International relations are based on patriarchal norms – states are constructed and legitimized through masculinity making violence inevitable
Jacqui True (Professor of Politics & International Relations and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Monash University, Australia. She received her PhD from York University, Toronto, Canada and has held academic positions at Michigan State University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Auckland. She is a specialist in Gender and International Relations.), June 2015, “A Tale of Two Feminisms in International Relations? Feminist Political Economy and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda”, Critical Perspectives, Politics & Gender, 11 (2) (2015), pg. 419-421, Accessed: 7/10/16
A photo depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin in chivalrous fashion, placing his coat around the shoulders of China’s first lady at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) dinner made headline news around the world in November 2014 (Allen-Ebrahimian 2014). Surely this is not the serious stuff of international politics, IR colleagues commented in social media forums? But from a feminist perspective that pays attention to the pervasive gendering of IR, the image was not at all surprising or trivial. Indeed, the gender symbolism of the image reveals the patriarchal foundations of international politics. Putin, for his part, personifies the linkages between the figure of the male provider — at the heart of global economic governance and meetings like APEC — and the figure of the male protector of “womenandchildren” (Enloe 1993) — at the heart of the security state system.Feminist political economy (FPE) analysis reveals the analogy between male heads of households and the masculine state. Both equally control the lives of dependents under the guise that it is in their best interests.Their unequal power is violent, but the violence is masked by virtue and love (Young 2003, 6). Such analysis helps to explain the prevalence of men’s violence against women in the private household as well as the male dominance of state-sanctioned war and conflict. Modern forms of patriarchal households themselves were formed through the force of industrialization and regime of accumulation in and for the formation of warring sovereign states (Mies 1986; Peterson 1992). However, the gendered division of labor between economic production in the market and social reproduction in the household has obscured men’s violence vis a` vis dependents inside households compared with men’s violence outside vis a` vis other “enemy” groups. Through a feminist political economy perspective we can see how the security state is constructed and legitimated through the masculine role of the provider in the patriarchal family-household and how the state appears a legitimate protector writ large to citizens when it uses force abroad, often in the name of women and children.This essay advances the case for an integrated feminist analysis of international relations inspired by the multidimensional account of women’s security in IR feminist scholarship. Crucially, FPE makes the link between the “male provider” and the “male protector” in explaining the prevalence of men’s violence from the private household to the public realm and in state-sanctioned war and conflict. The importance of an FPE approach to international security is illustrated with respect to the UN Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Such an approach opens up new areas of research and ways of addressing IR challenges. GENESIS OF FEMINIST INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The FPE approach is no news to many IR feminist scholars and indeed harks back to the earliest articulation of a feminist perspective on IR. Cynthia Enloe, for instance, makes feminist sense of global politics, integrating the study of political economy and security politics with ethnographic methods and her trademark curiosity-driven inquiry. Enloe (2010) analyzes the fallout of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the political regime changes ensuing from the Arab Spring from the perspective of women’s lives. She does not separate these distinct events as matters of international political economy or international security respectively. Instead her gendered lens explores the similarities across them, highlighting their masculinist logics and disproportionate gendered effects. Ann Tickner (1992, 55 –56, 66) mounts a powerful argument contra IR realism, pointing out that international security must encompass ecological, economic, and physical security at all levels — individual, state, and global. She (1992, 23) states that because of “the sexual division of labour, men’s association with violence has been legitimated through war and the instrument of the state.” Thus, she argues that IR “feminist perspectives must introduce the issue of domestic violence and analyze how the boundaries of public and private, domestic and international, political and economic are permeable and interrelated.” Crucially, the linkage of war to violence against women should be part of any comprehensive account of security (Tickner 1992, 55). Following the lead of these trailblazing scholars, IR feminists are examining so-called private or domestic forms of violence against women and not just that violence through the prism of security studies, war, and conflict. They are confronting regimes of unequal entitlements, masculine hegemonies that hold hierarchical political economic orders together at every level. One of the things the state should be is a protector — but today this means that all states are expected to pass laws prohibiting domestic and sexual violence, for instance. States, even authoritarian ones, must be seen to doing something to address gendered violence to respond to the now globalized social movements that are making this violence visible.
