Analysis Of Carol Cohn 's Article ' Women Essay

Analysis Of Carol Cohn 's Article ' Women Essay

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The purpose of Carol Cohn’s article “Women in War” is to explain why women have been kept out of the subject of war although they have played many vital roles. Cohn argues, that because of the gender coding of characteristics, institutions such as the military have been established in such a way that not only rejects characteristics of femininity but also preserves masculinity. Cohn employs logic, fact and the reasoning of experts in their own respective fields to answer why there is such a separation between the military and women.
Cohn begins her argument by introducing the initial separation of women and the military through gender coding. Cohn defines gender coding as “a set way of thinking” which dictates what we consider to be feminine and what is masculine. Cohn relates these gender codes back to the separation between women and war in that war is associated with all things masculine while peace is associated with many things considered feminine. Cohn explains how this can effect perceptions about women and men in war situations by relating the first-hand account of Suzanne Williams. While writing as a policy advisor for Oxfam, Williams wrote that “Oxfam’s organizational imperatives are both conceptualized and implemented in a way that is dichotomized and gendered, metamorphisized as “hard” and “soft.” Here, hard work is more technical and produces quantifiable work, thus given to men. While soft work is more social and results in less quantifiable, thus given to women. The result of such distribution of labor is that men’s work is valued more than women’s work and thus receives greater funding. As William’s work is directly related to the subject of gender and conflict, she is a relevant and accurate source. From this Coh...


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... activities soldiers engage in would be culturally coded as ‘feminine’ were they not taking place within an institution which is itself coded hyper-masculine”. Cohn concretely concludes her argument with evidence from former U.S. Marine Corps General Robert H. Barrow who said “war is a man’s work… [women in the front lines would] trample the male ego…you have to protect the manliness of war.” By using the expert opinion of a Marine Corps General as evidence, Cohn justifies her argument concisely and effectively.
Cohn’s argues that the separation between women and the military comes about as the suppression of feminine characteristics and the preservation of masculine characteristics. Her examples of gender coded characteristics, coupled with the first-hand evidence of expert opinions on the military and women, provide a sound and substantial base for her argument.

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