Heather Marie Stur: The debate over women in combat is about gender roles — what is appropriate for men and women to do in wartime. It is also about symbolism — what the American soldier symbolizes about U.S. power and military strength.
Heather Marie Stur, Ph. D., is assistant professor of history and fellow in the Center for the Study of War & Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era (Cambridge, 2011).