Recruiting GI Jane : the effects of female soldiers on American military recruitment strategies
Laura M. Ames
May 11, 2016
Department or Program
American society places a great deal of importance on its military, and popular culture often conceptualizes this institution as hyper-masculine. Despite this feeling that the military operates as an almost entirely masculine space, women have been participating in the American armed forces for generations. Recently, all combat positions were opened to women marking the final step in the long process of full integration for women. The increasing number of women in the military in combination with the opening of new positions for women begs the question of how the military is responding to these changing demographics with their recruitment strategies. In an attempt to investigate this question, I have compared recruitment advertisements from three different eras and two different branches of the military. After examining these advertisements, I have concluded that the military both responds to larger societal notions about femininity and masculinity and reproduces them to be consumed by the public. In short, the Marine Corps has continued to cultivate a masculine and elite reputation in its materials that privileges men, while the Army has evolved to produce a message of teamwork and inclusivity that conspicuously features women.