Sexuality and Power in the Women's Army Corps During World War II
A compelling indictment of the social issues surrounding the Women's Army Corps in the 1940s.
"Meyer's study of the creation of the Women's Army Corps provides a backdrop against which to read today's headlines detailing sexual misconduct in the military.... Meyer offers a richly textured, theoretically informed account of that debate, focusing on the complex and often contradictory arguments articulated by both supporters and opponents of the creation of a formal presence for women in the military... Race and racial politics played an equally significant part in the creation of the WASC, and Meyer brings her considerable skills to an analysis of the lengths to which the military went to avoid undermining established racial as well as sexual systems." — Choice
"A powerful indictment of the sexism that dominates the military. It is also a fascinating look at the ways in which women insisted upon their right to serve their country." — Bay Area Reporter
"Compelling.. Gives us important insights into the complex sexual double standards that control our current debate." — Lambda Book Report
"A meticulously researched, carefully organized, and intelligently presented study of social issues surrounding the Women's Army Corps in the 1940s." — The Lesbian Review of Books
"Meyer (history, Coll. of William and Mary), formerly trained as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, fills a void in the historical debate on women in the military. Her volume draws from oral histories, archival records, and popular media coverage of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) to provide a platform for a discussion of the contemporary debates about women's roles in the military and in wartime. Founded to fill a clerical labor shortage in the army during World War II, WAC attempted to provide women a way to serve their country. Derided in the press and society at large as prostitutes for soldiers, WACs had to adhere to a stricter and more antiquated moral code than civilian counter parts. African American women viewed admission into WAC as a victory in the racial struggle. Meyer also examines historically the issue of lesbianism. While not a history of WAC, her volume offers solid historical context. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries." — Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
1. "What Has Become of the Manhood of America?"
Creating a Woman's Army 11
2. "Ain't Misbehavin'"?
The Slander Campaign Against the WAC 33
3. The WAC Strikes Back:
Constructing the "Respectable" Female Soldier 51
4. "Women's Work" and Resistance in the WAC:
Kitchen Police, Secretaries, and Sitdown Strikes 71
5. Protecting Whom?
Regulating Sexuality in the Army and the WAC 100
6. "I Want a Man!"
Pleasure and Danger in the Women's Corps 122
7.The "Lesbian Threat" 148
Appendix 1. Meyer Oral History Questionnaire 185
Appendix 2. Discussion of Sources 187