Last Updated 27 Mar 2020

The Stereotypical Image of the American Soldier

Category Soldier
Essay type Research
Words 1012 (4 pages)
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Military supremacy is what makes a nation a superpower—with the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States of America is undeniably the only superpower left in the world. No other country at the present world can come close to America’s military prowess.

Because the foot soldier is the basic unit of the military, their image is of utmost importance. However, like most professions, there are stereotypes related to the American soldier. These stereotypes, used as propaganda to intimidate the forces of the enemy, may be traced back to the Second World War or maybe earlier (Snellman).

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Since wars are not that “encouraged” anymore, the image of the American soldier has been shaped mostly by media, which also paved the way for stereotypes on the American soldier to develop. Stereotypes Because the world has not a seen a major, full-scale, and closely contested war since Vietnam or Korea (Wars after those were mostly one-sided), the image of the American soldier has not been covered as much as they were during times of major conflicts. Movies provided the civilians with an alternative into developing their perceptions regarding the American Soldier.

Sadly, these perceptions that the public has come up with are stereotypical and sometimes offensive. The American Soldier as a White Male When we first think of the visual image of the American soldier, the first thing that we would imagine is that of a white male.

An American soldier is usually visualized as white, standing bravely with a gun on his hand. This is the case because of two things. First, the whites are considered as the majority race in the US, so the chances of a soldier being white are quite high.

Second, the American soldier is also thought to be white most of the time because of the history of the US—In the past up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and maybe until now, the blacks were discriminated greatly.

This translated into the white soldier as the image of the American soldier, even if the African-Americans played an important role during the Civil War. The American soldier is also stereotyped as a male simply because our society is generally a patriarchal society despite the rise of feminism. The American soldier is thought (and should be) to be strong physically.

Being physically strong is not an attribute that is associated with women, thus creating the image of the American soldier as masculine. The American Soldier from the Lower Class A job in the army has never been a glamorous or desired job for the public.

Enlisting in the army is stereotyped as a last resort to earn a living because the person cannot afford to go to college or get a high paying job. There is some element of truth into this stereotype because this scenario is usually the case. However, that does not mean that all soldiers are from poor economic backgrounds.

Some of them may really want to join the army despite having other bigger opportunities as a civilian. This stereotype may also have surfaced because the army does not even require a high school diploma (Army. com). The American Soldier as an Independent, Self-reliant, and Assertive Individual Despite being part of the most powerful (in force and number) and advanced army in the world, the American soldier, when he or she is by him- or herself, is stereotyped as independent, self-reliant, and assertive, as they ought to be.

The strength of the army is measured by the strength of its soldiers. If even one of its soldiers does not possess the said traits, the strength of the army maybe compromised. Therefore, the public thinks highly of our soldiers as having all those traits mentioned.

Sometimes, while practicing their independence or by trying to assert themselves, soldiers may be branded as aggressive, but it is only their eagerness to be independent and assertive that they become stereotyped as aggressive.

The public expects the American soldier to be aggressive because they are supposed to be combat-ready all the time. The American Soldier as a Strict, Stiff, and too Disciplined Person Discipline is one of the core values of the military. Army personnel are expected to conduct themselves properly at all times, but that does not mean that they are always like that even when they are not on duty. Media have portrayed our soldiers as being too strict, too conscious about discipline, and stiff in their movements, even (or especially) the retired ones.

This is not a realistic portrayal of the soldiers because it is highly doubtful that they are like that to their families. Although we could expect military men referring to civilians as “Sir” or “Ma’am,” the chances of father and mother soldiers barking orders at their children and making them do push-ups, crunches, and all those military punishment are slim. The American Soldier as a Grown Man Pictures of American soldiers in the news and especially depictions in movies are almost always a picture of a mature man. Rarely do we see young soldiers slugging it out on the screen.

This stereotype of the American soldier is partly true and partly false—true because today, even if the army does not even require a high school diploma, it is mostly the experienced men that go out into the field, and false because during the previous wars, a lot of young men were forced into battle because of the scarcity in military personnel. Now, young men are no longer forced into action because the army has a lot of experienced men ready to battle all the time. Conclusion The American soldier is one of the enduring images of patriotism in the United States.

The American soldier’s image has developed stereotypes through the years because of media coverage and portrayals in films. This has led the public into coming up with stereotypes that are now synonymous to the term American Soldier.

Works Cited

Snellman, Pekka. “The Grunt: Analysis of a Stereotype. ” Power Pride and Politics in American English. 22 March 2006.

University of Tampere. 27 March 2009. <http://www. uta. fi/~pekka. snellman/us8. htm>. Army. com.

Requirements to Join the US Army. 27 March 2009 <http://www. army. com/enlist/requirements. html>.

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The Stereotypical Image of the American Soldier. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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