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Femininity/ies

Fertile Memory (Al Dhakira al Khasba)

The first full length film to be shot within the disputed Palestinian West Bank "Green Line," Fertile Memory is the feature debut of Michel Khleifi, acclaimed director of the Cannes Film Festival triumph, Wedding in Galilee. Lyrically blending both documentary and narrative elements, Khleifi skillfully and lovingly crafts a portrait of two Palestinian women whose individual struggles both define and transcend the politics that have torn apart their homes and their lives.

Rattling the Binary: Symbolic Power, Gender, and Embodied Colonial Legacies

Citation:

el-Malik, Shiera S. 2014. “Rattling the Binary: Symbolic Power, Gender, and Embodied Colonial Legacies.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 2 (1): 1-16.

Author: Shiera S. el-Malik

Abstract:

In 2009, the 18-year-old South African runner Caster Semenya was accused of being male and forced to undergo gender testing. After much obfuscation and misreporting, Semenya was cleared to compete as a woman. Semenya’s experience exposes the problematic ways in which masculinity and femininity are harnessed to the categories of male and female as well as the ways in which they are embodied by men and women. This paper contemplates how binaries are mobilized and boundaries maintained – as is contemporarily evident in responses to Semenya’s gender troubles. It reads Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic power against an example of British Imperialism and illustrates how gender (and its uneasy mapping on to bodies) is implicated and imbricated in colonial historiography and knowledge practices. The paper concludes with Lois McNay’s suggestion that gender is a lived relation, which requires coming to terms with the relationship between agency and experience, and recognizes that gendered people are the subjects of social analysis. At stake in this examination of symbolic power, gender, and lived experience is the recognition of the consistency and resilience in binary manifestations of symbolic meaning and the insidious ways in which gender is mobilized, enacted, and layered onto other dualisms.
 

Keywords: colonialism, symbolic power, resistance, gender, experience

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations

Year: 2014

Private Security and Gender

Citation:

Eichler, Maya. 2015. “Private Security and Gender.” In Routledge Handbook of Private Security Studies, edited by Rita Abrahamsen and Anna Leander, 158-67. London: Routledge.

Author: Maya Eichler

Abstract:

In recent years, a new set of scholarship that focuses on gender and private security in global politics has emerged. This feminist and feminist-informed critical gender scholarship examines private security processes, practices, and actors through the lens of gender. It uncovers how private security shapes and is shaped by masculinities, femininities, and gendered relations of power. While gender has become established as analytical category in the study of private security, the treatment of gender in industry and policy discourses continues to be problematic. It is therefore necessary to distinguish critical from problem-solving approaches to gender and private security. A problem-solving approach frames gender issues as problems which can be solved by adding more female employees or including language on gender-based violence into regulatory frameworks. But such an approach underestimates the extent to which gender matters in private security.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security

Year: 2015

Love and Money in an Age of Neoliberalism: Gender, Work, and Single Motherhood in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua

Citation:

Cupples, Julie. 2005. “Love and Money in an Age of Neoliberalism: Gender, Work, and Single Motherhood in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 37 (2): 305–22.

Author: Julie Cupples

Abstract:

Based on qualitative research conducted in 1999 and 2001 with a group of single mothers in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, this paper examines the contradictory impacts of neoliberalism on work, based on the understanding that economic restructuring can generate both crisis and a space for changes in gender identities. By focusing on the broader picture of women's work and on the intersections between paid and unpaid work, it discusses what happens to these intersections in times of intense political and economic change. Despite the hardships caused by neoliberalism, it appears that work is a site in which gender ideologies can be challenged. The paper has four main sections. First, it explores the ways in which certain cultural processes are intensified under neoliberalism which affects the relationship between constructions of masculinity and femininity. Second, it assesses the impact of neoliberalism on domestic work and the implications of this for GAD (gender and development) understandings of the double burden and of how the balance of women's paid and unpaid work changes under neoliberalism. Third, it examines the ways in which hegemonic understandings of femininities and motherhood and revolutionary legacies can be resistant to the neoliberal present. Finally, it discusses how work under neoliberalism can be a site of female empowerment or self-esteem.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2005

Successful Girls? Complicating Post-Feminist, Neoliberal Discourses of Educational Achievement and Gender Equality

Citation:

Ringrose, Jessica. 2007. “Successful Girls? Complicating Post-Feminist, Neoliberal Discourses of Educational Achievement and Gender Equality.” Gender & Education 19 (4): 471–89.

