Masculinity/ies

Emasculating America’s Linguistic Deterrent

Citation:

Cohn, Carol. 2019. “Emasculating America’s Linguistic Deterrent.” In Rocking the Ship of State: Toward a Feminist Peace Politics, edited by Adrienne Harris and Ynestra King, 153–70. New York: Routledge.

Author: Carol Cohn

Annotation:

Excerpts:

“I have three primary objectives in this project. The first is to describe, analyze, and explore the effects of technostrategic discourse – the language and ways of thinking that defense intellectuals have developed to speak about nuclear weapons, strategy, and warfare” (Cohn 2019, 154).

“My second objective goes beyond describing and understanding this discourse. Stated in the strongest possible terms, I wish to render this discourse 'impotent and obsolete' (to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan). I wish to expose its limits and distortions, its underlying assumptions and values, and the vast gaps between what it claims to do and what it actually does, so as to break its stranglehold on our scholarship, our policy decisions, our national political processes, and our imaginations” (Cohn 2019, 155).

“My third objective is to foster the development of more truly realistic, effective, and humane ways of thinking about international security and cooperation” (Cohn 2019, 155).

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Peace and Security, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security

Citation:

Cohn, Carol. 2020. “‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security.” In Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 179–90. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Carol Cohn

Keywords: military language, North Korea, nuclear weapons, metaphor, euphemism, gender, masculinity, gender and language, national security, language and thought

Annotation:

Summary:

On Jan 2, 2018, President Trump tweeted a taunt to Kim Jong-un of North Korea: “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” This chapter connects Trump’s nuclear saber-rattling to broader patterns of militaristic language use among nuclear weapons scientists and strategists, as well as among past presidents. Professional and political discourse about nuclear weapons tends to be far removed from the human realities behind the weapons. Such dispassionate language is characterized by stunningly abstract and euphemistic language – and in part by a set of lively and misogynistic sexual metaphors. This linguistic framework seems to shape what can be said, or even thought, within the confines of these male-dominated discussions of war. Those who urge restraint in responding to a provocation or attack, for instance, are quickly impugned as sissies, and expressions of empathy denigrated as feminine. In this respect, Mr. Trump is not an exception. His fear of being perceived as unmanly may be closer to the surface, but gendered language that constrains our understanding of reality has long distorted the ways we think about international politics and national security. (Summary from publisher)

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: North Korea, United States of America

Year: 2020

Australian Women’s Anti-Nuclear Leadership: The Framing of Peace and Social Change

Citation:

Maleta, Yulia. 2018. “Australian Women’s Anti-Nuclear Leadership: The Framing of Peace and Social Change.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 19 (6): 70–86.

Author: Yulia Maleta

Abstract:

This article addresses a gap on hegemonic masculinity/emphasized femininity and essentialism/constructivism within the Environmental New Social Movement (eNSM). Utilizing my interviews with Australian women members of environmentalist New Social Movement Organisations (eNSMOs), including eNGOs, academic institutions and the Greens party, I adopt a constructivist approach towards emphasized femininity, arguing that women-led strategies, strengthened through agentic competence contributes to global peace, whilst challenging the patriarchal control of environmental governance (Cockburn 1988, 2012). My feminist sociopolitical model is framed by resistance to ruling class masculinity, emphasizing participants’ gender performativity, advocating anti-nuclear agendas (Warren 1999, Gaard 2001, Butler 2013). Constructivism is relayed by the way women activists’ resist patriarchy as a barrier, in terms of ‘hierarchy’, ‘man-made decisions’ and ‘power…terrible nasty stuff’. Moreover, women accommodate emphasized femininity as an empowering enabler, framed by women-led strategies, described as ‘revolutionary’, ‘mother and child’, ‘social responsibility’ and ‘environmental protection’, whilst advocating sustainability (Leahy 2003, Connell 2005, Culley and Angelique 2010, Maleta 2012).

Keywords: emphasized femininity, women, constructivism, Anti-nuclear, sustainability

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Analysis, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Patriarchy, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: Australia, Guatemala

Year: 2018

The United States–India Nuclear Relations after 9/11: Alternative Discourses

Citation:

Das, Runa. 2012. “The United States–India Nuclear Relations after 9/11: Alternative Discourses.” Asian Journal of Political Science 20 (1): 86–107.

