Women breaking the silence: Military service, gender, and antiwar protest

Orna Sasson-Levy*, Yagil Levy, Edna Lomsky-Feder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes how military service can be a source of women's antiwar voices, using the Israeli case of "Women Breaking the Silence" (WBS). WBS is a collection of testimonies from Israeli women ex-soldiers who have served in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The WBS testimonies change the nature of women's antiwar protest by offering a new, paradoxical source of symbolic legitimacy for women's antiwar discourse from the gendered marginalized position of "outsiders within" the military. From this contradictory standpoint, the women soldiers offer a critical gendered voice, which focuses on criticism of the combat masculinity and gendered identification with the Palestinian "other." While they reaffirm the republican ethos that grants political dominance to male soldiers, they also deconstruct the image of hegemonic masculinity as the emblem of the nation and undermine gendered militarized norms.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)740-763
Number of pages24
JournalGender and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • collective behavior/social movements
  • military
  • politics/state/nationalism


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