Is the Persistence of Globalizing Patriarchy a Feminist Failure?

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    • 00:17

      CYNTHIA ENLOE: Feminists always hug, you know.It's one of our things.I'm delighted to be here with all of youin this former bank building.I'm sure that has a lot of implications for success, notfailure.Turn a bank into a critical IR conference.

    • 00:39

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: That's a step in the right direction.I'd first like to really thank Scott, and Aaron, and Andreas.Raise your hands.Come on, guys raise your hands.OK, that's who you should thank.When you walk around today, thank Scott, and Andreas,and Aaron because they are the reason that we're all herein the same room at the same time.

    • 01:03

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: It's very hard to put on conferences.It takes a lot of work, and they havea big crew that will helps them do it,so we're indebted to all of them because they'rethe people who really enabled us to havethis conversation together.And as great as it is to have conversations online,there's nothing like having it face-to-face over coffee.

    • 01:25

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Lots of coffee.When Scott and Aaron and Andreas and Istarted chatting about what might be interesting for allof us to chew on early in the morning,I thought that this might be really a good timeto introduce the P word.

    • 01:48

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: So let's start with candor, OK?You've got to be honest.Ready?How many of you within the last--we won't to an historical date.Let's just say within the last two yearshave written the word "patriarchy" in any

    • 02:08

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: of your scholarly work?How many people?Look around, everybody.Got it?Got it?OK.That would not have been true 20 years ago in this roomor whatever was the equivalent of this room.And the failure is all of you who haven't raised your hands,

    • 02:31

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: but I don't see that as failure.I see that as potential.[LAUGHTER]You know, you have to, right?I'm not good at the failure part.It's too depressing.But I wouldn't use it.

    • 02:51

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: I mean, that's the truth of it.And in fact, very embarrassingly-- was it you?Who discovered the 1975, '76?You guys found this?They went into this archaeological dig,and they found a 1975, '76 issue of Millennium

    • 03:12

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: where I had a small piece in it, and it's notthat I didn't mention patriarchy.I don't even know if I knew how to spell it.I mean, I was interested, and I stillam, in the politics of ethnicity in militaries and militarism.Although, at that point, I think I was onlytalking about militaries, ethnicity in militaries.

    • 03:34

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: But I certainly didn't ask a patriarchy question,but I didn't even ask a gender question.So consciousness, as they say in American politics,evolved, and I'm still evolving.But let me tell you what I mean by patriarchy so that itdoesn't-- those of you who haven't yet written it

    • 03:57

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: in your work, or in your syllabi, or in your teaching--can see how I use it and why I find it so useful as a wayto measure whether, in fact, there's success, or failure,or potential in the workings of any particular political system

    • 04:18

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: or the international relations system in general.I mean several things.Well, I mean one thing, but it's got several aspects.So patriarchy to me involves the following.It involves in a small group, in a family, in a nation,

    • 04:39

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: in a state-- never to be confused,those two things-- or in an international NGO,or a international agency, involvesfirst of all the widespread assumption,the dominant assumption in that groupor in that institution, that there are these people

    • 04:60

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: called women, and there are these people called men.And that they are different from each other.That is, kind of a parallel universeswithin the same society.But secondly, it assumes that the things that adhere to menare masculine.

    • 05:21

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: That's now a leap.And the things that adhere to women are feminine.And that amongst the presumptionsare that women and those things who are feminine,which means that men can try to feminize other men, whichis one of the dominant discourses in rival politics,

    • 05:44

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: is that one of the things that adheres to menis that they are the protectors.And they are the protectors because they know the world.That's how you can tell who is masculineand who is recognized to be masculine.As you can see, a lot of patriarchy

    • 06:05

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: happens in your head, which is one reason why you don't juststudy discourse, but you study presumptions,you study assumptions, you study the ways in which peopleinteract and act out what's in their head.If you are presumed to be masculine enoughto be a protector in a patriarchal system--

    • 06:27

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: so now we're looking at Amnesty Internationalor we're looking at the UNHCR, or we'relooking at the LSE IR department, any of those,or my department at home-- the presumption is those people whoare protectors, they have a authority

    • 06:49

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: because they know the world and enough that they canact as effective protectors.This obviously feeds into the militarization of masculinity.It means that watching conscientious objectorsin any society-- for instance, in Turkey today,or in South Korea today where there's a growing CO

    • 07:12

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: movement-- becomes really, really interesting becauseof all the attempt to break the relationshipbetween masculinities and the roleof protector, and the militarized of protector,meaning joining the state's military.The people who are protected are assumed to be feminized.

