"Serve Canada with Men Like These": Masculinity, "Peacekeeping," and National Identity in Cold War Canada, 1956-1959

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Jaques, Bronwyn Elizabeth
Canada , Cold War , Gender , Masculinity , Military , Recruitment , Media , Advertising , Peacekeeping , National identity , Anti-modern modernism
This paper explores the ways in which the construction of militarized masculinities in Cold War Canadian media reflected the hegemonic masculinities and broader social trends of the period. This paper focuses specifically on the recruiting materials produced for and by the Canadian Army between 1956 and 1959, the time of the Suez Canal Crisis and the beginnings of “Canadian peacekeeping.” Through the mobilization of modern and anti-modern masculine identities attached to hegemonic and idealized Cold War Canadian masculinities, the Army created the image of the “Modern Warrior” to portray itself as an occupation and culture for “real Canadian men.” This identity simultaneously corresponded with Canada’s new “peacekeeping” identity. By presenting certain images of Canadian manhood as the “ideal” Canadian identity and by associating this “ideal” masculinity with military service, the Army’s recruitment advertisements conflated Cold War rhetoric of service, defence, national citizenship, cultural belonging, and “ideal” ethnicity with a Canadian identity available only to a specific (and often exclusive) segment of society. Because military service has long been considered the crux of citizenship, these advertisements (re)entrenched patterns of middle-class, heterosexual, Anglo- Saxon masculine power and dominance in a time of social uncertainty and cultural anxiety through the reaffirmation of this group’s “privilege” to serve the nation.
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