Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
Department Chair:
Greggor Mattson

Administrative Assistant:
David Divins

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8923
Fax: (440) 775-6698

Rice Hall 29
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Phyllis Jones Award - Spring '09

Phyllis Jones Award - Spring '09

This years recipient was:

Rachel Cotterman

Comparative American Studies Major

Project Title: Sex, Power, and the Transnational Patriarchal Military Establishment: Images of Women in the Israeli Defense Forces in American Media

Project Description: How can a community of women working for professional empowerment through integration into the military be co-opted as part of a hegemonic patriarchal agenda? This paper explores the ways in which sexualized images of female soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces in American media both obscure and maintain discourses of male power and “western” dominance. It confronts feminist agendas that promote the professional advancement of women without looking critically at the cost of such assimilation. The images analyzed, from Maxim Magazine and the social networking site Facebook, hail a positive association between American and Israeli women as liberated citizens of the “west.” These images, while seemingly straightforward texts about the availability of women for the male sexual gaze, are layered with numerous other implications about women's professional assimilation, militarization and gender, the construction of the “west” and “Arab Muslim” worlds, liberal sexuality and feminist discourse. These images teach us that feminists that work for all women's true empowerment must remain vigilant of the ways in which feminist agendas such as women's assimilation into the military can be co-opted in order to maintain white patriarchal dominance.