Author: Runa Das

Abstract:

In this article, I go beyond the conventional realist arguments of anarchy, national interest, and nuclear security to offer alternative discourses of the same as applied in the context of US–India nuclear relations after 9/11. To this extent, I draw from feminist International Relations, that security is a gendered phenomenon, to explore how the post-9/11 climate of globalization has served as the context within which are articulated masculinist forms of nuclear discourses between India and the United States. Furthermore, considering issues of international hierarchy and power relations between India and United States, I also draw from Edward Said's Orientalism to explore how assumptions of Orientalism are also sustained in these masculinist nuclear discourses. My contribution in this article lies in offering an alternative feminist and post-colonial perspective to comprehend that nuclear security discourses are not only about objective realist/neoliberal issues of insecurity and strategic interdependence but also contain subjective implications that sustain masculinist and orientalist forms of identity-making in international politics.

Keywords: United States, India, nuclear security, masculinity, orientalism, discourse

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: India, United States of America

Year: 2012

More Bang for Your Buck: Nuclear Weapons and Their Enactment of Colonial and Gendered Power

Citation:

Urwin, Jessica A. 2016. “More Bang for Your Buck: Nuclear Weapons and Their Enactment of Colonial and Gendered Power.” ANU Undergraduate Research Journal, no. 8.

Author: Jessica A. Urwin

Abstract:

Analysing the nuclear weapons regime through both postcolonial and feminist frameworks demonstrates that the possession of nuclear weapons has incredibly important implications for the security agenda. While both postcolonial and feminist scholars have delved into the relationships between their respective disciplines and the dynamics of the nuclear weapons regime, gaps in the scholarship ensure that postcolonial feminist critiques of the regime are lacking. This article endeavours to combine postcolonial and feminist critiques to demonstrate how the nuclear weapons regime is underpinned by pertinent gendered and colonial assumptions. These assumptions ensure that certain states are prioritised over others; namely, the behaviour of nuclear weapons states is considered more legitimate than that of ‘rogue states’, their desire for nuclear weapons hinged upon racial, colonial and gendered assumptions of legitimacy. Closely analysing the gendered and colonial dynamics of the nuclear weapons regime sheds light upon how patriarchy and imperialism have shaped the security agenda in regard to nuclear weapons.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Analysis, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Peace and Security, Security, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: India, Pakistan, United States of America

Year: 2016

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

Radioactive Masculinity: How the Anxious Postcolonial Learnt to Love and Live in Fear of the Nuclear Bomb

Citation:

Roy, Dibyadyuti. 2016. “Radioactive Masculinity: How the Anxious Postcolonial Learnt to Love and Live in Fear of the Nuclear Bomb.” PhD diss., West Virginia University.

Author: Dibyadyuti Roy

Abstract:

Radioactive Masculinity explores how the Cold War legacy, of nuclear weapons finding resonance in images of white maleness and masculinity, results in anxious hypermasculine performances. These discursive and physical masculine acts contingent on the symbolic and material power of nuclear weapons, I argue, represent radioactive masculinity, a form of hegemonic militarized masculinity, which is intrinsically linked to the concept of nationhood and sovereignty. This idealized masculinity is fluid and cannot be tangibly or materially realized, much like the constantly decaying radioactive bomb on which it is modeled. Through analyzing a wide range of artifacts from America and India, I show that the anxieties of radioactive masculinity produce belligerent masculine performances, which are always volatile and unsuccessful. While existent scholarship has examined the gendered nature of nuclear technology, the cultural effect of unexploded nuclear weapons has been seldom researched. My project remedies this gap by locating physical and cultural sites in America and India, where the materiality of the bomb is made visible through its associations with male corporeality. This relationship, I argue, is indispensable toward understanding both the continued legacy of the Cold War within the Indian subcontinent, as well as its effects on postcolonial subjectivities.

The dissertation begins with an introductory chapter that chronicles the rise of radioactive masculinity within the American military-industrial complex. Here, I analyze official US government documents and related materials, which perform the equation of the bomb to the hardened white male body. I show that while nuclear technology is not inherently gendered, both the bomb and its production spaces were pre-discursively masculinized in order to counter dual insecurities: of post-Depression era American emasculation and a hypermasculine Nazi Germany. Next, I bring in a comparison to Indian governmental documents to further describe how the transference of American radioactive masculinity into postcolonial spaces creates postcolonial nuclear borderlands, which are co-extensive with all nuclear postcolonial spaces everywhere. Chapter 2 examines the formation of a (pseudo) nuclear public sphere in America— resulting from the crisis in official publicity about the bombin the period following the cessation of above ground testing. By juxtaposing canonical Anglo-American nuclear disaster fiction with postcolonial speculative fiction, Chapters 3 and 4 emphasize that the structures of radioactive masculinity are fluid and not bound to specific spatio-temporal contexts. In Chapter 5, a comparative analysis of Leslie Silko’s Ceremony with postcolonial Indian texts from the eco-conservationist Bishnoi community demonstrate how tactical storytelling challenges the strategic structures of radioactive colonization. My dissertation concludes with an examination of minority anti-nuclear cultural productions, which by challenging the ideology of nuclear nationalism implicit in radioactive masculinity, deconstructs dominant Anglo-American nuclear historiography. By challenging the symbiotic relationship between radioactive masculinity and nuclear nationalism these texts initiate Nucliteracya dynamic multimodal form of literacythat interrogates dominant and official publicity/secrecy about the bomb. (Abstract from original source)

