Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Cynthia. 2nd ed. University of California Press, 2014. 

The book Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics is written by Cynthia Enloe, a famous feminist scholar in the discipline of international relations. The book uses a feminist approach to investigate the relationships between sexual hierarchy and other concepts in the contemporary world, such as tourism, agriculture, and militarism. The author connects military bases in periods of peace with gender hierarchy. The author argues that the establishment and operation of military bases includes the purpose of strengthening reinforcing sexual hierarchy. To reach this conclusion, Cynthia Enloe uses as an example the fact that militarized base camps constitute the efficient functioning of the military, and to this end depend on women to perform significant social roles as military wives, woman officers, and base prostitutes. She considers how war exploits women, using the example of sex slaves, who have been used as instruments for fulfilling male sexual needs. Regulations such as the Contagious Diseases Prevention Act (1864) have also protected male dominance, as women in and around base camps, who police officers have reported as likely to be prostitutes are compulsorily subjected to vaginity checks to prevent the spread of disease to male officers. However, such actions constitute humiliation.

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