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“As Our Muscles Get Softer, Our Missile Race Becomes Harder”: Cultural Citizenship and the “Muscle Gap”

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The “muscle gap” was a period of Cold War anxiety projected onto the bodies of young, white males that produced a discourse fixated on their perceived softness and openness to communist penetration. The underlying anxiety was that youth would be unable to uphold the “national heritage” of expansionism built by the hard (white) men of previous generations. Looking at cultural citizenship as a process of subject-formation sheds light on how a racial project can simultaneously be a gender project that (re)produces a racial-gender order where whiteness and hegemonic masculinity are markers and repositories of superiority, domination, and privilege.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6443.2005.00253.x

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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