Author: Jessica Ringrose

Abstract:

This paper examines how an ongoing educational panic over failing boys has contributed to a new celebratory discourse about successful girls. Rather than conceive of this shift as an anti-feminist feminist backlash, the paper examines how the successful girl discourse is postfeminist, and how liberal feminist theory has contributed to narrowly conceived, divisive educational debates and policies where boys' disadvantage/success are pitted against girls' disadvantage/success. The paper illustrates that gender-only and gender binary conceptions of educational achievement are easily recuperated into individualizing neo-liberal discourses of educational equality, and consistently conceal how issues of achievement in school are related to issues of class, race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship and location. Some recent media examples that illustrate the intensification of the successful girl discourse are examined. It is argued that the gender and achievement debate fuels a seductive postfeminist discourse of girl power, possibility and choice with massive reach, where girls' educational performance is used as evidence that individual success is attainable and educational policies are working in contexts of globalization, marketization and economic insecurity. The new contradictory work of 'doing' successful femininity, which requires balancing traditional feminine and masculine qualities, is also considered. (Abstract from original)

Topics: Education, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Globalization, Privatization

Year: 2007

Contested Communities: Class, Gender, and Politics in Chile’s El Teniente Copper Mine, 1904-1951

Citation:

Thomas Miller Klubock. 1998. Contested Communities: Class, Gender, and Politics in Chile’s El Teniente Copper Mine, 1904-1951. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Author: Thomas Miller Klubock

Annotation:

In Contested Communities Thomas Miller Klubock analyzes the experiences of the El Teniente copper miners during the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Describing the everyday life and culture of the mining community, its impact on Chilean politics and national events, and the sense of self and identity working-class men and women developed in the foreign-owned enclave, Klubock provides important insights into the cultural and social history of Chile.
 
Klubock shows how a militant working-class community was established through the interplay between capitalist development, state formation, and the ideologies of gender. In describing how the North American copper company attempted to reconfigure and reform the work and social-cultural lives of men and women who migrated to the mine, Klubock demonstrates how struggles between labor and capital took place on a gendered field of power and reconstituted social constructions of masculinity and femininity. As a result, Contested Communities describes more accurately than any previous study the nature of grassroots labor militancy, working-class culture, and everyday politics of gender relations during crucial years of the Chilean Popular Front in the 1930s and 1940s. (Summary from Duke University Press)

Topics: Class, Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Militarism Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 1998

Gendering Extraction: Expectations and Identities in Women’s Motives for Shale Energy Opposition

Citation:

Willow, Anna J., and Samantha Keefer. 2015. “Gendering Extraction: Expectations and Identities in Women’s Motives for Shale Energy Opposition.” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 5 (2): 93–120.

Authors: Anna J. Willow, Samantha Keefer

Abstract:

Situated in the emerging social movement context of Ohio's shale energy opposition, this article considers how women's motives for grassroots environmental engagement simultaneously reflect and direct ongoing transitions in gendered expectations and identities. Drawing on in-depth ethnographic interviews with sixteen female activists, we argue that women understand the catalysts for their initial actions and the ultimate goals of their ongoing work in ways that both corroborate and challenge conventional gender roles. To determine whether the motives articulated by our research participants paralleled those documented in earlier grassroots contexts and cases, content analysis was undertaken to identify themes pertaining to motives for shale energy opposition. This process revealed close and complementary interrelationships between themes that are customarily associated with feminine expectations and identities (e.g., Health of Children; Concern for Community) and themes that are not (e.g., Power, Control, and Justice; Environment and Ecology). While Power, Control, and Justice (usually categorized as masculine, but also a classic feminist point of entry into the political field) was the most mentioned Gendering ExtrACTION theme, both the second and third most prominent themes - Health of Children and Concern for Community - substantiate the continuing salience of traditional feminine roles. We thus suggest that women who oppose shale energy are called to action by a dynamic constellation of concerns encompassing home and away, personal and political. The coexistence of established and innovative femininities apparent in this activist arena indicates that women's motives for grassroots environmental engagement cannot be reduced to any single agenda or any simple expression or refutation of traditionally gendered feminine expectations and identities.

Keywords: environmental activism, ethnography, femininities, Ohio, shale energy, women and social movements

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Health, Justice Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2015

A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men’s Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region’s Masculine Structure

Citation:

Filteau, Matthew R. 2015. “A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men’s Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region’s Masculine Structure.” Rural Sociology 80 (4): 431–55. doi:10.1111/ruso.12072.

