Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences

By Anne C. Herrmann; Abigail J. Stewart | Go to book overview

CONSTRUCTION GENDER

9 Notes Toward a
Feminist Peace Politics

SARA RUDDICK

In this paper, I outline one version of a feminist peace politics. The peace politics I imagine is not preoccupied with the question, When, if ever, is it right to kill? Nor is it committed to the absolute renunciation of violence often associated with pacifism. Rather, this politics expresses a sturdy suspicion of organized violence even in the best of causes. Accordingly, it seeks to expose the multiple costs of violence and to disrupt the plans of those who organize it. This politics also ferrets out hidden or less organized violence wherever it appears—in boardroom or bedroom, government council or factory. Finally, this politics is committed to inventing myriad forms of nonviolent disruption, cooperation, respect, restraint, and resistance that would replace violence and would constitute "peace." Speaking generally, a feminist peace politics contributes in distinctively feminist ways to the threefold aim of fomenting sturdy suspicion of organized violence, disclosing hidden violences, and inventing the strategies and ideals of nonviolence.

Both within the United States and throughout the world there are many feminisms, some explicitly militarist, some suspicious of any "larger" cause that might dilute feminist energies. In these remarks I develop one variant of antimilitarist feminism in which feminist and antimilitarist commitments are interwoven from the start. 1 Someone—a woman or man—becomes, simultaneously, feminist and antimilitarist at least partly because she or he sees war making as an extension of "masculine" domination and "masculine" domination as a reflection of and preparation for war. In a letter she wrote during the First World War, Virginia Woolf expressed colloquially one version of this feminist/antimilitarist weave.

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