Big boys don’t cry. Right? : A look at rationality vs. emotionality

Rationality vs. emotionality is discussed in chapter three of Cynthia Enloe’s book  Globalization and Militarism. Rationality is associated with manliness while emotionality is seen as feminine. This is seen throughout our social structure and in the way our society thinks about masculinity and femininity. Understanding these two concepts is vital to understanding how men and women are perceived in our society and in the military. The categorization of women as “soft” is used both to keep women out of the political and military field. It insinuates that they are not strong enough to handle the pressure associated with these professions. This categorization also pushes men away from acts that are perceived as “soft” or feminine like calling for peace and not waging war. An obvious flaw of this way of thinking is the correlation of peace to women and war to men. It insinuates that only real men declare war and enter into conflict while women are responsible for calling an end to battle. Of course this conceptualization is entirely problematic.

Acceptable military behavior

Unacceptable military behavior










So, when it comes to the structure of the military and who get to “sit at the table” those who are allowed are only those who have shown a fierce, aggressive stance. According to this belief of rationality and emotionality the only acceptable participants are men.  To be allowed a part in the discussion of national security you have to be able to debate unpleasant things, and handle these talks with fervor. The way a person is able to gain access to be part of the discussion of national security is through this rational sense and expression. Consequently women are not included in this because they are perceived as emotional and soft.   The conception that women are emotional and in the eyes of our society there’s no room or place for the emotional meaning there is no room for women.  Of course the truth is that these concepts have been built through the perception of those living in a patriarchal society leading to a bias and sexist understanding or women’s role and women’s power.

An example of this rhetoric of women being emotional was seen overwhelmingly in the 2008 democratic presidential primary when Hillary Clinton was running. When in an interview Clinton was giving she began to well up while talking passionately about how she feels for the country and how she wants to see the country move forward (and away from the Bush era.) After this surfaced in mainstream news, reporters began condemning her for being emotional then for being cold and heartless. She was spoken of by every news reporter in the mainstream media in some sexist way. Clinton was badgered for being to emotional and other news anchors joked about her passion and her tears being fake. Stating that she was to cold and masculine to genuinely be able to cry. She was the only primary candidate that had this done to them, evidently she was the only female candidate. She was also badgered about the way she looked and the clothes she wore all through the primary election. There was one reporter who joked if Clinton won the presidency the US would be in crisis every time she got her period.  We would have to stop the country a few days every month because she wouldn’t be able to handle her responsibilities. Certainly women are incapable of controlling their emotional and mental capacities when they’re on their period.

The practice of our society is that women hold little value and little power. Women are seen as weak physically and mentally. The structure of the military holds up this conception through the ideal that men are rational while women are irrational. A recent statement made my Rick Santorum, (a candidate in the republican primary for presidency who of late, dropped out) embodies the patriarchal design of our society’s structure of masculinity and femininity. In the speech Santorum stated that women should not be allowed to hold combat position in the US military because it may affect how the male soldiers will react during times of combat. He states that the men will become to preoccupied by the women’s safety and feel the need to protect them like our culture has taught them to do, making the men lose focus on their mission. He’s expressing that men are rational beings but once you throw a women into the mix a man has to express his masculinity by protecting women. These women hold no value as soldiers they only amount to a burden which the male soldiers will have to pick up.

The women who gain access to the military are confined to feminized jobs. Women are not allowed to enlist in the front lines instead women are centralized in jobs that resemble domestic work; jobs like cooks and nurses. Because women are not seen as rational, strong, and valuable enough to stand in a combat role in the military. Although I would rather not see more of the population enlisting in the military that should not be used as an excuse to keep women out of jobs they should be entitled too.

In chapter four Enloe continues her discussion with the extension that feminized characteristics are not only looked down upon in our society and through that women hold no substantial power. But their labor is also used as a last resort when men are no longer available. This can be seen throughout American history. If you look at World War 2 when men were enlisted in the military and engaged in combat with other nations the country needed a workforce so they enlisted women. Yet, when the war ended and the men came back they also took their jobs back and women were supposed to go back home and continue with their domestic duties. The patriarchal structure of society systematically denies women’s power and devalues their labor.

Read between the lines: A media analysis

Trayvon Martin’s death has become a national topic and although it doesn’t center around globalization it still seems quite relevant to discuss as it has become such a buzz story in our popular media about racialized violence. Many different media outlets are covering this story and a lot of different analyses are being written and talked about. The article I looked at in particular Justice, not revenge, for Trayvon by LZ Granderson.