    • 07:33

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Now, just watch some of the coverage of the Syrian,and Eritrean, and Libyan refugees now fleeing,and watch the way in which they oftentimesare turned in the media into the feminized whoneed to be protected, which meansthere's a whole kind of contest going

    • 07:54

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: on now in refugee studies about the feminization of menas refugees.The protected, who are feminized in patriarchy-- so you haveto think now really in terms of a particular institution you'reinterested in, or a particular policyprocess your interested in-- because they are the protected,

    • 08:20

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: they are presumed to be the people who are more confined.Not just physically, although thatmatters, because that's why home isso important to patriarchal thinking,because it's a place not just of domestic responsibility,it's a place of confinement.

    • 08:40

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: It is where you do most of your thinking and living.But it's presumed, therefore, that youdon't know the world very well.Now, the third part of a patriarchal systemor a patriarchal process is that those who are the protectorsare presumed to know best about what the protected should

    • 09:04

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: be doing.So, it's not just about comparison.That is not just what a patriarchal system is like.A patriarchal system has within in and has at its corethe presumption that those who are the protectorsknow what's best for the protected.

    • 09:24

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: That is, it's a hierarchical system,and it's a system of policing, and control, and supposedlyresponsibility for.So, I've watched this in all kinds of settings,and one of the things that's become really clear,and when we were talking the other day--

    • 09:45

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: was it just yesterday?

    • 09:46

      SPEAKER 1: Thursday.

    • 09:47

      CYNTHIA ENLOE: Thursday, OK.We were talking just the other day in the IR departmenthere at LSE.One of the things that became really interesting for meto try to mull over when I was redoing Bananas

    • 10:09

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: is how flexible, how adaptable, patriarchy is.That it, it is and has been used by,it has been sustained by, imperial systems,by monarchical systems, by socialist state systems,

    • 10:33

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: or state capitalist systems, by neoliberal capitalist systems.It is highly flexible.It is highly adaptive.And as a result, it's highly sustainable.And we talked about this the other day,and that is we oftentimes, particularly now because

    • 10:55

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: of the discourse, particularly the UN Millennium discoursearound the new sustainable development goals.We now use sustainability-- and I'm certainlyin a department that talks about sustainable development--we use sustainability as if it were a good,but it depends what you're sustaining.

    • 11:17

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Sustainability is not something youone should always feel comfortable withor work hard for.If oftentimes is something that you're resisting mightilybecause what's being sustained is oppressive,or what's been sustained is exploitative,or what's being sustained is patriarchal.So one of the things that I've really been struck by

    • 11:39

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: is the sustainability of patriarchal ways of organizinginstitutions, the patriarchal waysof justifying policy, the patriarchal ways of creatingmodes of interaction in international, national,and local political life.Now, having said that-- that's a nod to failure, right?

    • 12:03

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Having said that, one of the things that I'm also struck byis the imaginative, creative, and innovative waysin which patriarchal ways of thinking and patriarchal waysof organizing political life have been resisted.So if you think today, if you're using English,

    • 12:28

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: about the concepts that now are-- theymay be contested in can you tell whether this is happeningat this moment, but you now have notions of sexual harassment.Now, sexual harassment, my guess is that most of youcould talk for at least 35 seconds

    • 12:48

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: about what sexual harassment is in your departments,or your workplaces, or in other workplaces that you studyor that you are part of.My guess is that you can understandwhen someone somebody sexual harassmentis built into the culture of this workplace.

    • 13:10

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: You'd have some idea of what somebody meant even if,when a particular sexual harassment case came up--like a now increasingly notorious case of an astronomerat the University of California at Berkeley.You would be able to have some sense of perhapswhat he's been accused of doing and what

    • 13:31

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: it means for this whole series, itturns out, of graduate students this astronomer hasworked with.And what they have endured, and what they noticed,and why they brought a charge.Well, sexual harassment, you can date it.Sexual harassment did not really become

    • 13:51

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: part of the our understanding of how power works,but it's a concept about power.And it was revealing a pattern of abuse of power.That's what I think concepts are useful for.They allow you to see something you otherwise didn't see.

    • 14:13

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: A concept is not to make one sound intellectual.It's not to make one sound hip.A concept is supposed to be very practically useful.You should be able to see the workingsof some sort of societal phenomenon

    • 14:33

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: that you otherwise had assumed wererandom and therefore invisible.Sexual harassment dates from about 1980.That's really recent.And it came out of the work of labor, feminists workingin factories in the US who first began

    • 14:55

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: to worry about foremans' behavior towards womenon assembly lines.It got picked up by feminist lawyers in the US.And by the time I really had to engage with it in 1981because of trying to support a colleague from Chile,

    • 15:17

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: I have never-- I try to remember this moment.I took Ximena Bunster, who's a very prominent Chilean feministwho was driven into exile by Pinochet,and she had become a colleague of mine, without a green card.This became very important in the wielding of powerby her abusive chair, her department chair.

