Militarism and heteronormative gender identities are co-constitutive. It is not that ‘masculinity’ generates war, as the question has been put, but rather that the process of militarization both draws on and exaggerates the bipolarization of gender identities in extremis. Mustering troops is all about the mobilization of men into aggressive expressions of hypermasculinity – they are ‘pumped up’ and as it were to facilitate their most murderous and pornographic capabilities. This is not just a masculinizing process of a particular quality, but an intersectional dynamic that also ‘works’ ethnicity, religion and other social distinctions, and very often appeals to racial supremacist constructions of ‘the enemy’. This is not just a matter of ‘prejudice’ or ‘traditional gender stereotypes’ – because this gendering of subjectivity is a process that lies at the dehumanizing heart of a systemic shift towards “war preparedness”.
Read the complete article on openDemocracy 50.50.
openDemocracy 50.50 has been covering the Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conferences since 2007 in articles written by participants and openDemocracy’s own authors. Visit their website for more coverage of our 2013 International Conference: Women Beyond War.