A Feminist Perspective on the Nuclear Weapon Discourse and its Gendered Consequences


Butale, Cheludo Tinaye. 2019. “A Feminist Perspective on the Nuclear Weapon Discourse and Its Gendered Consequences.” PhD diss., Cyprus International University.

Author: Cheludo Tinaye Butale


Nuclear weapons continue to be seen as a crucial aspect of international security. However, the international security discourse tends to overlook the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons which has led to various feminists questioning the importance and effectiveness of the nuclear weapon discourse. This paper explores the nuclear weapons discourse and the gendered consequences of the discourse. It examines the way in which the nuclear weapons discourse and practices favour ideas of masculinity over femininity which has created barriers towards ending nuclear weapons and bringing about effective disarmament. I argue that the gendered language used within nuclear discourses has resulted in a gendered masculine-coded language and values based on rationality or state interests that exclude feminist’s values of including a humanitarian perspective within the nuclear discourse. A feminist theory, mainly post-structural feminism shall be used to show how international security is a gendered phenomenon which articulates masculinity forms of nuclear discourses. Few if any studies use the post-structural feminism theory to critique the nuclear discourse. The paper concludes by suggesting ways the nuclear discourse can be improved and made effective.

Keywords: femininity, masculinity, nuclear discourse, nuclear weapons

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Peace and Security, Security, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Year: 2019

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