    • 15:39

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Because he knew that she didn't haveanything but a temporary visa over which he had control.So she was being-- well, as she said,is this how American university chairs behave?

    • 16:01

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: I said, well, I don't think usually,but it's not proper behavior.He was being actually very abusive.So we went to a small office in Boston.It was one of these active offices whereeverybody gets half a day.You know, there are eight groups.

    • 16:22

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: They're using the same small office, one phone.And the group was called The AllianceAgainst Sexual Coercion, AASC.There was five women who are all trying to support womenon the assembly line in Chelsea, and industrial area of Boston.

    • 16:46

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: And another friend of mine who ran a feminist bookstore-- thisis how learning happens-- said, well,I'm not sure what Ximena is dealing with,but I have somebody you should do talk with.So I went ahead and made an appointment,and Ximena and I went in together,into this tiny office where they had the Wednesday morning slot.

    • 17:10

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: And the woman named Nancy, who was one of the five of AASC,said Ximena, describe to me what your chair is doing,and so Ximena described this.And Ximena, by the way, was the youngest full professor

    • 17:31

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: in the history of Chile.She was not somebody who new to academia,so she had some comparison.So she described what her American sociologychair was doing, and Nancy said that is sexual harassment.And I'm remember this moment.This was about 1981, '82.

    • 17:53

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: I had never heard the word "sexual" put togetherwith the "harassment."And Ximena, who was very fluent in English,said say that phrase again?And I listened really carefully because I'dheard the phrase before.And I really think about this, and Ithink that is one of the ways that patriarchy is challenged,

    • 18:14

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: that mainly feminists and I would say mainly feministsactivists, have seen patterns that the rest of usthought were just random anecdotes,and have begun to name a pattern of the abuse of powerthat sustains patriarchal relationships.

    • 18:35

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: And by naming it, makes it visible.Once you've made it visible, then youcan organize to challenge it.So this is true of-- and you can probably make a list.I sometimes try to make a list, and just yesterday Iwas reminded of another one.And I'll tell you, that is date rape.

    • 18:56

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: Those two words were never put together 25 years ago.Marital rape.I remember when an activist came to my university, Clark,when she was on a tour.Women studies was in its early days,and she called herself Laura X, which

    • 19:17

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: already made people in the universities feel very nervous.And it wasn't Professor Laura.And Laura X came, and she was on a tour to try and get Americansto see that it was possible to have rape in marriage, which

    • 19:38

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: was considered an oxymoron.Considered an oxymoron by the stateas well as by ordinary people.And most of us in the audience had never heard "marital" puttogether with "rape."There was no state in the US federal system

    • 19:58

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: that recognized is as such.There again was an attempt, and it was a successful attempt,to try and name a pattern of abusive powerso that you could challenge it.Make your own list.Yesterday, I was reminded that Indian feminists have really

    • 20:22

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: tried, and I don't think it's really made its way far outof India yet, but it's something that all of usshould really take on board.Indian feminists talk about custodial rape.Some of you heard this in your work?And this means rape by police in a local police precinct.

    • 20:44

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: That is, a woman goes to a precinct, a police precinct,to seek protection, and what happens to her in custodyis that she is sexually assaulted.And Indian feminists now have a term for it, so you can see it,so you don't think it's one rogue policeman

    • 21:04

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: in Uttar Pradesh, and it's called custodial rape.So the ways in which patriarchy is sustained, I think, and I'llend on this, is that things are left invisible,and they're left invisible in our writing.They're left invisible in our analyses.

    • 21:26

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: We think too often that it's enough to talkabout neoliberalism, or it's too easilyimagined that you can talk about certain other mega formsof power relationships.But to the extent that one leavespatriarchal relationships invisible, unexamined,

    • 21:48

      CYNTHIA ENLOE [continued]: one doesn't have a curiosity about them.That is what sustains patriarchy.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

Is the Persistence of Globalizing Patriarchy a Feminist Failure?

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Abstract

Professor Susan Enloe explains patriarchy and its inherent flexibility and adaptation to all kinds of political systems. She also discusses how feminists have been equally creative in seeing, naming, and fighting these patterns of behavior. She closes by challenging the academics present to name and talk about patriarchy to continue fighting against it.

SAGE Video Forum
Is the Persistence of Globalizing Patriarchy a Feminist Failure?

Professor Susan Enloe explains patriarchy and its inherent flexibility and adaptation to all kinds of political systems. She also discusses how feminists have been equally creative in seeing, naming, and fighting these patterns of behavior. She closes by challenging the academics present to name and talk about patriarchy to continue fighting against it.

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