Author: Matthew R. Filteau

Abstract:

Rural economic decline in the United States has contributed to new situational conditions under which men construct masculinity. Under these conditions, men define jobs and activities that were feminized during periods of economic stability as masculine. One exception to rural economic decline for men is economic growth associated with oil and natural gas development in geographical hot spots throughout the United States and around the world. Employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry largely favor men; however, it is unclear what effect this development has on local men because itinerant extralocal male workers complete most of the labor. This article conceptualizes masculinity as a social structure, and uses economic reports and theoretically distinct literatures on natural-resource-based masculinities and energy boomtowns to illuminate how multinational energy companies and a predominantly extralocal, male itinerant workforce in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region cause adverse situational conditions for local men's constructions of masculinity. Within the new masculine structure, extralocal men's constructions of hegemonic masculinity become more important for defining the local socially dominant masculinity, which subordinates local men's constructions of nonhegemonic masculinities in their own communities. The article concludes with a discussion of how the oil and gas industry's hegemonic masculinity impedes sustainable economic development and community well-being.

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2015

War as Feminized Labour in the Global Political Economy of Neo-Imperialism

Citation:

Meger, Sara. 2016. “War as Feminized Labour in the Global Political Economy of Neo-Imperialism.” Postcolonial Studies 19(4): 378–92. 

Author: Sara Meger

Abstract:

This article examines the structures of international relations that facilitate political violence in postcolonial states. It explores the intersections of patriarchy and imperialism in the contemporary political economy to understand how armed conflict and political violence in postcolonial states form an integral element of the global economy of accumulation in deeply gendered ways. By focusing on the structural level of analysis, this article argues that the siting of armed conflict in postcolonial contexts serves to maintain neo-colonial relations of exploitation between the West and non-West, and is made both possible and effective through the gendering of political identities and types of work performed in the global economy. I argue here that armed conflict is a form of feminized labour in the global economy. Despite the fact that performing violence is a physically masculine form of labour, the outsourcing of armed conflict as labour in the political economy is ‘feminized’ in that it represents the flexibilization of labour and informalization of market participation. So while at the same time that this work is fulfilling hegemonic ideals of militarized masculinity within the domestic context, at the international level it actually demonstrates the ‘weakness’ or ‘otherness’ of the ‘failed’/feminized state in which this violence occurs, and legitimizes and hence re-entrenches the hegemonic relations between the core and eriphery on the basis of problematizing the ‘weak’ state’s masculinity. It is through the discursive construction of the non-Western world as the site of contemporary political violence that mainstream international relations reproduces an orientalist approach to both understanding and addressing the ‘war puzzle'.

Keywords: political economy, neo-colonialism, war, gender, feminized labour, feminist international relations, postcolonial theory

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Political Economies, Violence

Year: 2016

Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition

Citation:

Bulmer, Sarah, and Maya Eichler. 2017. “Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition.” Critical Military Studies 3 (2): 161–81. 

Authors: Sarah Bulmer, Maya Eichler

Abstract:

Feminist scholarship on war and militarization has typically focussed on the making of militarized masculinity. However, in this article, we shed light on the process of ‘unmaking’ militarized masculinity through the experiences of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. We argue that in the twenty-first century, veterans’ successful reintegration into civilian society is integral to the legitimacy of armed force in Western polities and is therefore a central concern of policymakers, third-sector service providers, and the media. But militarized masculinity is not easily unmade. Veterans often struggle with their transition to civilian life and the negotiation of military and civilian gender norms. They may have an ambivalent relationship with the state and the military. Furthermore, militarized masculinity is embodied and experienced, and has a long and contradictory afterlife in veterans themselves. Attempts to unmake militarized masculinity in the figure of the veteran challenge some of the key concepts currently employed by feminist scholars of war and militarization. In practice, embodied veteran identities refuse a totalizing conception of what militarized masculinity might be, and demonstrate the limits of efforts to exceptionalize the military, as opposed to the civilian, aspects of veteran identity. In turn, the very liminality of this ‘unmaking’ troubles and undoes neat categorizations of military/civilian and their implied masculine/feminine gendering. We suggest that an excessive focus on the making of militarized masculinity has limited our capacity to engage with the dynamic, co-constitutive, and contradictory processes which shape veterans’ post-military lives.

Keywords: militarized masculinity, veterans, experience, gender, military-to-civilian transitions, militarization

Topics: Civil Society, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization

Year: 2017

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