For over a century and in scores of countries, patriarchal presumptions and practices have been challenged by women and their male allies. “Sexual harassment” has entered common parlance; police departments are equipped with rape kits; more than half of the national legislators in Bolivia and Rwanda are women; and a woman candidate won the plurality of the popular votes in the 2016 United States presidential election. But have we really reached equality and overthrown a patriarchal point of view? The Big Push exposes how patriarchal ideas and relationships continue to be modernized to this day. Through contemporary cases and reports, renowned political scientist Cynthia Enloe exposes the workings of everyday patriarchy—in how Syrian women civil society activists have been excluded from international peace negotiations; how sexual harassment became institutionally accepted within major news organizations; or in how the UN Secretary General’s post has remained a masculine domain. Enloe then lays out strategies and skills for challenging patriarchal attitudes and operations. Encouraging self-reflection, she guides us in the discomforting curiosity of reviewing our own personal complicity in sustaining patriarchy in order to withdraw our own support for it. Timely and globally conscious, The Big Push is a call for feminist self-reflection and strategic action with a belief that exposure complements resistance.
Preface: It’s Not All About Trump
1. Pink Pussy Hats vs. Patriarchy
2. Syrian Women Resist Peace Table Patriarchy
3. When Carmen Miranda Returns
4. Tourism and Complicity at Ticonderoga, Gettysburg, and Hiroshima
5. Patriarchal Forgetting at Gallipoli, the Somme, and The Hague
6. A Flick of the Skirt
7. A Winding Road to Feminist Consciousness
8. Cafeteria Ladies, Wonder Woman at the UN, and Other Acts of Resistance
Conclusion: Updated Patriarchy Is Not Invincible
Cynthia Enloe is Research Professor at Clark University specializing in critical studies of militarism and transnational feminism. She has appeared on the BBC, Al Jazeera, and NPR and has written for Ms. and the Village Voice. She is the author of more than fifteen books, including Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives and The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire. Enloe was awarded the Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement in Peace Studies Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA).
"With Cynthia's accessible and engaging style, The Big Push shines an important new light on contemporary and historical events."
—Sandra Whitworth, author of Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping
"Women and men who care about democracy and social justice need to read this book. Cynthia Enloe’s astute and far-sighted interpretation of 'sustainable patriarchy' is just what we need for the feminist struggles unfolding in the twenty-first century. It’s also what we need to combat inequality and authoritarian domination. Building on her vast knowledge of links between global trends and local battles, she offers new analysis and strategies with worldwide applications. A great read."
—Kathryn Kish Sklar, author of Women’s Rights Emerges within the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1830-1870
"Enloe tackles 'sustainable patriarchy' by fine-focusing the feminist lens onto everyday structures of power and constraint. In this highly engaging and thoroughly global study she shows just how complicity reinforces discrimination, so that masculinization and militarization can constantly adapt rather than fundamentally change. Enloe's realism is strategic for resistance and essential for empowerment. … This is a clear, witty, engaging and provocative read!"
—Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory, University of Bristol, UK, and author of Men in Political Theory
"Cynthia Enloe is an adventurer, an intellectual with a light touch and inveterate ‘feminist curiosity.’ She shows how thinking about gender, the renewal of patriarchy, and women’s resistance is vital to making sense of the world. It is a joy to travel with her."
—Beatrix Campbell, author of End of Equality (Manifestos for the 21st Century)
"Physics has unified field theory; feminism has Cynthia Enloe. In this fascinating book, she shows us the unifying thread that runs through so many systems: sugar production in Guyana; peacemaking efforts in Syria; domestic workers’ conditions in Jamaica; tourism at Gettysburg; political protest in Washington, DC. Examining masculinities and femininities to explore the ways patriarchy insinuates and propagates itself, she gives us powerful tools for understanding and change. And with her usual alchemy, she manages to make an entertaining page-turner out of a serious subject."
—Sohaila Abdulali, senior editor at Ubuntu Education Fund and author of Year of the Tiger
“This provides us with hope. . . . Feminist resistance is alive and kicking, locally and globally challenging patriarchy and its brothers: militarism, authoritarianism, and neoliberal economics.”
—Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies at SOAS University of London and author of What Kind of Liberation?: Women and the Occupation of Iraq
"Cynthia Enloe mixes razor-sharp analysis of contemporary patriarchy with profound empathy for women’s multiple forms of resistance. Without a doubt, she is the pre-eminent global feminist of our age."
—Melissa Benn, author of What Should We Tell Our Daughters?: The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female
“Quite simply, brilliant! This is a must-read for politicians and an absolute delight for those of us who thought we knew how power works.”
—Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
"This is a manual for taking us to the finishing line of gender equality. A jolt of new energy for longstanding feminists and a must-read for our new generations. Without understanding the incredible tentacles of patriarchy and its reinventions, we are destined to fight old battles as well as new ones. Cynthia Enloe, a great scholar and source of wisdom, pries open jammed patriarchal doors and nails the continuing reasons for gender inequality. A brilliant critique and a manifesto for our resistance."
—Helena Kennedy QC, Leading Human Rights Lawyer and member of the UK House of Lords. Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford