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POLS 2200 Lecture Notes - Sexual Assault, Cynthia Enloe, Postmodernism

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2200
Mark Yanisziewski

of 3
November 15th, 2012
Alternatives to the mainstream
War and imperialism affect women differently than men
80% of all refugees were women and children
Abu Ghraib prison - men faced sexual assault
Far more likely that women will be victims of sexual assault and rape in a warzone compared to
Women assaulted in a deliberate and systematic fashion
Sexual assault as a weapon
Women are much more likely to be coerced to perform sexual acts for food, water, shelter
Essentialist Feminists
Women: mothers, compassionate
If we observe behaviour of men and women
o We see men act as warriors
o Women: mothers
Partly created by difference in socialization: masculine and feminism
Key differences for essentialists is that men and women are biologically different
Biological socialization observation
Men masculine warriors
Women feminism mother
Women create life, biologically predisposed to be more nurturing, and compassionate by nature
Men are isolated from this process, and resentful of ability to give life
Women are more likely to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts because of their nature
If women lead politically environment, less or no war
Essentialists part of Women suffrage movement and early peace movements (especially during
time of WWI)
o Women's Peace Party was created by Crystal Eastman
o Held international women's peace conference (representatives from USA, Europe to
o If women were more pacific, gentle and peaceful, characteristics a war torn world
needed to emphasize
o If war is product of men, peace could be product of women
Virginal Woolf
Not sure if women are peaceful and pacifist as they say
The way they participated in war or at least in part, had to be seen in the positive light
For first time ever, women entered workforce
Women found the experience liberating, not property of fathers, brothers, husbands
Margaret Thatcher, Joanna of Arc, Indri Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto
November 15th, 2012
Women participating in war and fighting in war
FARC, Tamil tigers, red army faction (west Germany)
o Many prominent roles women have played in combat
Liberal feminists
Look at essentialist argument and they say biology is not the cause of the observed behaviour
Socialization plays the key role why men and women are different
Biological differences are constant throughout time (Biology is a constant)
If we looked at the observed behaviour, it is not a constant
It is true most societies throughout history we find patriarchies, we also find matriarchies
Socialization is what creates the change in observed behaviour
Core of liberal feminist argument
Men and women can do the exact same thing by the virtue of them bother being human beings
If we socialize men and women the same way, we will get the same result...but we don't
Women engage in foreign policy
Liberal feminists believe international system anarchic, realists
Post-modern feminists
Mainstream ignores women, it doesn't even realize it is ignoring women
Mainstream has gender bias in war
Post-modern theorists say if you adopt all the assumptions, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecies
More critical of their liberal feminist cousins
o Argue liberal feminists have made terrible error
o Liberal feminists merely want to play power politics like the big boys but they don't
challenge the underlying assumptions that created that dynamic in the first place
The liberal feminists achieved equality, but it is equality on male terms
Play existing on existing rules created by patriarchy
Cynthia Enloe (b. 1938)
Best known for book "Bananas, Beaches and Bases"
One of the topics she tackles in her book is how gender roles contributed to colonialism and
o You cannot explain colonialism and imperialism solely on economics
o Gender specific values and concepts play a role in the colonial experience
Men are caught up in this discourse, that they felt they needed to maintain this world view
Gender plays a massive role in imperliasm
November 15th, 2012
J. Ann Tickner
Former head of international study...something
Best known for article in 1997 "You Just Don't Understand: Trouble Engagements between
Feminists and IR Theorists"
Her main thesis was, feminist scholars talking past one another, not engaging in debate
o Don't have common vocabulary to have a conversation or debate
Mainstream is avoiding women
One person who responded to Tickner was Robert Keohane
o Post-modern theory lack scientific rigor
o Make theories and claims
o He is a positivist
o Says theories very vague
o She said: thank-you, you just don't get it, want to test theory
o Fact-value distinction (what are facts and matter of thoughts)
o What constitute evidence