chapter  15
6 Pages

Is Feminism Being Co-Opted by Militarism?

ByAnnica Kronsell, Erika Svedberg

From the outset of this project we were motivated by a wish to contribute to feminist research; to show how the gender study/feminist toolbox may indeed deepen our understanding of how gender, as norms and practices, are embedded in war making and peace building. We wanted to learn about how other contemporary researchers in what we have come to know as Feminist Security Studies have found ways to analyze and further understand the zones of overlapping and uncertainty in these practices. These zones are places of metaphorical intersections, where women and men behave in ways that do not fi t the mold, where they do not behave in obvious ways. Or if they do behave in expected, obvious ways, performing the dichotomous gender relations that we are so used to seeing (i.e., boys/men as violent/active protectors; girls/women as peaceful and passive receivers of protection) Hearn urges us to ask ourselves why we stopped questioning the obvious (thereby contributing to making the obvious strangely invisible). When women’s heroic acts in confl ict are acts of violence, this tends to be ‘forgotten’ in post-confl ict times, as discussed by Parashar. Along the same lines, many of our contributors want to leave behind simplifi ed notions of masculinity as the cause of violence. As Higate says, post facto analysis of masculinity’s apparent ‘cause’ of violence can obscure nonviolent masculinities that should be harnessed, better understood and learned from as a key element of a strategy for change towards a more peaceful world. We need to further refl ect upon the complex links between masculinities and violence. Cockburn impels us to go to the root cause of the problem: the incessantly re-created structural power relations between men and women; women’s constant subordination to men.