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Women in the Netherlands Armed Forces

Chapter

Abstract

Changes regarding gender roles are remarkable. Some areas of social life are freed from archaic norms and behavior has become more permissive whereas working life seems subject to scrutiny, regulations and heightened civilizing norm setting. One example may illustrate the changes in gender sensitivity. The gate to the castle of The Royal Netherlands Military Academy is impressive. People walking underneath the walls that give entry to the courtyard will see the names of graduated cadets carved in stone. Some cadets have placed plates, and one of these plates by a group of eleven cadets graduated in 1988 reads: “Aux Femmes, Aux Chevaux, A ceux qui les montent (...) Vive la Cavalerie!” Clearly this is a prank by adolescent men with a healthy hormonal system working overtime. But when one considers the sociology of humor it is also something different. In her brilliant book on humor Giselinde Kuipers (2001: 178) analyzes jokes and explains why they sometimes are an expression of good humor, but bad taste. A good joke is an invitation to laugh, but it is also a little conspiracy at the costs of a group that is excluded. When a joke is told well, it may be difficult not to laugh even though one disagrees completely with the content. Humor is strong and it is almost impossible to object to a well-told joke. The dangerous side of these jokes is that they invite people to join the little conspiracy. The joke “aux femmes, aux chevaux” belongs to military culture and invites people to join a conspiracy that is at the expense of women.

Keywords

Sexual Harassment Armed Force Gender Perspective Marine Corps Child Care Cost 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Defense AcademyBredaNetherlands

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