George Zimmerman, Left and Trayvon Martin, right

The author addresses the matter of the New Black Panther Party in his article and describes the statements made by the new party’s leader, Mikhail Muhammadf. Stating that they may feel empowering but the reality it “digging your own grave”.  Although LZ Granderson is not alone in this viewpoint on the separatist party one thing the article is missing is the reality that media is now bombarding this group for their opinion and viewpoint then condemning them when it is shared. Many of these mainstream media outlets are using these interviews and repeatedly playing or talking about certain segments of statements that have been made. This distortive reporting is beneficial to news outlets because it makes the story more interesting. The one thing a news article will never address is their tactics for higher ratings and the constant barrage of media coverage on this topic jacks up the ratings.
Granderson repeatedly addresses that revenge is not the solution, that trying to hunt down Trayvon’s killer will only cause yourself and others harm. Yet, he never talks about a solution. There is no discussion of what a person should do with their anger instead of acting on violence. There could have been discussion on the community events that have been taking place in honor of Trayvon or spark some discussion about the reality of oppressions that people face in that community. The author gives a lot of judgment calls on what he believes a person should feel about this situation. His sentiment is that you get mad but not that mad cause anger is risky. Yet, anger can be power when you’re fighting against an injustice, why should Granderson’s readers tame themselves because he is worried about the results of people’s emotions?
He then addresses the language used when discussing this case and although as a writer he makes points that are relevant about the prevalence of violence in our society and the language we use that is associated with that. However he disregards the reality of oppression, stereotypes, racism. He writes in a way that disempowers these words and makes them less real. I perceive his discussion about the language used as a very unrealistic view of how people discuss oppressions in our society, and it seems ineffective to say this language makes the case lack “togetherness” and “healing”.Grandersons biggest blunder in this article is his comparison of Trayvon Martin to Ryan white, a boy who was diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 13. The author call Trayvon Martin the “new Ryan White” while simultaneously denying the similarities other have brought by between Martin and Emmett Till, a 14 year old boy who was murdered in Mississippi.

Ryan White

Ryan White was an white teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States. During the time when White contracted AIDS it was a diseases that was only though to effect the gay community. White was one of the first faces in the public media that started to change people perception of this and gain a better understanding. He was expelled from middle school after his diagnoses; he and his family went through a legal battle with the school, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. The similarities between these two boys are few and far in between. White contracted this illness as a result of a blood transfusion, although that is quite unfortunate it is not the same as a young black man getting shoot. Granderson is trying to relate Whites story of contracting HIV and being put on public media as a new face of HIV to racial profiling. Stating that both HIV and racial profiling are things only those directly affected would talk about and because of that these cases both give leeway to talk about these things. The author is really stretching the connection here, Trayvon being a black teenager who was murdered as a result of a hate crime, a white middle class boy who received a bad blood transfusion is completely different.

Emmett Till

Granderson then denies the similarities of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, I question his reasoning for doing so as a reporter. Because clearly the raw facts show more of a resemblance between these two cases then Martin and White. Both Till and Martin were young black men who were murdered for because they were black. The similarity of the two boys although in different time periods is unquestionable.Whether you believe Trayvon was shot through an action of self-defense or because of racism, is not directly addressed in this article. Granderson talks around the subject when he lectures to his readers about justice vs. revenge but he avoids this direct dialogue of the topic. Another condition of this article that seemed a bit misdirected was his discussion of how he and another CNN analyst discussed this topic and how positive it was because they talked about it, they didn’t fight or debate. but talking about the issue. Granderson is saying a lot with what he is not saying. His remarks on this show how he believes we, his readers and others should talk, debate or discuss an issue. It seems to me as a reader that he’s making a point to show how much better it is to not get angry or question another’s viewpoint about an issue because in the end leads to uselessness and harm.



Massacre at Kwangju: The suppression of democratization for economic gain

The South Korean city of Kwangju is home to the Kwangju Uprising of 1980, named after the city it took place in. Motivated by the outrage of the newly passed marital law and the general dissatisfaction of Chun Doo-hwan’s military dictatorship, student protesters took to the streets on May 18th. The protesting lasted until May 27th when the militarized forces gained enough power to cripple the demonstration indefinitely.

