The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State


Young, Iris Marion. 2003. “The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State.” Signs 29 (1): 1-25.

Author: Iris Marion Young


The American and European women’s movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s contained a large segment that organized around issues of weapons, war, and peace. Creative civil disobedience actions wove webs of yarn at entrances to the Pentagon and set up colorful camps on cruise missile sites in England’s Greenham Common. Writings of the women’s peace movement tried to make theoretical connections between male domination and militarism, between masculine gender and the propensity to settle conflicts with violence, and these echoed some of the voices of the women’s peace movement earlier in the twentieth century. By the early 1990s the humor and heroism of the women’s peace actions had been all but forgotten. Organized violence, led both by states and by nonstate actors, has certainly not abated in the meantime and has taken new and frightening forms (Kaldor 1999). Thus there are urgent reasons to reopen the question of whether looking at war and security issues through a gendered lens can teach lessons that might advance the projects of peace and democracy. In this article I analyze some of the security events and legal changes in the United States since fall 2001 by means of an account of a logic of masculinist protection.

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Violence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2003

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