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Summary

 In the article, ““We Rule the Base Because We’re Few”: “Lone girls”, in Israel’s Military”, Hauser refers to the position of women in the Israel’s Defense Forces, where the majority of the soldiers are males. Even though it is widely believed that such conditions may lead to violent treatment of females or alter the common gender expectations from women, the author shows obvious confidence that male-dominated bases may have a contrary influence on females. Hauser defends the position that the experience of lone girls working for IDF is quite beneficial for them on the collective and individual levels. Even though the position of women in the army is not reinforced, it strengthens the traditional beliefs considering the gender roles to become a positive factor for the entire community and females’ positions.

Military organizations are those that raise numerous gender-related questions and mainly the issues that characterize how the rights of females can be violated. However, in contrast to the generally accepted expectations that women in the army may suffer or be forced to manifest more male behavior, Hauser uses the example of “lone girls” to show that gendered military forces can make women demonstrate their femininity. In general, the norms of conventional femininity are basic for those who serve in Israel military organizations. For this reasons, many scholars such as Britton, Kanter, West and Zimmerman emphasize that traditional male skills are of greater value among soldiers and cannot give much positive issues to women. Hauser divides women into two separate groups: those who accept more male traits, and the lone girls, who choose a traditional female type of behavior and take it as advantage. Mainly the latter type is analyzed in the article more attentively in order to see how they manage to manipulate the stereotypes in the military system and benefit from it.

Even though the military sphere is mostly associated with males, it still relies on both male and female sexes depending on the type of the task or operation. In addition, females’ roles are crucial in meeting some physical and emotional needs of men. Even the morality of the commander is closely interrelated with the female role and mainly his attitude to the family. However, Hauser also marks out that the problem of sexual harassment is the evidence of gender norms pressure and females’ attempts not to show any weakness. Among the main issues that are supportive for the beneficial status of the lone girls, one should remember about special attention they may attract. For instance, there might be particular reactions towards sexual harassment as those that can predetermine the positive or negative results of the problematic situation, gender-based distribution of the positions, women’s contribution into family-model creation within an organization and the protected-protector system of relations.

 

Women in Israel defense organizations have a number of duties that mostly coincide with the male ones. Among such, females can serve as border guards, radar, and air-traffic controllers, computer operators, tank instructors or hold other positions. While army soldiers of different countries should share the common experiences, it is important to mark out the limitations for pregnant, religious women, and mothers considering the ability to serve in military organizations. Moreover, in contrast to men, women do not remain in active reserve after the completion of service term. The combat experiences of women are also different from that one of men. While women get mostly symbolic roles in artillery corps, light infantry, engineering and field intelligence, men are assigned for more serious combat functions. In addition, females are more like to obtain some white-collar positions instead of the combat ones. Such a selective attitude shows that organizations are concerned about females. Moreover, the gendered environment makes women bring more comfort to the entire organization.

Critique

The article provides a reliable information regarding the situation in IDF. The author analyzes the previous views on the problem and marks out sexual harassment as one of the main issues that contribute to violation of females’ rights in the military. The article is logically organized and divided into separate sections for the proper comprehension.

Hauser approaches the military organizations in details in order to show the possible erroneous views on their structure. It is essential to understand the division of the workers into the combatants and “white-collar posts”. Mainly this differentiation is important for the proper understanding of how females may or may not demand masculine features. Moreover, the issue of gender roles and particularly possible prevalence of male features among female soldiers is also mentioned. Therefore, one can see that Hauser does not offer new ideas by refuting the previous ones, but offers a new vision that does not deny the appropriateness of the previous ones. The possibility to let both the views of negative and positive impacts of gendered organizations on women is predetermined by the distribution of the position and division of females according to their attitudes.

The article has some weaknesses. Some sources are outdated and written more than ten years ago. Considering the main supportive argument of the author as division of females into groups according to perception of the situation, the author neglects that the same way one can divide males. Hence all separate cases of sexual harassments or any other issues should be considered from both aspects of abuse and victims.

The sample chosen by the author is not quite appropriate to make accurate conclusions due to the fact that it included only 62 women. At the same time, the conclusions about the “lone girls” were based only on the interview of the half of them. In addition, all females were met in the same geographical point, which make it quite likely that they work in the same organization. Instead, comparison of different organizations would provide more reliable results.

To my mind, the idea of the author is quite interesting. From the sociological and psychological perspectives, gendered behavior is highly dependent on the structure of the organization and expectations related to the position.  Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of the discussed topic have much to deal with the individual expectations of a person. Due to the psychological peculiarities, one can neglect some sexual harassment concerning to the related topic or get stuck on them. In the same way, one can feel comfortable and get benefits from being a single woman in the team or suffer emotionally from the possible fears to be considered as weak. The evidences offered by Hauser that the outcomes of some event, be it the males’ attention or some peculiar duties, depend much on the personal perception and attitude towards a situation. Feeling as belonging to the minority is far not always the sign of being weaker. Instead, the author emphasizes a number of duties related to some physical and emotional aspects that are performed by women better and make their role irreplaceable in the gendered organizations. Therefore, it is not necessary to search for the means to make women benefit by obtaining the male roles in the military, but it is crucial to understand that each person should hold the proper position and understand his or her own importance.

Reflection

I found the ideas of the author quite wise and interesting. With regard to the fact that the violation of females’ rights is a quite timely issue, it deserves particular attention. For instance, the news often report about sexual abuse of women within the military organizations, and the appropriateness of females in the army at all. However, the above mentioned article pushes to reflection that such problems are not related to gender, but more to the personal beliefs and choices of people.

Unfortunately, not all rules for military coincide in various countries and the US cannot be completely analyzed according to the examples from Israel. However, there are some common features that unify all common organizations. For instance, it is necessary to understand that each profession demands a devotion and confidence that what one does is important. Such issue is the main motivation and the interviews of the Israel military women support this idea. Hence, the first issue on the way to struggle the problem of violence or assaults in the gendered organizations is to choose the proper candidates, inform them about their roles and rights and expected behavior. Failure to do so can make the weaker or unaware women be silent about such problems as sexual harassment or be unable to avoid some conflicts in other situations. Instead, other females, who are more goal-oriented and confident, may use their skills to avoid some ambiguous situations and defend their rights on the organizational level and in public.

All positions in the society have some peculiar demands and expectations regardless the gender of a person. Becoming a good teacher needs the ability to explain the material and love children, being a good medical worker is associated with high-level respect of life and value of patients. In the same way, the military area demands being a combatant and strictly follow the rules. Distribution of various working positions is always based on the presence of some peculiar characteristics. “Lone girls” is a good example of strong females. They have the appropriate work and are internally strong and confident enough to know how to perform their duties and how to stay on the appropriate place in gendered organizations. Instead, females with the prevalence of male features and the silent victims of sexual harassment are more like to be those who are not on the appropriate positions and whose inner beliefs and strengths get broken under some unusual circumstances.

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