Violence becomes the normal expression of masculinity under patriarchal paradigms
Hans in 2010 (Asha Hans is the former Director, School of Women’s Studies, and Professor of Political Science, Utkal University, India. She is the author and editor of many publications related to women’s rights, the latest being The Gender Imperative, coedited with Prof. Betty Reardon (2010). Her book Gender, Disability and Identity (2003) is a globally recognized seminal work coedited with Annie Patri. An advocate of women’s rights, she has participated in the formulation of many conventions in the United Nations. A leading campaigner of women’s rights in India, she has initiated many campaigns on the inclusion of women with disabilities in the mainstream women’s movement. She is also the founder of Women with Disabilities India Network. “14 Human Security the Militarized Perception and Space for Gender” The Gender Imperative pages: 384 – 409)
Fear and Domestic Violence The connection between highly militarized societies and domestic violence has been well established. Besides rape, there are other types of violence perpetuated against women’s bodies. During shelling, when tension increases and women show fear, men assault them physically. In Drass, the wife of a policeman related that she is regularly beaten up by her husband as she screams whenever the shells fall. When there are problems in accessing basic necessities, it also leads to domestic violence. The women and girls of Kargil feel that their inferior status in society, dependence on men and the discrimination that they face are causes for violence. ‘We cannot work nor sit quietly at home. We cannot do anything. Whatever we do is not right, there is always tension at home. It is brought in by our husbands, frustrated with the awam (nation) … can we do anything to stop this violence?’ Unemployed husbands losing dominant positions at home, discussions of war in public spaces frequented by men and humiliation by outsiders have resulted in aggressive masculinity. Zorica Mrscevic analyses a similar situation in former Yugoslavia, where domestic violence is ‘caught in a vicious circle of mutual consequences and causation along with patriarchy and war’ (2000: 42). The community shrinks during war as travel is limited and in nuclear families there is no one to act as a barrier to the domestic violence faced by women. In a situation where the military plays decisive roles, violence is a way of life, and women and children live in fear of violence from within and outside the home. Violence against women in the private has been kept outside the legal framework of most countries, thus providing legitimacy to the acts. States such as India have now started to recognize it as a crime. During confl ict no conceptual distinction emerges between public and private and violence becomes a continuing threat against women in both spheres. This normalization of violence against women as observed in the cases of Okinawa and the women of Jordan (see the articles by Kozue Akibayashi and Suzuyo Takazato, and Norma Nemeh) must be avoided as in long term-military presence it remains a constant threat to women’s human security. Violence cannot be considered only as a crime but a human rights abuse, as the women of Okinawa demonstrated. Violence and Masculinity in Conflict Situations In any conflict situation, national chauvinismexalts both militarism and masculinity. In this situation, violence becomes the normal expression of masculine identity. Heroes, patriots and martyrs are projected in terms of power and honour. Each nation state at war adds on to these two structures on which masculinity is endorsed. In this environment, patriarchy emerges as a significant marker of militarist nationalism, where men hold power and control over women. This culture of power is part of the masculine discourse and mainstreamed into the ‘natural’, not viewed as an aberration of human nature. All countries at war produce their own version of the masculinist approach. In the South Asian subcontinent, on the borders of India and Pakistan, local versions of masculinity emerge during conflict to be used by leaders and supporters of war. In October 2001, for instance, after the loss of the Kargil War, President Musharraf of Pakistan was still sending messages to the Indian counterparts through the media of continuing the war, declaring that: ‘We in Pakistan have not worn bangles’ (The Tribune 2001). Bangles are worn by women and denote femininity and weakness. Prime Minister Vajpayee replied in a public address: ‘In Punjab men also wear ‘kada’ [steel bracelet]’ worn by the Sikhs a martial race (The Tribune 2001). The kada is the religious epitome of Sikh valour. Masculinity is not an overarching homogeneous attribute. It has its own complexities which the war system makes use of to sustain it. As methods of war change, the masculine determinants modify. The new wars enclose within themselves new methods such as increased use of intelligence agencies, or terrorism — war then becomes ‘good’ and can be used for protecting civilians from both external and internal elements which are intermingled. The internal security becomes closely linked to the external as it did in the USA after 11 September. It happened in many countries such as in Sri Lanka and India (both in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East), where security forces play an important role in protecting national security. This removal of lines between war and peace affect women’s in daily lives.
