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Seriously!: Investigating Crashes and Crises as If Women Mattered

Cynthia Enloe
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 258
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    InSeriously!, Cynthia Enloe, author of the groundbreaking analysis of globalization,Bananas, Beaches, and Bases, addresses two deeply gendered and contested questions: Who is taken seriously? And who gets to bestow the label "serious" on others? With a strategy of taking both women and gender dynamics seriously, Cynthia Enloe investigates the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair and the banking crash of 2008, the subsequent recession, as well as UN peacekeeping and the ongoing Egyptian revolution. Each case study highlights the gritty experiences of women in diverse circumstances-in banks, on the job market, in war zones, and in revolutions. The results of taking women seriously are fresh insights into what fuels the cultures of hyper-risk taking, of sexual harassment, and the denial of women's post-war security.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95666-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Who Is “Taken Seriously”?
    (pp. 1-18)

    Let me start with a confession: I spent a long time—too long—nottaking women seriously. That means I did not think I would gain anything analytically by paying close attention to women. I did not think that any explanation I could offer would be strengthened by my listening to women, observing women, or taking into explicit account the ideas and experiences of women. Furthermore, back then I did not think I would significantly deepen my understanding of men’s ideas, men’s decisions, and men’s actions by taking women seriously.

    Simply being a woman is no guarantee that you will...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Launching and Naming: Sexual Harassment and One Women’s-Studies Story
    (pp. 19-38)

    I had never heard the wordfeminist, certainly notpatriarchy, or evensuffragettes. This was the late 1960s, and my ignorance was not only stunning but also, given my upbringing, downright odd.¹

    My California-born mother had been a teenager when women won the vote, among the first generation of American women who came of age having the right to vote, won only in 1920. Once she could vote, she never missed an election. She was also among the small proportion of American women of her generation who had the chance to attend college. She chose an all-women’s college, Mills College,...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Mundane Matters: Why Feminists Take Daily Life Seriously
    (pp. 39-48)

    By definition, the “everyday” appears inconsequential. It appears not tomatter. How could paying attention to who makes breakfast add to our analytical powers? How could monitoring laundry take us deeper into causality? Surely, assigning weight to casual chats in the elevator or the banter before a meeting begins would be a waste of precious intellectual energy. The everyday is routine. It is what appears to be unexceptional. Devoid of decision making. Seemingly prepolitical.

    For an embarrassingly long time, I did not pay attention to the everyday. I, of course, lived it. My relationships with others—parents, friends, colleagues, interviewees...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR DSK, Vikings, and the Smartest Guys: Masculinities in the Banking Crash of 2008
    (pp. 49-85)

    An internationally powerful banker is accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid. A year later prosecutors charge him with organizing a prostitution ring during his years at the bank. Women working inside the same bank strategize to fend off unwanted sexual advances by their male colleagues. Simultaneously, inside other too-big-to-fail banks, women are made to feel like outsiders while cults of particular masculinities flourish. What is going on?

    Feminist-informed investigations expose some of the crucial dynamics that brought the banks crashing down in 2008. They reveal, too, the dangers of prematurely imagining that in the wake of the crash we...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Women in Recession: Austerity and Misogyny
    (pp. 86-113)

    Four years after the spectacular international banking crash of 2008, upbeat commentators were talking about the “recovery.” The Great Recession of 2008 was officially declared over by the end of 2012. For many women and men—in the United States, Ireland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Spain—the economic pain, however, was still acute. Joblessness and home foreclosures remained historically high. Loans were still hard to obtain. Pensions were uncertain as employers reneged on retirement pledges and stock markets continued their roller-coaster rides. And the effects of drastic national and local government budget cuts had just begun to be...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Militarism, Patriarchy, and Peace Movements: In Conversation with Cynthia Cockburn
    (pp. 114-123)
    Cynthia Cockburn and CYNTHIA E.

    What follows is a conversation between Cynthia Cockburn and me initiated by Marsha Henry and Paul Kirby, coeditors of a 2012 special issue of theInternational Feminist Journal of Politics, which was devoted to new research on the workings of masculinities during and after armed conflicts. Cynthia is a British feminist scholar-activist known internationally for her investigations of feminists involved in activism against militarism in a score of countries, including Colombia, India, Israel, Japan, Cyprus, and the former Yugoslavia. Among her best-known books areBrothers, The Space Between Us, From Where We Stand, and most recently,Antimilitarism

    Cynthia is on...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Failing to Secure the Peace: Patriarchal Assumptions and Their Consequences for UN Operations in Haiti; A Conversation with Nadine Puechguirbal
    (pp. 124-150)
    Nadine Puechguirbal, CAROL COHN and CYNTHIA ENLOE

    This public conversation took place on October 26, 2004, during the U.S. war in Iraq and a major UN peacekeeping and humanitarian aid operation in Haiti. The event was organized and hosted by the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, directed by Carol Cohn. Today, the Consortium is located at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Carol Cohn herself is a widely published feminist scholar in the field of gender and international politics. The venue for the 2004 conversation was the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University on the outskirts of Boston. Most of the members of...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Egyptian Women, Feminism, Revolutions: The Dinner Party
    (pp. 151-178)

    Marie-Aimee Helie-Lucas, Alexandra Kollontai, Olympe de Gouges, Abigail Adams, Nizihe Muhittin, Violeta Delgado, Antoinetta Saa, Nguyen Thi Kiem, Xiang Jingyu, and Egypt’s own early revolutionary feminist, Huda Sha’rawi. I am picturing all these women coming together for a feminist dinner party. Being a feminist meal, it would be a potluck, of course. Couscous, hummus, molokhia, pita bread, Hunan spicy chicken, ripe tomatoes, tofu, borsht, freshly baked baguettes, followed by bowls of longan berries and blueberries—all washed down with ayran, rice wine, cider, white wine, or vodka, followed by pots of black tea and green tea. The mood would be...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Conclusion: In the Eye of the Beholder
    (pp. 179-186)

    It can be daunting to realize that you have little control over who takes you seriously. In an effort to be taken seriously—or to have a topic you care about taken seriously—by the people you think wield influence, you can do some pretty risky things. You can devote a lot of time to trying to comprehend the priorities, worries, tastes, and even mere quirks of those influential people. They—the policy makers, the donors, the media editors, the prosecutors, the party leaders, the militia commanders, the international peacekeepers, the people with insider connections—gradually can become the most...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 187-206)
    (pp. 207-222)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 223-242)