Monday, April 16, 2007

Is nationalism a male thing?

Times Online has a guest column that makes some interesting claims.

Nationalism, like gangs and testosterone, is a man thing

Nationalism and separatism, independence: worldwide these things have an inescapably masculine feel to them. One does not have to recall much of the Yugoslavian conflicts, Chechnya or even Northern Ireland to understand that the rhetoric of deunification is clothed in black leather jackets and spoken in a deep voice. The balkanisation of society, wherever and however subtly it happens, is fuelled by testosterone. Mostly this is symbolised by angry young men, freedom fighters, flag-wavers, stone-throwers, plotters against neighbours; in other instances it is more sophisticated and wears a suit. But nationalism is invariably a dark and macho business. Change on a scale that alters boundaries is rarely the work of women.


Is this really true? I must admit that off-hand I can't remember any female Nationalists invovled in any of those conflicts, expect for Arkan's wife, Svetlana Raznatovic. However, I can think of several Nationalists in Europe, including Denmark's Pia Kærsgaard, who is considered the most powerful female in Denmark.

Incidentially, there are plenty of gangs of young females, at least in Denmark, where they are a growing problem, so the headline is not quite correct.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Kaethe said...

"Is this really true?" No.

Any article that promotes gender essentialism is almost certainly wrong and poorly thought-out. She utterly fails to consider two known, proven points: women's involvement in and viewpoints on political issues are grossly underrepresented in the media, and where all of the symbolism is masculine, the involvement of women is actively discouraged.

She's reinforcing the stereotypes, not questioning them. "Change on a scale that alters boundaries is rarely the work of women" is exactly the sort of statement that discourages future women's involvement and denigrates the involvement of women historically and currently.

in other instances it is more sophisticated and wears a suit. But nationalism is invariably a dark and macho business

What is there about "sophisticated" and "suit" that suggests either "dark" or "macho", except stereotypes? Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and Angela Merkel all wear suits and are sophisticated, and nothing macho to see there.

April 18, 2007 4:26 PM  

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