The alternative is to view international relations through a gendered lens. A gendered view of IR is necessary to conceptualize security and the relationship between nations and provide an alternative to present patriarchal system.
Hans and Reardon in 2010 (Asha Hans is the former Director, School of Women’s Studies, and Professor of Political Science, Utkal University, India. She is the author and editor of many publications related to women’s rights, the latest being The Gender Imperative, coedited with Prof. Betty Reardon (2010). Her book Gender, Disability and Identity (2003) is a globally recognized seminal work coedited with Annie Patri. An advocate of women’s rights, she has participated in the formulation of many conventions in the United Nations. A leading campaigner of women’s rights in India, she has initiated many campaigns on the inclusion of women with disabilities in the mainstream women’s movement. She is also the founder of Women with Disabilities India Network. “Introduction Challenging Patriarchal Violence” The Gender Imperative pages: 1-4)
It is past time to begin a serious consideration of alternatives to war and the multiple forms of state-sanctioned violence of the militarized political, economic and social structures that comprise the global security system. So, too, it is time to recognize that this global system of violence is the manifestation and mainstay of patriarchy. The wellbeing and survival of the human family make it imperative that this system be challenged. Approaching the imperative through the lens of gender with particular reference to the experience of women clearly reveals the multiple and severe human security deficits of the present international system of state security. Many feminists and other peace advocates welcomed the emergence of the concept of human security as the idea that would instigate the long awaited and much needed scholarly and public discourse on alternative security systems. The notion of alternatives to the war system is one that has held the attention of a narrow sector of the international peace research community since its founding in the early 1960s. In the decades immediately following World War II several serious plans for legally constituted international institutions capable of preventing war, and ultimately abolishing it, were circulated among academics and other citizens in proposals for a stronger United Nations advanced by groups such as the World Federalists, a movement that followed in the tradition of western philosophy that had for several centuries explored the problematic of permanent peace. However, this same tradition of political thought also produced political realism and its assertion of the need for force to maintain order and resolve conflicts. Tragically, the political realism so characteristic of patriarchal thinking that has governed the modern world has consigned these proposals — even the most practical and well detailed — to the political Siberia of Utopia. One of the core purposes of this book is to reclaim utopia in its original sense, as a diagnosis, indeed, a denunciation of the injustices and follies of the dominant order. It will approach this purpose through a challenge to the present international security system in an assessment of the systemic and constant insecurity to which it subjects the world’s vulnerable populations, most particularly and universally, women. The myriad ways in which women have suffered gender-specific, negative affects of war and armed conflict have been thoroughly documented in the literature of women, war and peace as will be seen in the references to the various articles. This volume is an attempt to build on that well laid foundation with an exploration of human security as a conceptual framework for an alternative to the present dangerous and destructive militarized state security framework. The articles included in this volume seek to contribute to opening discussions that go beyond the assessments and lamentations of imposed, unnecessary suffering under the extensive and excessive global system of militarization by encouraging inquiry into the achievement of human security through the demilitarization of the present system. Suggestions to facilitate such an inquiry appear in the Conclusion. The contributors — female and male feminist scholar-activists — hope to widen and deepen the current discourse on human security by demonstrating that the welfare — perhaps the survival — of the world’s vulnerable and most probably even of the powerful requires the demilitarization of state security. We hope to open discussion on the construction of systems of authentic national security based on the human security of peoples rather than the protection and perpetuation of the interests of states. The present patriarchal state security system is at best prejudicial to women, and at worst openly oppressive of half the human family. Through consideration of the most essential gendered aspects of security that derive from the multiple forms of the global patriarchy, this volume provides both challenging and promising perspectives on the most severe threats to the human future. The contributions are constructed within a comprehensive feminist framework of human security, the conceptual core and basis of the