Cynthia Enloe. Maneuvers. The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives. Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2000. xi + 418 pp. $17.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-520-22070-6; $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-520-22071-3.
Reviewed by Daniela Rechenberger (Department of Japanese Studies, Trier University)
Published on H-Minerva (February, 2001)
Are You Already Militarized Today?
Are You Already Militarized Today?
When we think of women's militarization then first come women in the military or soldier's wives to our minds. It is the contribution of Enloe's Maneuvers to clarify that militarization "...is a far more subtle process". It is never "simply about joining a military" but it "creeps into ordinary daily routines" (pp. 2-3). Practically "everything can be militarized" (p. 4), be it food, toys, clothes, movies etc. Enloe explains many different issues and their conneciton with militarization. This includes desriptions about women in the military, problems of lesbians/ homosexuals in the military, the history of camp followers, the background of military prostitution and rape in wartime, experiences of military wives and military nurses and the process of militarization ordinary things.
This latest book is therefore a development of Enloe's Does Khaki Become You? where she already described the connection between militarized wives and women in the military. But because the "military is only one part of the story of militarization (p.xi) Maneuvers provides us with a far more extensive exploration of the problem. This makes the book very exceptional. Especially impressive are the numerous examples from many different places. Enloe emphasizes that for understanding the mechanisms of militarization it is necessary "to resist the parocchial temptation to monitor only American developments" (p.281). Nevertheless provide the examples only a first glance on other experiences. And sometimes the reader might miss interesting discourses held in other countries, as the "Comfort Women" issue illustrates. The author describes the "Comfort Women" as a kind of military prostitutes (P.79-89). But recent Japanese critics like Uneo Chizuko call this point of view deeply in question. We should not speak of former "Comfort Women" as prostitutes, not even forced prostitutes, because this backs up the military ideology and the division in Japanese and other Asian victims. The victims (and the discourse) are then again militarized. We've to consider them as rape victims although the "Comfort System's " extent exceeds the usual cases of wartime rapes.
The strong points of the book are the often surprising descriptions of how even simplest things can be (and are, actually) militarized. Before reading the story nobody would think of umbrellas as things the U.S. Army honestly regarded as subverting the authority represented by officer's uniforms. In result it is prohibited for male officers to carry umbrellas while women officers are permitted to do so (p.262). Altogether Maneuvers presents a broad basis to examine mechanisms of women's militarization, which at least every woman should read: "Evidence shows that militarization has not been rolled back uniformly in the 1990s" (p. 12) and "the militarization of women has been (and is probably) necessary for the militarization of men" (p. 3).
. Ueno Chizuko, Nashonarizumo to jend+AOI- (Nationalism and Gender), T+APQ-ky+APQ- (Aotsuchi sha), 1998, p.125/139.
. Yoshimi Yoshiaki, "J+APs-gun ianfu" mondai to rekishiz+APQ-. Ueno Chizuko shi ni kotaeru (The "Military Comfort Women" issue and historical points of view. An answer to Ueno Chizuko) in: Nihon no sens+APQ- sekinin shiry+APQ- sent+AOI- (ed.), Shinpojiumu. Nashonarizumu to "ianfu" mondai (Symposium. Nationalism and the "Comfort Women" issue), T+APQ-ky+APQ- (Aoki shoten), 1998, p.123-142, here p.137.
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Daniela Rechenberger. Review of Enloe, Cynthia, Maneuvers. The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives.
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