Gender Analysis and Foreign Relations, by Laura McEnaney

957 Words2 Pages

Gender Analysis and Foreign Relations By: Laura McEnaney

The article by Laura McEnaney titled Gender Analysis and Foreign Relations is an interesting article focused on a relatively new type of analysis that offers another angle in the world of policymaking. The diplomatic historians who use gender analysis use it in addition to the customary methodologies of the historian to enhance the historian’s studies. Gender analysis has inspired new investigations in the history of men and women and diplomacy, giving way to a new type of understanding of power in a historical context; however gender analysis “enters diplomatic history only through the aegis of culture.”

This approach to the study and interpretation on the history of foreign policy looks deeper than the customary methodologies that historians typically use. McEnaney, the author of this article, describes gender analysis as an enabler for historians “to scrutinize the organization of power in any arena, from the most public to the most intimate.” This type of analysis digs deep into the skeletons of an historical individual’s writings and helps to reveal how ideologies of masculinity and femininity are rooted in the history of American foreign policy. The propositions of gender analysis have developed new implications on the history of foreign policy. This study focuses on stereotypical characteristics of men and women and how those stereotypes affected the decisions of the individuals who helped develop foreign policy. It is believed that the ideas of what defines masculinity and femininity have been an important part of the decision makers’ thoughts and ideas of what foreign policy should be.

The gender analysis perspective is unique in that it is a new way of seei...

... middle of paper ...

...f the records of diplomacy. Popular discourses can be labeled as feminine while records of diplomacy can be labeled masculine. Gender analysis has been debated about since it was originally put to use because it gained momentum in fields that were outside of diplomatic history; it was more of a literary-focused arena of cultural studies. For this reason, skeptics have wondered how sexual metaphors will actually help in the historical realm of things.

In conclusion, gender analysis has broadened a field of study and given new ways for historians to conceive foreign policy. It has provided a way for more ideas and variables to be invited into the equation, expanding long historical debates. At the same time, there will always be skeptics to gender analysis, but as time progresses historians will be given more opportunities to test the merits of gender analysis.

Open Document