Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Contribution and Defect: Study of International Relations on the Perspective of Feminism

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Contribution and Defect: Study of International Relations on the Perspective of Feminism

Article excerpt


Feminism has contributed to the theoretical development of ontology and epistemology from totally new ideas and views since the end of the 1980 it put the gender's analysis in the International Relations study. But, feminism has seemed to enter the period of bottleneck of development after more than 20 years. Internal schools are numerous and points are not the same. It has not formed unified theoretical framework. Its range of study is so branded. It regards the gender as analysis tools be applicable everywhere. The development and prospect of feminism depend on revising and remedying the above defects of study.

Key words: Feminism; Gender; International relations; Public employments; Independence; Domination; Governance


The International Relations study has experienced three academic discussions1 since the birth of it during the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. After a period's impaction among different theories and genres, international relations theories develop and become more prosperous and this new-rising subject becomes more mature. It was feminism school2 that stood out from the third academic discussion with its features of opening up new space and diversification in the 1980s. The Feminist International Relations study has gained long-term progress due to the great efforts of several-year research from scholars, contributing a lot for the development of the International Relations study. At the same time there are also some deficiencies. How to make up for the deficiencies of the Feminist International Relations study and make it increasingly from edge to center becomes the major task when the study continues to expand.


Social gender is translated from the word "gender" in English. The explanation to "gender" in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English has two-layer meanings: First, (grammar) nature (noun and pronoun can be classified as positive, negative and neutral), means that it is a word of purely grammatical meaning; Second, it means the gender classification physiologically-sex {Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, para. 2, 1992, p.480). With the core analysis scope of social gender3, feminism thinks that "social gender is the component element of social relations on a basis of the visible gender difference, and is a basic mode that expressing power relations"4, referring to masculinity and femininity formed from social cultures. Such division also reflects binary opposition thought, and the custom's recognition to male and female differences. Habitually, people think that woman is closer to the nature, while man is closer to culture, so women are more qualified to those public roles and public employments. Therefore, women lay under tribute, play their mothering skills as housewives, and cannot be admitted by those public offices. Men are associated with public domains, and the characters of activeness, reason, determination, violence, independence, domination, governance, etc., while women are just associated with private spheres, and the characters of passiveness, emotion, irresolution, peace, dependence, being dominated and governed, etc..

Over the several centuries, physiological difference is the starting point and reason of different social division for men and women all the time. People always think that the physiological function of fertility and lactation, and a worse physical stamina determine women's family status, and they can only take charge of housework and bring up children; Moreover, physiological difference causes that women cannot be qualified to those work of public spheres. For example, people think that women are more emotional, and cannot be so rational like men, so they are not suitable for political decision-making. Actually, "although physiological difference is generated naturally, all social roles and behavioral patterns related to women are the creatures of various kinds of social histories" (Friedmann, 2007, p. …

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