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International Relations Assignment Exploring Perspectives of Feminist scholars


Task: You are required to prepare an international relations assignmenton the topic ‘Feminist scholars have offered a powerful critique of international relations theory, but they have also transformed our understanding of the causes of conflict.’ Critically analyse this claim.


Introduction to the theme of international relations assignment
International relations theories give us an understanding of the way the international systems function and how the nations engage with one another and look at the world. Varying from the strategies that are equality-centric or liberal to concepts that are realist, the theory of international relations is used by the experts of international relations and the diplomats who dominate the government's direction in regards to a political concern or an issue. On deconstructing the theory of international relations, the feminist analysts argued that the theoretical foundations are male-defined (Viotti and Kauppi, 2019). They believe that International Relations are built around the male-female dichotomy where the females are defined as “other"and are assigned roles that are gender-specific where the women are excluded from the public sphere. This study will shed light on how the feminist scholars have transformed our understanding of the causes of the conflict in the International Relations.

Main Discussion
The perspectives of the feminist scholars on International Relations The advancements of feminist scholars to the International Relations have portrayed gender as a crucial tool for the analysis of the communications between the states within the international framework. However, despite the numerous efforts made for the construction of a better International Relations Theory, the impacts of the feminist analysts were very little. The top-notch decision and policy makers confidently dismiss all kinds of feminist ideas. Furthermore, the role of women in generating sustainable international politics was not treated as worthy enough to be considered for any kind of investigation (Aggestam et al., 2019).

The feminist scholars have pointed out that the lack of feminist ideas in International Relations is because the International Relations Elite is only meant for men which mean that only men and women are not competentenough to look after international politics. Professor Ann Tickner represents the radical feminist author who defended the incorporation of the women's issues in International Relations. It was stated by Tickner that the international relations are a masculine domain, which is why it was suggested by many male scholars the transformation is required in the way world politics functions (Tickner and True, 2018). This is so because all the behaving patterns of the state in the study of International Relations are entirely dependent on the experiences of the male bodies. A huge body of human experiences has been ignored which can potentially increase the number of options which can enhance the ways of thinking of about the practices of the interstate (Hooper, 2019).

The contribution of the feminist scholars in the study of International Relations is not just for the inclusion of women in international politics but it is much more than that. The period between 1970 and 1980 was the era when the position of women in international economic development was recognized (Johnston, 2018). It provided a theme for justice, development and peace among others. As a result, there was an emergence of a new field which was known as Women in Development (WID) which projected how male biasness in the process of development has resulted in the poor implementations of the projects which resulted in insatiable outcomes.

In the sphere of foreign policies, it was revealed by the feminist scholars that the policy makers comprised of the male body. These makers of policy were considered to be the actors who were strategically rational and made decisions regarding life and death under the idea of an abstract conception of national interest.

Introduction of Feminism in the theory of International Relations
Feminism is a much broader term used for the works of the scholars who have bought forward the various gender concerns in the academic study of International relations. Who have also introduced global politics to the feminist theory and the queer theory. In the study of International Relations, the approach of the feminists was grouped in a broad category that was termed as reflectivism, which represented the deviation from the approaches and adhered to the rational outlook (Murphy, 2019). The reflectivist approaches also included the concepts of Constructivism, post-colonialism, and post-structuralism. So that identity plays a bigger role in framing a policy that is of material interest. One of the most impactful works of Cynthia Enloe, the feminist scholar was Bananas, Beaches and Bases. This text pointed out the various roles played by a woman in the global politics- as a worker the plantation sector or diplomatic wives or as a sex worker in a military base. The feminist's scholars pointed out to us the main cause of conflict in the theory of international relations that is the gender biases or gender inequality. Enloe has put forward her idea regarding the inclusion of women in global politics. She also feels that masculinity needs to include during the discussion of war but the other issues concerning the girls and women should also be equally focussed (McGlinchey, 2017).

In relation to feminism in International Relations, some the feminist scholars of International Relations suggests making use of the "feminist consciousness" while viewing to the various issues regarding the gender in politics.