On the morning of May 18th about 200 students from the Chonnam University began demonstrating and by mid day more than 800 more people had joined them. With the approval of the United States, the military government released paratroopers to put an end to the demonstration. These paratroopers were trained for assault missions and behaved accordingly by brutally beating, and arresting the protesters.  Those of the students that had been forcibly arrested were then piled into various trucks where they continues to be beaten as they were taken away.  The next day, many more people joined the protesters that were still left (http://countrystudies .us/South-Korea/21.htm). Paratroopers once again resorted to brutality, even some policemen were against the incredible force being used against the protesters and when they tried to release captives, they too were bayoneted and beaten by the military forces. The paratroopers used lethal force and opened fire on the protesters with M-16s.


On May 20th, the newspaper Militants’ Bulletin was published for the first time, and reported on the actual events of the uprising. That night the march grew to over 200,000 people in a city with a population of roughly 700,000 ( With the continued failure of the media to report on the situation in Kwangju, thousands of the protesters took their frustration to the media buildings and set them on fire, along with the tax offices and 16 police cars. The following day, in an effort to fight back against the bullets being shot at them, protesters started seizing military vehicles from a local military contractor. They soon had 350 vehicles and started driving these expropriated vehicles around the city, rallying demonstrators together and going to neighboring towns and villages to spread the revolt. Soon the protesters raided police stations and National Guard armories for weapons. The estimated amount of those killed ranges from a few hundred to over 2,000 people killed during the nine day uprising ( During the time of the uprising the media was so censored that nothing was being reported.  Not even any of the deaths; instead, the reports that came out were fabricated stories of vandalism and trivial police involvement (

Women were an integral part of the demonstration, at one point during the protesting seven busloads of women textile workers went to Naju, where they seized hundreds of rifles and ammunition and brought them back to Kwangju. The protesters tried to bring the uprising to Chunju and Seoul, but it was unsuccessful. The military’s control on travel and media was very strong and it prevented the spread of the uprising to the rest of the nation ( By the evening of the 20th the protesters had control of the city.

They kept that control for six days until May 27th when military forces engulfed the city and took power back.

The US supported Chun’s suppression of the Kwangju Uprising in order to impose a neoliberal economic regime. The involvement of the United States was motivated by their desire to advance their economic relationship with South Korea, resulting in a meeting in the White House on May 22 discussing what they should do about Korea.  The result of this meeting was an overall agreement that order had to be placed on Kwangju by suppressing the protesters uprising The U.S. government “decided to support the restoration of security and order in South Korea while deferring pressure for political liberalization” (  The following day in Seoul, U.S. Ambassador William Gleysteen had a meeting with Korean Prime Minister Park Choong-hoon during this meeting Gleysteen acknowledged that “firm anti-riot measures were necessary.” President Carter told a CNN interviewer on May 31 that security interests must sometimes override human rights concerns (  Subsequently, during this time the U.S. decided to allow the president of the US Export-Import Bank, John Moore to go on his visit to Seoul so that he could arrange U.S. financing of large Korean contracts for US nuclear power plants (

At this time the Senior American officer in Korea, General John Wickham “accepted and agreed to the request by the Korean government to allow the use of certain selected Korean armed forces under his operational control in operations to subdue the crowds” (  Furthermore, the U.S. Ambassador Gleysteen wrote in a telegram to Washington “..less concerned over the democratic development, if military leadership can develop an apparently stable structure and invigorate the economy than U.S. business and banking circles will be prepared to go back to business as usual (with Korea)” (

The U.S. was worried that large American corporations wouldn’t want to do business with Korea do to this instability, so the U.S. encouraged Chun to provide stability by ending the protesters uprising. To further the business relationship with Chun and American investors, on June 13 after the uprising in May the U.S. had Chun dine with leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, including the president of 3-M and representatives of Bank of America, Dow Chemical, and Gulf Oil. As well as in September, Chun visited to America where he met Davis Rockefeller; their photo was printed in The New York Times. Then, not but three days later, the Korean government announced new policies about relaxed foreign investments, plus 100% foreign ownership of companies, 100% repatriation of funds invested from abroad, and foreigners’ ownership of land (

It’s important to question the reasoning for the U.S. involvement in Korea during this time. What are some of the rationalities you might come up with for why we became involved with suppression of the Kwangju uprising, do you think it was purely economic gain?

