I will argue here that the rhetoric used by the Bush administration (and the media) to sell U.S. military aggression to the American public has played upon the gender insecurities and racial biases of the population. To be more specific, it has reinforced a racialized national sense of masculinity by playing on the association of maleness with violent domination of people of color - domination seen as laudable because it is undertaken "for their own good." In so doing, it has also reinforced the message that the way for people of color in this country to become true "Americans" is for them to show they are willing to subordinate other people of color. They must show, in other words, that they are willing to play the masculinized role of the enlightened, civilizing "American." Focusing on governmental and media "war talk," I'll discuss three aspects of the hegemonic masculinity that this discourse expresses and helps to construct: First, "real men" are men who use violence against people of color. Second, "real men" are men who civilize barbarians. And, third, "real men" are men who rescue women.
Disguising Empire: Racialized Masculinity and the Civilizing of Iraq,
52 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol52/iss1/9