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Militarized Masculinities in International Relations

Gender in IR
Maya Eichler

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The study of war and peace in international relations must take seriously constructions of masculinity, as well as the gender inequality they entail. Today, the ideal soldier is still defined as masculine and the warrior remains “a key symbol of masculinity.”1 Across the world, men make up the vast majority of armed forces personnel and state leaders engaged in war. But as feminist international relations scholars argue, this does not mean that men are innately militaristic, and, by corollary, that women are naturally peaceful. Instead, the link between masculinity and the military is constructed and maintained for the purposes of waging war. Militarized masculinity, at its most basic level, refers to the assertion that traits stereotypically associated with masculinity can be acquired and proven through military service or action, and combat in particular.