Lady Leathernecks

Key Information

Lady Leathernecks: The Enigma of Women in the United States Marine Corps, By Connie Brownson

2016 [ISBN: 1-58107-288-0; 310 pages; 6 x 9 inches; soft cover] $28.95


LLB1covWebThis telling work directly addresses a critical issue within today’s US military. In contrast to the militant tactics of radical feminists or “living legends” vignettes, the research offered in this title presents female Marines’ experiences, opinions, and suggestions for women’s success in the USMC. The women interviewed by the author live the experience, providing nuanced, sometimes colorful, details of day-to-day military life that can never be captured by climate surveys and Likert scales. They share their mistakes, heartbreaks, successes, and love of God, Country, and Corps. They allow us to experience vicariously the enigma of being a female Marine. Not essentialist but pragmatic, their sense of kinship and equivalence provides a practical foundation for comprehending and, perhaps, “fixing” what allegedly is wrong with the U.S. military’s sex/gender relations.




Chapter One–Introduction: The Fewer, the Prouder, the Female Marines

Chapter Two–Infiltrating the Band of Brothers

Chapter Three–Initial Training: Is Separate Inherently Unequal?

Chapter Four–Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) & The Basic School (TBS): Entering and Navigating the Marine Corps Workforce

Chapter Five–Worlds Colliding: Living in Separate Spheres as Women & Warriors

Chapter Six–Professional Life in the FMF: The Enemy in our Ranks

Chapter Seven–The Balance of Power: Authority vs. Victimization

Chapter Eight–Personal Lives of Female Marines: Appeasing Greedy Institutions

Chapter NineSemper Fidelis

Chapter Ten–Future Research & Conclusions: Hail & Farewell

Appendix A–United States Marine Corps Rank Structure

Appendix B–The Articles of the Code of Conduct

Appendix C–Marine Corps Leadership Traits & Principles



About the Author


Connie Brownson’s Lady Leathernecks is perhaps one of the most compelling accounts of the motivation, attitudes, and service of Female Marines in today’s U.S. Marine Corps.  This is a work that will stand the test of time along with the late military sociologist Charles Moskos’ much-heralded  The American Enlisted Man, as an important sociological study written by a former Marine. Highly Recommended and definitely a keeper for Marines and sociologists alike!!
Leo J. Daugherty, III, Ph.D., U.S. Army Cadet Command & Fort Knox,
co-author of Parris Island: The Cradle of The Corps: A History of the United
States Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, 1562-2015

Lady Leathernecks asks, “What does it mean to be a female Marine?” Connie Brownson answers this question by challenging ideas entrenched on both the right and left. The reader encounters the dusty, fulfilling, patriotic, quirky, physically exhausting, and sometimes boring Marine experience through fascinating interviews with hundreds of women Marines. This boots-on-the ground view incorporates insights from military sociology and evolutionary psychology. In the process Brownson advances the notions of equivalence and kinship ties as a way to mediate the seemingly unreconcilable positions of woman as fully equal warrior and woman as victim.
Patricia M. Shields, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Texas State
University, and Editor, Armed Forces & Society

What a terrific read on such a relevant topic. Engagingly written and highly relevant to every Western defense organization. I predict great interest and much debate, as befits such an important contribution to the military sociology literature in general and the literature on military diversity specifically.
Nick Jans, Australian Defense Force Academy, Centre for Defense
Leadership & Ethics, Joint Education, Training and Warfare Command

Since the Panetta ruling in January 2013, the question of female accession into the combat arms has been the subject of intense public and scholarly debate. Connie Brownson’s vivid analysis of women’s integration into the United States Marine Corps, one of the world’s most elite and exclusive military forces, will become required reading for anyone interested in understanding this historic process.
Anthony King, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology. University of Exeter (UK)

The Author

Connie Ann Brownson was born in Houston, Texas, on September 29, 1964, to Jack and Kathleen Pecha. She attended Mount Carmel High School in Houston, graduating in 1983. After three semesters at Texas A&M University in College Station, Ms. Brownson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, completing Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, in March 1985. After completing training for MOS 1345, Engineer Equipment Operator, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Ms. Brownson began an 18-month tour of duty on Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan in September 1985. Ms. Brownson completed her active duty career stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, and then New River Air Station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, completing her contract in January 1989 as a Corporal.

Returning to Texas as a Marine Corps Reservist after activation at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Ms. Brownson graduated from Texas A&M in 1994 with a B.S. in Sociology and was inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta. She attended Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, in 1995, but was dropped due to a debilitating hip injury. She returned to Texas permanently as a civilian in March 1997 and entered the Master’s program in Sociology at Texas State University. She received her M.A. in May 2003. Currently, Ms. Brownson is completing her Ph.D. in Geography at Texas State. She is also an Adjunct Instructor of Geography at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.

In her spare time, Ms. Brownson conducts scholarly research and writes articles, contributing frequently to Armed Forces & Society. She enjoys her rural lifestyle, raising Boer goats on her small working ranch southwest of Austin, Texas. She enjoys competitive trail riding and participating in sporting clays tournaments. She is employed as an Administrative Assistant in Facilities Operations at Texas State University and has one daughter, Alexandra, one granddaughter, Charley Elizabeth, and another grandchild on the way.

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