Gender Politics and the Nation Term Paper

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Gender Politics and the Nation

The historical development of the nation has impacted the ability of women to participate in contemporary politics by reinforcing gender roles in the public sphere. Traditionally, the exclusion women from the international community was linked to ideas of gender roles and today, these ideas continue to exclude women from international politics.

Traditionally, colonialism was driven by the Enlightenment ideal of using reason to obtain goals, a view that also saw females as irrational and emotional. Enloe notes, "Perhaps international politics has been impervious to feminist ideas precisely because for so many centuries in so many cultures it has been thought of as a typically 'masculine' sphere of life" (4).

Enloe argues that the status of diplomatic wives is tied closely to ideas of women as loyal supporters of their men, who were busy at the business of international relations. This view clearly shows the pervasiveness of ideas of notion of femininity vs. masculinity. As diplomatic wives, women were seen only in light of their gender. Similarly, the ideology of Republican motherhood confined women to the political function of raising children to be moral citizens of the larger public sphere.

The social and sexual contract impact the participation of women in the international sphere.

In the historical social contract, individuals gave up specific freedoms to engage in a civil society, while the sexual contract meant that women were largely excluded from engaging in the social contract. Today, international politics is influenced by these historical social and sexual contracts. Writes Enloe, "so far feminist analysis has had little impact on international politics. Foreign-policy commentators and decision-makers seem particularly confident in dismissing feminist ideas" (3).

These contracts continue to hold sway even though there is evidence that the dichotomy of masculine and feminine is false. Writes Enloe, "there is mounting evidence that they are packages of expectations that have been created through specific decisions by specific people" (3).…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Enloe, Cynthia. 2001. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics Updated Edition with a New Preface. University of California Press.

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