The C word : The DRC’s conflict over Coltan

“Kids in Congo are being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America can kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms.” Oona King, British politician, Member of Parliament (1997 – 2005.)

How many people really know about what it takes to make our hi-tech gadgets work and what’s the price? Well, one mineral in particular that is essential to the functionally of your cell phone, laptop, or gaming device is Coltan.

Coltan along with other minerals is found and extracted from mines in the DRC; people are killed, enslaved, and women rapped to gain access and control over minerals ( The mining caves are controlled by different groups of armed forces that surround the mining areas and control the flow of people in and out of the mining caves. Through this control armed forces are able to tax the miners, and make a very lucrative profit. The closer you get to the center of the mining sites the more violence, rape and sexual abuse there is (

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a nation filled with natural resources of enormous potential wealth. Conversely, it is county torn apart by civil war in the fight to control these internationally valued minerals. Civil conflict arose in the late 90’s surrounding control and power of these resources. During 1996-2002, Congo has had two wars in which armed groups took power over of eastern Congo and they still hold that control today (http://www.raisehopefor The current civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has devastated the country. In 2003 there was the signing of the peace accords, one of the purposes of this treaty was to have all the separate armed forces come together to form one national army (the FARDC). However, these independent groups had developed a lot of power both economically and socially through the years of war. Of course, many did not want to relinquish this power to a military they didn’t know, as a result many groups stayed independent ( The most concentrated amount of fighting is in the east of the country where the sum of minerals is greater.

The eastern Congo is one of the most unsafe places for a woman to live, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is grave. Women are targeted and rape is used as a weapon of war. Every week in eastern Congo, north and south Kivu 160 women are raped. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has a report that 60% of rape victims in South Kivu were gang raped by armed men. During the last 15 years this conflict has been the cause of more than 5 million deaths and the rape of 300,000 women ( /content/sexual-violence). Many of these deaths are a result of the conditions of living produced by civil war. A large portion of these people died due to conditions of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
Coltan is so valued because it is a rare mineral mainly found in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo ( Coltan is highly sought after because of its use in just about every new electronic device. Uses for this mineral range from the already mentioned cell phones, laptops, and game consoles to spaceships, and jets (

Many issues with the mining process in the DRC are the armed groups that control the miners. There are multiple independent military forces controlling the flow of people in and out of the mining caves, charging people a fee for crossing. This is a very lucrative business for the armed groups. After the minerals are extracted from the mines they are smuggled to nearby countries mainly Uganda and Rwanda (http://www.unwatchable. cc/the-true-story/what-is-happening-in-the-congo/). The armed forces control the smuggling routes out of the country. They tax or steal the goods from civilians and smuggle them out of the country illegally. This is another way in which the armed groups control and benefit from the sale of Coltan (
The Western World is buying Coltan, it’s sold internationally to many large tech corporations. By buying this mineral we are helping to finance the civil war in the DRC. This civil war doesn’t seem to have any inclination of ending soon and will continue as long as armed groups are able to finance themselves in combat by selling this mineral (http://www.sautiyawaku There has been some effort to reform the issues of buying this war produced mineral, there is the Dodd – Frank Wall Street reform Act passed in the US in 2010, it obligates companies to report what country they have bought their minerals from, so that these companies will have to reveal conflict minerals in their supply chain. The difficulty with this is it can easily be manipulated. For example if the label says, “Australia-mined,” it could have been mined in the DRC then shipped to Australia ( International electronic companies are fueling this war by not taking responsibility of where their materials come from. Doing business with these armed groups and war lords is criminal; whether the involvement is direct or indirect the result of that business is still resulting in violations of human rights ( There needs to be much more work done on this issue, governments and companies alike need to take an initiative. Internationally there needs to be a process in which Coltan is dealt with. “The long-term solution means global tracking of minerals” Jamie Keen of MiningWatch, Canada (
Do you want to help? ( to stop indirectly fueling a war but can’t see life without your prized cell phone well how about you try to:
• Call your cell phone manufacturer and ask if their phones contain Congolese Coltan.
• Make sure any of your personal savings/pension money is not invested in companies doing business in the Congo.
• Support the Congolese people by raising awareness.
Sign a petition / Send a message:

Amnesty International- Pursuit of Human Rights

Amnesty International got its start in London in 1961, with one campaign lead by founder Peter Benenson. Benenson was upset after hearing of two Portuguese students imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom. As a result of his indignation about this he decided to publish an article, “The Forgotten Prisoners” in the Observer newspaper.