It has been challenged by feminist scholars regarding the absence of the females in the theory of International Relations and practice. The contributions of the feminist in the International relations can be assessed through the way they deconstructed the gender as a power organizing logic and as identities that are socially constructed. This refers to recognising and then challenging the assumptions about the gender roles of the feminist and masculine that dominate the fact the men and women that contribute towards global politics (Peterson, 2018). These politics frame the global politics and the effects these have upon the lives of men and women gender and International Relations are two different spheres and it does not affect each other. The theory of feminism has pointed out that International Relations are blind towards gender. The feminist scholars take both the genders seriously. The first major contribution of feminism was to make women visible. The feminist theorists revealed the fact that women did not take part in any major decision-making. It had been estimated in the year 2015, by the World Bank that only 22.9% of the women make up the national parliament globally (Ple?a, 2020).

The feminist theorists have worked hard to demonstrate that the difference between public and private is false. The feminist scholars deconstructed the gender norms that were socially created. They indicated that both men and women should be taken seriously in International Relations. The construction of the gendered identities was demonstrated by the feminist scholars, they defined the idea and the distinction between the word 'sex' and 'gender'. 'Sex' is biological whereas the concept of 'gender' is something that has been constructed. The concept of gender is socially constructed in a way that it is associated with to the male and the female body – the behavior that is suitable to a particular trait is termed as ‘male’ or ‘female’.

Masculinity is usually associated with different traits like power, rationality and independence and the public sphere. Feminity, on the other hand, is associated with certain traits like domesticity, irrationality, the one needs protection and the private sphere (Rajan, 2018). All these norms are socially constructed which makes people hold a preconceived notion about the existence of women in society. Such notions highly influenced the global politics as well as International Relations Theory. Cynthia Enloe, a feminist scholar who is well known for her works on gender and militarism mainly focused on deconstructing what the concept of international and personal. She portrayed how the actions of both men and women affect the global politics and how these activities are highly dependable on gendered identities. Traditionally the gender that constitutes the military, as well as the war making, is seen as masculine endeavours which is associated with the idea that men hold more power and they are the protectors of the society. The sexual violence of women has entered the international agenda (Rodó-de-Zárate and Baylina, 2018). All these events highlight the essentiality of intersectionality thathas helped in understanding that international relations are not only shaped by gender but also by class, ethnicity, race and identity. Intersectionality is the concept that where such identities intersect the identities and how a particular group. The gender constructions in which women are viewed as protected meant conquering them through sexual violence or gender.

Feminism has highlighted the sexual violence of and the acute marginalization of women that is prevalent in the global politics. There are also some preconceived notions regarding the fact that women are peaceful in nature whereas the men are considered to be way powerful who are capable of handling bigger responsibilities. These notions are a part of gender inequality. The feminist scholars have worked very hard to erase these gender inequalities and make a position for them in global politics (Keohane, 2020). The feminist theorists worked hard towards disrupting these notions regarding gender identities and this is a very important contribution to of feminist scholars in the global politics. Therefore considering feminism to be important is not just about women marginalization but it’s also about the entire picture of global politics.

Barriers to the femininities and the body of a female
Various theories come into play while discussing about the female body or feminism and the function of the female in the International Relations. One such theory is known as the constructivist theory. It puts forward an idea that sex is biological and one is born with it, it refers to being natural whereas gender is considered to be a social construct. The approach of the feminists in International Relations gives us a theoretical understanding of gender relations and the consequences of the female bodies. Women all around the world face a higher level of criticisms for their actions, behavior, and personalities with the private and public sphere. The role of women has always been stereotyped. They have always been considered to be incapable of handling difficult situations which was the biggest reason by women could not make their place in International Relations. People held the perception that a politically ambitious woman is either too masculine or too feminine who may not be capable of the job certain organizations demand. This was typically viewed as women can only take care of the various issues related to women like abortion or education and men on the other hand are seen as taking care of national security, military or the economy. Men have always been associated as someone powerful whereas the notions regarding the female body were totally different (Newton, 2019). This typical way of thinking can be termed as 'essentialist' which portrays the deeply held notions of men and women.The theories of gender highlights highlights the limitations of the categories of linguistics and asserts the importance of intersectionality that values the concrete context of culturalism over essentialism which in order words also stands as patriarchy and universalisms and the sex and the binaries are problematized.

