The 'Man' Question in International Relations

By Marysia Zalewski; Jane Parpart | Go to book overview

Conclusion: New Thoughts and New Directions for the "Man" Question in International Relations

Jane Parpart

Uncle Sam, born in the war of 1812, is badly in need of a makeover to capture the mood of 1996. It is time to invent Auntie Sam. For the country is going through a period of feminisation. . . . One of the most basic distinctions in human experience--that between men and women--is in America getting blurrier and blurrier. 1

There has been a loser in women's march to equality and that is the man in the blue-collar uniform. Many of the gains that the West has made through enhancing the economic position of women will be tarnished if the male labourer is pushed to the margins. Once known as the salt of the earth, at the moment his troubles are making countries lose their savour. 2 Saddam thumbs his nose; Barzani strolls to power.

Did Saddam Hussein care? He did not. This week his aircraft and air-defence men in both Iran's no-fly zones were busy provoking the United States to resume the missile attacks of a week before. 3

Saddam Hussein is still thumbing his nose at the United States, and according to the Economist, the United States is going through a period of feminization. It seems Saddam still knows how to act like a "man," but the leaders of the U.S. superpower are caving in to feminine pressures and adopting feminine ways. Political leaders and Olympic athletes in the United States are crying in public, spilling out their private lives, and even dressing like women. Meanwhile, women celebrities are puffing on cigars, moving into the boardrooms, and generally threatening male privilege. Male bastions such as the Citadel Military Academy are being forced to open their doors to female recruits. In Europe and North America, women are moving into the new jobs of the knowledge economy while male bluecollar workers are refusing to do this "women's work" and becoming the new unemployed--footloose, angry, and increasingly a threat to society.

What are we to make of this? Are the only "real men" left living in the developing countries? Are North American and European men becoming

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