This article initiated the “Appeal for Amnesty 1961”, it became a worldwide campaign. Motivating a significant reaction from people, the story was reprinted in newspapers all over the world. This resulted in the first international meeting held that year in July to establish a permanent international movement. Countries like Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the US attended (
Amnesty International is a non-governmental human rights organization devoted to ended human rights abuses. The objective of the organization is not only to motivate action to help prevent and bring an end to severe abuses of human rights, but also to demand justice for the people who’s rights have been abused. It is made up of over 3 million people including supporters, members and activists that are located in over 150 countries ( Worldwide it has 1,800 employees and hundreds of volunteers that make the work they do possible. They work to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people around the world. The organization runs free from any governmental, religious or economic influence and is mainly funded by their members and public donations. Amnesty International believes that when there is a human rights abuse anywhere in the world it should be a concern for people universally. Amnesty works to join people together from across the globe to mobilize, bring public pressure and demonstrate international solidarity. Amnesty International strives to shape international solidarity through the work they do and with all their members who work for global human rights.
Amnesty international puts together campaigns for the protection of womens rights, the abolition of the death penalty, demands for freedom of expression, justice for crimes against humanity, and corporate accountability when companies have abused human rights ( They deal with these campaigns with many different tactics. One way they do this is to start a dialogue with multiple different agents including governments, intergovernmental organizations, armed political groups, companies and other non state actors (

Another way in which Amnesty handles campaigns is by using their research of individual cases of countries and people with patterns of human rights abuses. The organization will make records of the abuses and then publish them. After the information goes public Amnesty members and supporters start building public pressure (on governments and others that have the power to end abuses.) In addition, Amnesty International works to get all governments and other agents of power to comply with the rule of law, and to put into action the human rights standards. Also Amnesty has multiple human rights educational activities; and encourages the general support of human rights (
There are many issues/campaigns that Amnesty international is involved with that have a focus on peace and conflict. There is a list of some of the most recent examples:
• Demand for the “Three Freedoms” for Myanmar campaign: Myanmar will soon be holding its first national elections in 20 years which has been a atmosphere of harsh political repression. Amnesty is working to apply pressure to Myanmar’s neighboring countries to talk about and stand against the country’s military government.
• Sudan: Conflict in Darfur: Arms sales from China and Russia are fuelling serious human rights violations in Darfur, Amnesty International said today. These arms transfers highlight the urgent need to strengthen the existing ineffectual UN arms embargo and for governments to agree an effective Arms Trade Treaty.China, Russia, and Belarus keep on supplying weapons and munitions to Sudan regardless of that fact that these weapons will be used against the civilians living in Darfur. Some of these arms include significant amounts of ammunition, helicopter gunships, attack aircrafts, air-to-ground rockets and armored vehicles (

A large part of Amnesty international’s work is devoted to working to prevent and end armed conflict. Amnesty International stated that where there is conflict and war there will inevitable be suffering for many and conflict reproduces massive amounts of human rights violations. Many of these include unlawful killings, torture, forced displacement and starvation. In these conflicts all over the world groups armed with weapons and governments habitually perform violence against civilians, committing war crimes and abusing human rights.

Although there are rules during war that every person, government is suppose to be following. This comes from the International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the laws of armed conflict or the laws of war. It was developed in order to lessen the consequences of war and conflict. What it does is sets restrictions on the resources and methods of executing armed maneuvers. The rules of the International humanitarian law are set in place to compel the fighters to leave civilians alone and unharmed. Also, to spare those who are no longer involved in the fighting. These people would include soldiers who have been injured or who have surrendered. The IHL applies during armed conflict only and human rights law applies in war and peace (

Amnesty International continues to battle armed conflict in many ways, here is a list of a few more things they continue to do:
• Campaign for the end to impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity
• Campaign to lessen the amount of small arms that fuel the conflict and abuse
• Lobbying for the adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty.
• Campaigns for International peacekeepers to protect civilians in Darfur and eastern Chad, and has urged its supporters across the world to write to Sudanese MPs, calling on them to take a stand against the atrocities happening in their country.
• Campaigning to end the recruitment of child soldiers and to ensure that they are demobilized and reintegrated into society.
• Lobbying the UN for strengthened protection of civilians, including strict adherence to human rights and humanitarian law in peacekeeping efforts.

-Kristine Stull