The socio-economic status of women must be considered. Despite the fact that women in the western countries have undertaken education much more than the countries in the east still there exists a higher socio-economical difference between the status of a man and a woman. This throws a greater impact on the status of women as employment is considered to be related positively to an individual’s ability to gather political information and also helps in building political efficacy (Daddow, 2017). There are greater barriers that exist in a woman's entrance into Global politics that is their link with the private sphere. The campaigns on media coverage are detrimental to the ability of a woman in attaining a political office. Media gives more importance to physical appearance and lifestyle rather on the questions regarding political campaigns. Overall the view of woman is stereotyped and they are often considered to be capable of many tasks.

Criticisms regarding the feminist approach
There have been a lot of controversies for the application of the perspectives of the feminists in International Relations. It is crucial to know about the benefits of the feminist's perspectives. It has been pointed out that the experiences of the western countries cannot be used to describe the issues of the non-western. Therefore, it is not always easy to implement the feminist approaches over the states as the gender relations are not the same around the world.

The locally and globally constructed gender relations have been underestimated. Another point that has been highly criticised is the perplexity between the notion of gender and sex. Various approaches of feminist scholars have numerous views regarding gender relations and how that can be changed so that it is not counted against women (Viotti and Kauppi, 2019). It has also been criticised that the feminist scholars mainly focused on women on eliminating men from the global politics due to the implicit standpoint of the feminists.

International relations give us a view of how the various international relations function and the prevalent gender inequalities that exist within them. The feminist scholars have pointed out the absence of females in global politics. There was a lack of feminist ideas in the International Relations as most of global politics was dominated by masculinity. It was considered that women were not capable of handling international politics.

That's where the women scholars stepped in and tried to deconstruct the idea of gender and sex and the preconceived notions about women. The role of women in society was stereotyped and they were always considered as the weaker section of the society, which became one of the bigger reasons for the exclusion of women from global politics. The female scholars tried to change this outlook of the people and break the gender inequality. They gave an opinion that women should be included in world politics so that they can offer diverse ideas in the field of politics. In this essay, the perspectives and a powerful critique of International relations by the feminists have been presented of International relations. The contributions and the female perspective of International Relations have been elaborated in detail in this study and how women gained a place in global politics through their relentless fight with the entire situation.

Aggestam, K., Bergman Rosamond, A. and Kronsell, A., 2019. Theorising feminist foreign policy. International Relations, 33(1), pp.23-39.

Daddow, O., 2017. International relations theory.Sage.

Hooper, C., 2019. Masculinist practices and gender politics: The operation of multiple masculinities in international relations. In The “man” question in international relations (pp. 28-53).Routledge.

Johnston, L., 2018. Intersectional feminist and queer geographies: A view from ‘down-under’. Gender, Place & Culture, 25(4), pp.554-564.

Keohane, R.O., 2020. International institutions and state power: Essays in international relations theory. Routledge.

Murphy, C.N., 2019. Six masculine roles in international relations and their interconnection: a personal investigation. In The “Man” question in international relations (pp. 93-108).Routledge.

McGlinchey, S., 2017. International relations theory.E-International Relations.

Newton, K., 2019. International Relations and World Politics.Scientific e-Resources.

Peterson, V.S., 2018. Revisiting gendered states: Feminist imaginings of the state in international relations.Oxford University Press.

Ple?a, D.G., 2020. The Role of Women in Shaping Foreign Policy at the Level of the European Union and the States of the Middle East (an Approach from the Perspective of the Feminist Theory of International Relations).International relations assignment Cogito-Multidisciplinary research Journal, (1), pp.82-101.

Rajan, H., 2018. The ethics of transnational feminist research and activism: An argument for a more comprehensive view. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 43(2), pp.269-300.

Rodó-de-Zárate, M. and Baylina, M., 2018.Intersectionality in feminist geographies. Gender, Place & Culture, 25(4), pp.547-553.

Tickner, J.A. and True, J., 2018. A Century of International Relations Feminism: From World War I Women's Peace Pragmatism to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. International Studies Quarterly, 62(2), pp.221-233.

Viotti, P.R. and Kauppi, M.V., 2019. International relations theory.Rowman & Littlefield.


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