gender imperative. This conceptual core is the assertion that human security derives from the experience and expectation of wellbeing of persons, communities and the planet which sustains them. Human wellbeing, it asserts, depends upon four essential conditions for the maintenance and continuation of human life: a life-sustaining environment; the meeting of essential physical needs; respect for the identity and dignity of persons and groups; and protection from avoidable harm and expectation of remedy for unavoidable harm. Each article addresses one or more of these four fundamental elements, demonstrating that women have unequal or no access to the elements addressed, and illuminates the integral relationship of these elements to the human security, not only of women but of all human beings. The major assumption that influences the analyses and the arguments for change presented here is that patriarchy, the hierarchy of power and privilege which advantages men over women, rich over poor and heavily armed over the defenceless, is the germinal paradigm from which most major human institutions such as the state, the economy, organized religions and the social relations of the family and community have evolved. The present security system functions to maintain this global patriarchal hierarchy, the most severe manifestation of which is constant, pervasive and often lethal violence against women. Gender violence is a daily occurrence in virtually all societies.Its severity and frequency is always heightened by regular presence of military, war and armed conflict. A second significant assumption of the framework and analyses is that the fundamental inequalities inherent in the multiple contemporary forms of patriarchy, evident in most of the world’s cultures and institutions, pose obstacles to the realization of the human security of such vast numbers of men and women as to threaten human survival. It is argued that these inequities must be challenged for the sake of survival, equality and security, each of which we assert to be integral one to the other; and that the approach to that challenge so fundamental and essential to its success as to be imperative is gender. A third central assumption is that the frustration of the experience and the expectation of human wellbeing is a continuing cause of armed conflict and war. War, in this time of weaponry of unprecedented destructive capacity that produces irreparable environmental damage and infrastructure destruction at enormous economic cost, poses the widest and most serious threat to wellbeing and to the very survival of all life on earth. These assumptions lead to our central assertion that the present highly militarized global system of state security is not only incompatible with human security, but represents the foremost barrier to planetary security. Human security, we assert, cannot be achieved within this system. The challenge raised here is a call to the transformation of the present system into one intentionally and specifically designed to achieve human security. The articles included in this volume highlight the assumptions, assertions and arguments of the framework by demonstrating the patriarchal nature of militarized security systems, documenting the system’s gendered effects, offering examples of approaches to human security, identifying obstacles to its achievement and describing efforts and initiatives toward overcoming the obstacles. It is our hope that this book will encourage people to think critically and systematically about militarized security, particularly the ways in which it threatens human wellbeing and survival; to provide evidence to refute the utility and viability of the dominant patriarchal paradigm; and to offer a gender analysis that challenges the current system so as to encourage inquiry into ways toward transformation and change through consideration of alternatives to militarized security. Toward the fulfilment of these purposes we have organized the book into four sections. The three articles in the first section provide a theoretical foundation, focusing on the conceptualization of human security and outlining the comprehensive feminist security framework which provides the analytic lens for reflection on the following sections. The second section offers evidence from various societies, establishing the integral relationship between patriarchal violence and the state security system. The third section recounts instances of efforts to seek authentic security in actions and strategies to roll back the patriarchal violence of militarized state security. The fourth and final section describes alternative ways of thinking about striving toward human security, working within the constraints of the present system yet seeking to transform it. We conclude with a sample inquiry to facilitate reflection on and discussion of the human security implications examined by suggesting the kinds of queries that might help to initiate a process of communal reflection and action of the kind we believe to be essential and integral to assessing possibilities and strategizing for transformational change toward the actual realization of positive visions of human security, liberating the concept from the Siberia of Utopianism into the reality of practical politics.