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Camouflaged Etiquette: Gender and Standards of Behavior in the US Military, 1960-1980
March 23 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
“Camouflaged Etiquette” examines depictions of enlisted women in official military documents and media reports in the 1970s. These documents attempted to configure a female military officer, at a time when the only existing metric was male. Furthermore, rules pertaining to and depictions of enlisted women reflected an attempt to hold on to a nebulous idea of what the U.S. military had been in the past—an ideal that never existed—while grappling with the changing structure and status of the U.S. military in the 1970s. Enlisted people—men and women—were expected to exhibit an air of respectability to reflect a mythical gentlemanly past of the U.S. military. Thus the military accepted women broadly into its ranks, but made no structural changes to the male-genderedness of the institution. Rather, as this paper will demonstrate, enlisted women were put in an impossible position, expected to adapt to the male culture of the armed forces, while simultaneously demonstrating their respectable nature as proper women.
Hannah Ontiveros is a PhD student at Duke University, working on 20th-Century U.S. in the World and gender. Her research centers around women in the U.S. military and military wives during the Korean War (1950–1953), focusing on how gendered labor in the armed forces and at home facilitated the mechanisms of U.S. Empire.
Moderation: KATHERINE TURK (UNC–Chapel Hill, Department of History)
In collaboration with the UNC–Chapel Hill Curriculum in Peace, War and Defense