Department of Defense materials that were not meant for recruiting women often showed a vast division between men and women, and reinforced traditional gender roles. In Builders of Faith: The Moral and Spiritual Responsibilities of Religious Leaders and Citizens of All Faiths to Young Americans in Today’s World, a pamphlet distributed to members of the armed forces clergy, the DoD portrays an idea of female enlistment that goes directly in the face of female recruiting materials. In a question and answer section, the pamphlet says:
Q: Does service in the Armed Forces change a woman’s attitude towards having a home and family of her own in the future?
A: A woman’s natural instincts are for a home and family. Whether she serves a tour of duty in the military, works in an office or at a profession, or engages in some other endeavor, she never loses her interest in being a woman and a homemaker. A good many young people have met and have been married while in military service. Whether her marriage takes place then or later, chances are she will marry a former serviceman. She is likely to be a better wife and mother because of her military training. She will better understand the importance of daily routine and discipline, having learned in the military. She and her husband will have the common interest of past military life, and a shared mutual relationship which will make their marriage relationship much closer. Then, too, women everywhere are sought out when there are tasks to perform that women do exceptionally well. So it is in the military. If there’s a Sunday School class to teach, a nursery nearby or entertainment to plan, the officers and enlisted men alike turn to the woman in their ranks because she is a woman and can do that job particularly well. All of these contribute to her future success and happiness as a wife and mother.[^]
This mentality supports Elaine Tyler May’s thesis that the containment ideology of the Cold War was mirrored in the domestic lives of young Americans.[^] May argued that young adults were “homeward bound,” and bound to the home as a result of political, ideological, and institutional developments that converged at the time.[^] Many of these same forces coalesced into inelastic gender roles, making the breadwinner/homemaker domestic family the ideal form.[^] These trends define feminine roles almost exclusively as wives and mothers, bolstering the male breadwinner role that defined ideal manhood in the era. To the clergy at least, women’s military service did not provide them independence via a career, income, training, or travel, but instead trained them to adjust to the men of the era. Because of their military service, the pamphlet states, women would be able to bend to the needs of the former male soldier. Through these sorts of depictions, both explicitly and implicitly, gender differentiation was solidified, and masculinity was given the superior position in the binary.