Masculinity In The Vietnam War

597 Words3 Pages
The feminine plays a much larger role in Boose’s analysis, while Weber primarily focuses on masculinity and the phallus. Connell also focuses primarily on the role of masculinity. She would disagree with our discussion last time in which we wished there was more focus on femininity; she laments that men’s issues are often left out of public debates on gender. She writes that “the major policy documents concerned with gender equality… often do not name men as a group and rarely discuss men in concrete terms” (Connell 1806). For Boose, the gendered metaphor are less about sex and more about family, primarily focusing on father-son relationships, supplemented by the husband and wife. Connell also discusses the significance of fatherhood in shaping…show more content…
For Boose, the Vietnam War was the most significant event in precipitating “a crisis of gender that had opened up the myth of… the nation’s understanding of [its] masculinity” (Boose 71). Both authors identify the importance of the symbolic quest for the phallus, which is carried out through presidents and movies. The United States emerged from the Vietnam War with “an unoccupied and no longer occupiable center” (Boose 88). Castro’s Cuba symbolically castrated the United States, which led to a series of “attempts to rephallusize itself” (Weber 131). In Rambo, Stallone is the “visual signifier for the erect phallus” whose objective is “to rescue the figural representation of a ‘missing’ American masculinity” (Boose…show more content…
Cohn, more so than Boose, identifies the power of sexual metaphors in military discourse. She writes that “over and over, defeat for the Iraqis was portrayed as humiliating anal penetration by the more powerful and manly United States” (Cohn 236). In discussing George Bush’s military intervention in Panama, both authors identify how George Bush’s performance in Panama was viewed in sexual terms. Weber wonders, “Does a nearly impotent commander in chief have the capacity to ‘get in’?” (Weber 94). Cohn laments the fact that important questions about foreign policy and military decision making disappear in the sulfuric acid test of the size of Mr. Bush’s private parts” (Cohn 237). Weber claims that through the Panama invasion, Bush is able to successfully mime masculinity and the possession of a phallus, and Cohn similarly claims that this action “finally allowed him to beat the ‘wimp factor’” (Cohn

More about Masculinity In The Vietnam War

Open Document