Civil Wars and Sexual Territories

TitleCivil Wars and Sexual Territories
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsHigonnet, Margaret R.
EditorCooper, Helen M., Adrienne Auslander Munich, and Susan Merrill Squier
Book TitleArms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation
PublisherUniversity of North Carolina Press
CityChapel Hill

In the past, analyses of civil war, considered as a "family" matter, have focused on men. This essay pursues civil war as a metaphor for the "battle of the sexes." The author's thesis is that civil wars, which take place on "home" territory, have more potential than other wars to transform women's expectations. In all wars roles traditionally assigned to women are political in the sense that to maintain the hearth takes on ideological coloration. Yet nationalist wars against an external enemy repress internal political divisions and with them feminist movements. Civil wars by contrast may occasion explicit political choices for women.

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