Document Type


Publication Date

January 2007


This essay explores the gender discourse surrounding the women soldiers implicated in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, and the gender silence surrounding their male counterparts. The analysis suggests that the women soldiers in the abuse case, particularly Lynndie England, are held to gendered standards, while the male soldiers are discussed in terms that are nongendered. Further, analysis of the widely disseminated photographs suggests that where the Iraqi male prisoners are excessively gendered and homosexualized, the male soldiers have their presumed heterosexuality preserved. Examination of the Abu Ghraib case suggests implications for rhetorical scholars interested in gender, as well as larger cultural implications regarding the policy debates that arose as a result of the case.


This article was published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs and is available at

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