Manly States and Feminist Foreign Policy: Revisiting the Liberal State as an Agent of Change


Duriesmith, David. 2018. “Manly States and Feminist Foreign Policy: Revisiting the Liberal State as an Agent of Change.” In Revisiting Gendered States: Feminist Imaginings of the State in International Relations, edited by Swati Parashar, J. Ann Tickner, and Jacqui True, 51-68. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Author: David Duriesmith


Support for antiviolence campaigns represents a significant step forward in mobilizing the state in achieving feminist goals, while at the same time these actions uncover underlying tensions in challenging gender inequality by drawing on institutions defined by masculine modes of action. This chapter looks at the HeForShe campaign as a recent state attempt to pursue profeminist policies in the international arena. It argues that the use of the liberal state as an agent of change risks a quixotic search for a “good” masculinity as a basis for the state achieving feminist change. Comparing HeForShe to masculinities theorization on gender activism, the chapter challenges the notion that states can internationally break free from their masculinist underpinnings without adopting the position of being reflective allies to feminist causes. (Summary from Oxford Scholarship Online)

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Violence

Year: 2018

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at