 

Keywords: radioactive, postcolonial, nuclear bomb, masculinity, gender, post-apocalyptic

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: India, United States of America

Year: 2016

Gendering Nuclear Disarmament: Identity and Disarmament in Sweden during the Cold War

Citation:

Rosengren, Emma. 2020. “Gendering Nuclear Disarmament: Identity and Disarmament in Sweden during the Cold War.” PhD diss., Stockholm University.

Author: Emma Rosengren

Abstract:

This dissertation provides new knowledge about gender, nuclear weapons and disarmament. Previous feminist research has shown that in contexts where positive associations are made between military strength, masculinity and nuclear weapon possession, it is hard to imagine nuclear renunciation and disarmament as anything other than potential emasculation or feminization. Meanwhile, empirically based feminist theorization about gender, nuclear renunciation and disarmament remains a blind spot. This dissertation uses Sweden as a case to analyze nuclear weapon renunciation and disarmament from a feminist angle. As one of the countries that had the opportunity to acquire nuclear weapons – and considered doing so for some time – before deciding to become engaged with international disarmament aims instead, Sweden is an interesting case to study. The empirical focus is on disarmament policymaking in relation to the Swedish nuclear weapon debate (1954–1968) and the submarine crisis (1981–1989). The study draws on a broad set of primary sources, ranging from government speeches and parliamentary records to media output including comics and personal correspondence and diaries. Approaching the nuclear weapon debate and the submarine crisis as arenas for debating disarmament policy, and understanding disarmament policymaking as historically situated and marked by gendered, nationalized and sexualized power structures in specific contexts, the dissertation contributes empirical and theoretical insights relevant to feminist IR theory, and to nuclear history and IR studies more broadly. Contrary to previous feminist theorizing about disarmament as associated with femininity and/or emasculation, my findings suggest that Swedish disarmament policy was co-constructed with certain forms of masculinity, and that alternative policy discourses and identity representations were feminized and sidelined to the margins. The dissertation suggests that rather than assuming preconceived linkages between nuclear weapons possession and masculinity on the one hand, and disarmament and femininity on the other, it is necessary to challenge such binary conceptualizations and investigate how masculinities and femininities, and nuclear weapon and disarmament policy, have been co-constructed in specific historical contexts. The opposite, to depart from preconceived conceptualizations about gender and policy not only contributes to the reconstruction of gender, but also rules out alternatives to nuclearized security strategies and nuclearized masculinity. The dissertation provides a methodological and theoretical framework for further research on the making of disarmament policy from a feminist perspective.

Keywords: feminist theory, nuclear disarmament, nuclear weapons, gender nation sexuality, dentity and policy, identity and policy

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Analysis, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Peace and Security, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: Sweden

Year: 2020

‘Maternal Thinking’ and the Concept of ‘Vulnerability’ in Security Paradigms, Policies, and Practices

Citation:

Cohn, Carol. 2014. “‘Maternal Thinking’ and the Concept of ‘Vulnerability’ in Security Paradigms, Policies, and Practices.” Journal of International Political Theory 10 (1): 46–69.

Author: Carol Cohn

Abstract:

This article takes as its starting point Sara Ruddick’s discussion of “vulnerability” in her 1989 groundbreaking book Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. It examines the kind of thinking about vulnerability that Ruddick describes as developed through maternal practice and uses it as a heuristic device for rethinking the conceptions of and responses to vulnerability that permeate national and international security discourses. It explores the specific forms of practice and reason that are implicated by these different stances toward vulnerability and shows that the (often unexamined) assumptions underlying these stances are profoundly consequential for both policy and practice. Specifically, it takes both nuclear weapons and the so-called Global War on Terror as particular forms of response to perceived vulnerability and scrutinizes the practices associated with each in light of the forms of rationality arising from maternal practice. It also explores the assumptions underlying the concept of “vulnerable groups” commonly employed in international policy institutions, teasing out their implications for politics, policy, and action. Overall, it argues that Ruddick’s articulation of maternal thinking provides a valuable resource for reimagining transformed and transformative security practices.

Keywords: maternal thinking, nuclear weapons, security, vulnerability, war on terror

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

Year: 2014

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