Down the Rabbit Hole: International Security and Gender

“…through understanding and placing notions of gender at the centre of any debate on security we unleash a series of interlocking understandings of the way people of either sex relate to fear, violence, insecurity, violence, and the institutions of war and peace.”
 
–Caroline Kennedy-Pipes, “Gender and Security”
Source: Contemporary Security Studies, 2nd edn, by Alan Collins, Oxford University Press, NY, NY, 2010
 
 

I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole with this one.  Dr. Megan MacKenzie and I had a discussion on Twitter about women in combat (I wrote a blog post here) and for years, I interacted with Kelly Smith, a pastor in the United Methodist Church, who is a feminist.

 
Now you have to understand where I’m coming from – I’m a white, male, Christian, conservative.  You can probably guess that I know little of feminism and what I do know, I generally don’t agree with.  Yes, yes, women are equal to men and have the same rights, of course I believe that.  It’s the more, shall we say, liberal aspects that I tend to disagree with.
 
Anyway, having recently finished Contemporary Security Studies, I find that my knowledge of philosophy is woefully lacking for understanding the various schools of thought (constructivism, post-marxism, neoliberalism, etc.).  In particular, the Copenhagen School seems to be very influential these days and so I’ve gone back and started reading to try to fill the gaps in my knowledge.  Reading Dr. MacKenzie (see the first chapter of her book, Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone) introduced me to Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, as well as feminist theory – and believe me, it never occurred to me that feminist theory would have ANYTHING at all to do with the subject – I mean, I grew up on Rambo and (the original) Red Dawn under Reagan.
 
Also, I went to Seminary many moons ago, and briefly had my face rubbed in Feminist Theology, but I bailed – I wasn’t ready, and I freely admit it – to engage the subject.
 
Now I am, and so into the exploration of gender and security and theology and technology and how they relate to feminism I go.  Half of the world is female, and many female scholars working in International Relations and Security have studied these concepts, so I think it’s worth it to at least understand it, even if I don’t agree with it.  I’m starting with Judith Butler’s Undoing Gender.  I’ll keep you posted…
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3 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole: International Security and Gender

  1. I find Israel’s stance on women in combat (including special forces) to fit the unique circumstances of that country. USA Gender studies are often dismissed as victim hood groupthink, overseas gender studies should vary with national or tribal culture and prove enlightening. Certainly the discussion of Islam requires discussion of the (mis) treatment of women.

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