the services 1972-82. Her conclusion is that the proportion of women in the military should be raised to that of society at large, with women having a clearly defined, and separate, role. Mitchell assumes that women are a detriment to the military, and that their numbers should be reduced. He presents a carefully constructed case to show the deleterious effects of women in the military, using the ``manly'' myth of the military that Stiehm questions. He concludes that the presence of women lowers the standards and morale of the services, thereby weakening the national defense. Stiehms's contribution is the more important. However, Mitchell's does clearly present one side of the debate. Comprehensive libraries as well as those needing current materials on women in the military may want both.-- Edward Gibson, Alderson-Broaddus Coll. Lib., Philippi, W. Va.
|Publisher: ||Temple University Press,U.S.|
|Dimensions: ||23.0 x 15.0 x 2.0 centimeters (0.48 kg)|