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DADT and Hegemonic Masculinity

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Been off grid for holidays (arguing with brothers among other things about whether eight-year-old boys should be allowed to have hurt feelings when their sisters talk smack to them or whether they should just be taught to suck it up). And so (in that vein) just caught Laura Sjoberg’s reaction to the DADT repeal. Well worth reading: nutshell below.

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is official now, signed by the President and a celebration of what is, by most accounts, an incredibly productive lame-duck Congressional session. It is certainly, in my mind, high time that this both on-face ridiculous and insidiously discriminatory policy make its way out of United States law and military practice… So why am I, as a feminist and a queer theorist, not throwing a party for the repeal of this terrible policy? Is it because I just like to be contrary?

That too, but there’s more to it. In celebrating the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the (important and well-deserved) removal of obstacles to gay people serving in the military, there’s a lot of entrenchment of (masculinist) militarism as a standard for citizenship. In Derrick Bell’s words, militarization has made exactly the concession to deconstructing sex/gender hierarchies that it needs to to maintain its dominance in United States political culture, no less, and no more.

Happy Belated Festivus.

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