In his compelling evaluation of Cold War popular culture, Pulp Vietnam: War and Gender in Cold War Men’s Adventure Magazines
(Cambridge UP, 2020), Gregory Daddis explores how men's adventure magazines helped shape the attitudes of young, working-class Americans, the same men who fought and served in the long and bitter war in Vietnam. The 'macho pulps' - boasting titles like Man's Conquest, Battle Cry
, and Adventure Life
- portrayed men courageously defeating their enemies in battle, while women were reduced to sexual objects, either trivialized as erotic trophies or depicted as sexualized villains using their bodies to prey on unsuspecting, innocent men. The result was the crafting and dissemination of a particular version of martial masculinity that helped establish GIs' expectations and perceptions of war in Vietnam. By examining the role that popular culture can play in normalizing wartime sexual violence and challenging readers to consider how American society should move beyond pulp conceptions of 'normal' male behavior, Daddis convincingly argues that how we construct popular tales of masculinity matters in both peace and war.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digital–in people’s lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.