Gender Roles in War and Peace

1598 Words7 Pages
Particular accepted gender roles are enforced throughout peacetime and war, often with violent consequences. Initially this essay will explore the meaning behind gendered roles, their creation, and their importance in modern society. Using a case study of the conflict and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this essay will then investigate the prevalence of sexual violence in war. Gender is a social construct and does exist independently. It is an invention of society that dictates what is ‘masculine’ and what is ‘feminine’. Cultural practices and norms further permeate the construct of gender, with stereotypes and the dictation by media and governing bodies regarding how the sexes should identify. Gender associates ‘feminine’ with female, and ‘masculine’ with male, and suggests that these characteristics should be sex-exclusive. Female and male are, themselves, constructed at birth on the basis of the child’s genitals; intersex children are frequently subjected to physical change in an attempt to ‘organize’ them into a particular social category. Gender dictates the roles humans are to play in society, and thus children are taught from an early age the accepted characteristics of their gender. In adulthood, the teaching appears to continue, as a plethora of media outlets and a variety of social discourses outline the behavior that those of a particular gender must exhibit. Social depiction of gender dictates what hobbies we should pursue, how we communicate with others, the type of work we’re supposed to do, and even the sex we should be attracted to. Creating a hierarchy in society is only possible if there are points of difference between people, and thus particular physical elements of a human are chosen and signi... ... middle of paper ... ...pon the subordinate, and to highlight the dominance of the masculine over the feminine. Works Cited Bracewell, W 2000, 'Rape in Kosovo: masculinity and Serbian nationalism', Nations and Nationalism, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 563--590. Cockburn, C 2013, 'War and security, women and gender: an overview of the issues', Gender & Development, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 433--452. Lorber, J 1994, Paradoxes of gender 1st edn, Yale University Press, New Haven. Mostov, J 1995, '“OUR WOMENS”/“THEIR WOMENS” Symbolic Boundaries, Territorial Markers, and Violence in the Balkans', Peace & Change, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 515--529. Seifert, R 1996, 'The second front: the logic of sexual violence in wars', , vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 35--43. Skjelsbaek, I 2001, 'Sexual violence and war: Mapping out a complex relationship', European Journal of International Relations, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 211--237.
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