Thank you for your cervix: Female veterans' enduring battle for public recognition after the war

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2020-05
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Huber, Lindsey Dawn
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LaWare, Margaret
Brown, Laura
Dubisar, Abby
Rutenberg, Amy
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English
Abstract
Some of the most fiercely argued issues that we see within society today are arguments of definition. For example, there are disputes amongst service members about defining who a veteran is. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines a veteran as a "person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable" (US Department of Veteran Affairs). Nowhere in the VA's definition of a veteran does it reference biological sex. However, we, as a society, continue to see female veterans sifted out and silenced as bearers of the war story through various material representations such as mottos and war memorials. This thesis argues that allegorical changes are necessary at this juncture in history to adapt to the continual revisions of definitions of soldier and veteran, to increase the visibility of female veterans, and to better recognize and support the needs of females as veterans. The current rhetorical context assumes that veterans are male. The lack of attention to changing norms of gender undercuts the well-being of veterans who do not identify as "male," which consequently cripples all veterans' well-being.
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