Reliable Professionals, Sensitive Dads and Tough Fighters

Citation:

Mäki-Rahkola, Anne, and Henri Myrttinen. 2014. “Reliable Professionals, Sensitive Dads and Tough Fighters.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (3): 470–89. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.755834.

Authors: Anne Mäki-Rahkola, Henri Myrttinen

Abstract:

The significance and complexity of mostly male-dominated military peacekeeping forces continues to grow globally, as does the complexity of the masculinities performed in them. This article discusses the discourses and performances of peacekeeper masculinities, drawing on a qualitative case study of Finnish peacekeeping forces. The self-image of Finland as a provider of ideal peacekeepers and practising progressive gender policy is critically analysed. Taking the notion of multiple masculinities as a starting point, three indicative categories of Finnish peacekeeper masculinities are examined. Discourses of ‘amateur professionals’ and ‘peacekeeper fathers’ create space for military peacekeepers to show aspects of masculinity not associated with traditional military masculinities. The third discourse of ‘tough fighters’, however, harks back to more traditional ‘warrior’ concepts. Official gender mainstreaming efforts and assumptions that these attitudes are internalized ‘naturally’ by Finns are put into question by deprecatory or ambiguous attitudes towards gender equity and sexual exploitation. Despite being part of multi-national forces, peacekeeper masculinities are defined based on presumed notions of ‘national character’.

Keywords: Finland, gender mainstreaming, masculinities, peacekeeping, performativity

Topics: Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Finland

Year: 2014

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