THE MORNING AFTER by Cynthia Enloe

THE MORNING AFTER

Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Here, Enloe (Government/Clark University) makes bold but often unsubstantiated assertions about the relationship between sexuality and militarism--as she seeks, not too persuasively, to chart changing post-cold-war sexual politics. For Enloe, a committed feminist, gender is all as she discusses subjects ranging from the working conditions of Filipina servants in Kuwait and the role of women in the Gulf War to government-sanctioned prostitution for the military. In each situation, she says, women have been affected by the way ``in which masculinity provided fodder for earlier militarization.'' To Enloe, gender-definition goes beyond mere prejudice or custom; it's a deliberate product of sociopolitical policy: ``masculinity being remade for the sake of controlling the society at large.'' In her view, both sides in the cold war deliberately used sexuality to meet their goals by providing prostitutes and sexual R&R for their armed forces; by encouraging women to stay home or take low-paying jobs as a form of ``patriotic sacrifice''; and by enacting policies that forced women into ``low-waged'' jobs--by making, for example, ``tourism a partner for regional anti-Communism'' in the Caribbean. With the cold war over, Enloe sees some encouraging signs of a future in which masculinity won't be shaped by militarism: The UN peacekeeping force ``inspires optimism because it seems to perform military duties without being militaristic''; Danish women have organized against the Maastricht treaty; more women are in armed services; and women's movements are growing in Kuwait, the Philippines, and even in Serbia. Rambling and repetitive polemic that could have something important to say but by substituting assertion and anecdote for rigorous analysis, doesn't. (Illustrations--not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-520-08335-0
Page count: 293pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993