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Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives

Cynthia Enloe
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 437
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Maneuverstakes readers on a global tour of the sprawling process called "militarization." With her incisive verve and moxie, eminent feminist Cynthia Enloe shows that the people who become militarized are not just the obvious ones-executives and factory floor workers who make fighter planes, land mines, and intercontinental missiles. They are also the employees of food companies, toy companies, clothing companies, film studios, stock brokerages, and advertising agencies. Militarization is never gender-neutral, Enloe claims: It is a personal and political transformation that relies on ideas about femininity and masculinity. Films that equate action with war, condoms that are designed with a camouflage pattern, fashions that celebrate brass buttons and epaulettes, tomato soup that contains pasta shaped like Star Wars weapons-all of these contribute to militaristic values that mold our culture in both war and peace.Presenting new and groundbreaking material that builds on Enloe's acclaimed work inDoes Khaki Become You?andBananas, Beaches, and Bases, Maneuverstakes an international look at the politics of masculinity, nationalism, and globalization. Enloe ranges widely from Japan to Korea, Serbia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Britain, Israel, the United States, and many points in between. She covers a broad variety of subjects: gays in the military, the history of "camp followers," the politics of women who have sexually serviced male soldiers, married life in the military, military nurses, and the recruitment of women into the military. One chapter titled "When Soldiers Rape" explores the many facets of the issue in countries such as Chile, the Philippines, Okinawa, Rwanda, and the United States.Enloe outlines the dilemmas feminists around the globe face in trying to craft theories and strategies that support militarized women, locally and internationally, without unwittingly being militarized themselves. She explores the complicated militarized experiences of women as prostitutes, as rape victims, as mothers, as wives, as nurses, and as feminist activists, and she uncovers the "maneuvers" that military officials and their civilian supporters have made in order to ensure that each of these groups of women feel special and separate.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92374-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xx)
  4. 1 How Do They Militarize a Can Of Soup?
    (pp. 1-34)

    For several years I kept a can of Heinz tomato and noodle soup on the kitchen counter. I had bought it in a London supermarket. I don’t know whether Heinz marketed this particular canned recipe around the world or decided it would sell best only in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. At the time it seemed more Reaganesque than Thatcherist. I was never tempted to eat the contents. I brought it back to Boston in my luggage just so I could keep looking at it, puzzling over its deeper militarized meanings.

    The formula was a familiar one. The Heinz chefs had added...

  5. 2 The Laundress, the Soldier, and the State
    (pp. 35-48)

    Measuring the crumbling remains of Roman sandals is a tedious business. One has to be inspired by a strong hunch that one is on the trail of something significant. Carol van Driel-Murray, the Dutch archeologist, thought she was.

    Flavius Cerialis, the commander, [was equipped] with exceptionally elaborate openwork shoes (which for full effect must have been worn with coloured socks); his wife, Sulpicia Lepidina, with a narrow, extremely elegant foot .... She had sensible closed shoes as well as fashionable sandals stamped with the maker’s name: Lucius Aebutius Thales, surely the first designer label in history.¹

    All of Carol van...

  6. 3 The Prostitute, the Colonel, and the Nationalist
    (pp. 49-107)

    The United Nations Fourth Conference on Women seemed to offer a good chance for the Clinton administration to demonstrate its commitment to women’s rights. Prominent women’s advocates such as Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, were appointed by the White House to the official U.S. delegation. Hillary Clinton was set to deliver at the conference a rousing indictment of misogynist violence and economic discrimination. But what exactly would the American government’s delegation to the UN conference propose when it arrived in Beijing in September 1995?

    The State Department was a hub of activity in the weeks...

  7. 4 When Soldiers Rape
    (pp. 108-152)

    Prostitution seems routine.

    Rape can be shocking.

    Prostitution can seem comforting to some. They imagine it to be “the oldest profession.” Around a military camp prostitutes connote tradition, not rupture; leisure, not horror; ordinariness, not mayhem. To many, militarized prostitution thus becomesunnewsworthy.

    Rape, by contrast, shocks. It shocks, but then it loses its distinctiveness. Typically, when rape happens in the midst of war, no individual soldier-rapists are identified by the victims, by their senior command, or by the media (if there). The women who suffer rape in wartime usually remain faceless as well. They merge with the pockmarked landscape;...

  8. 5 If a Woman Is “Married to the Military,” Who Is the Husband?
    (pp. 153-197)

    The recent spate of feature films inspired by the novels of Jane Austen may seem an odd place to look for information on militaries. Most commentators note that Jane Austen herself, while acutely aware of the Napoleonic wars embroiling Britain and the nations of Europe during her lifetime, deliberately chose to keep her fictional lens angled away from the battlefield; she focused instead on the parlor.¹ But in her final novel,Persuasion,published in 1818, Jane Austen seemed intent on persuading her readers that marrying an officer in the Royal Navy was a very wise decision for a smart, spirited...

  9. 6 Nursing the Military: The Imperfect Management of Respectability
    (pp. 198-234)

    Every few years we need to take a long, questioning look at figures whom we routinely deploy as collective reference points and about whom we assume we know all we need to know: Sojourner Truth, for example, or Mary Wollstonecraft, or Sappho, or Florence Nightingale. I have been forced to do some serious reimagining of Florence Nightingale recently. Ten years ago I thought I knew what I needed to know about the Victorian nursing pioneer. Now I’m not so sure.

    The image of Florence Nightingale that comes to mind must be from a picture book I once saw. Florence Nightingale...

  10. 7 Filling the Ranks: Militarizing Women as Mothers, Soldiers, Feminists, and Fashion Designers
    (pp. 235-287)

    Militaries can have a hard time getting all the “manpower” they think they need. This fact may come as a surprise. It is surprising to those who imagine that all men, at all times, naturally want to soldier. They don’t. Many men may be loathe toadmitthat they want to avoid soldiering. That, however, is a different matter, a contingent story of individual men negotiating with society over the norms of masculinity.¹

    Masculinity has been intimately tied to militarism, yet the two sets of ideas are not inseparable. Masculinity and militarism might be pictured as two knitting needles; wielded...

  11. Conclusion: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
    (pp. 288-300)

    I first read Virginia Woolf's classic antiwar essay,Three Guineas,back in the early eighties, at about the time I was carrying the can of Star Wars tomato soup home from Great Britain in my knapsack.¹ Woolf had finished writing that book in the year I was born. But it took me decades to get to the point where I could read it and absorb what she was saying. I didn’t want others to have to wait so long, so I began making it an integral part of a seminar on women and militarization. With different groups of students, I...

  12. Endnotes
    (pp. 301-378)
  13. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 379-398)
  14. Index
    (pp. 399-418)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 419-420)