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Gender And Nation Australia (Annotated Bibliography).

914 words - 4 pages

Reekie, G., 'Contesting Australia: Feminism and Histories of the Nation' in Whitlock. G. & Carter, D. (eds), Images of Australia: an Introductory Reader in Australian Studies, St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1994.This article gave me understanding of the feminist challenge to nation since World War II. Reekie discusses how the female experience has been excluded from national identity and the imagined community of nation mainly due to women not being included in the formation of the national identity and histories.I found her suggestion that nation is based on a fraternal community which would not exist except for the silent sacrifice and support of women, interesting. She suggests that in the past. reputed lack of evidence of feminine contribution to history and the fact that history has predominantly been written by male historians, has lead to exclusion of the female experience. Reekie also suggests that the masculinity of nation and national identity can only exist when the feminine experience is omitted.Reekie states that since the 1970's, feminist historians have found a great deal of evidence of women's contribution to Australian history. The article suggests that the feminist challenges to traditional histories and identities of nation may demand a reappraisal of traditional histories of nation and cause chaos to the imagined fraternal community of nation.This article, from a feminist perspective, gave me a different lens through which to view and consider the histories of nation and national identity.Evans, R. & Thorpe, B., 'Commanding Men: Masculinities and the Convict System', Journal of Australian Studies, No. 56, 1998, pp. 17-34.This article looks at how masculine authority of the early penal colony manipulated both genders, through punishment, into an almost singular group. Floggings produced feminine subservient behaviour in men and removing women's hair stripped them of their femininity. This manipulation of gender by a harsh and brutal male governing body was done to mould convicts of both sexes into slave labour.The authors gave me an insight into the extreme imbalance of gender in the new colony and how the mix of historical, social and cultural settings aided in perpetuating the masculinist hierarchies. The authorities also came from a very patriarchal British society which looked down on the feminine.According to the authors the authorities had a great dislike of homosexuals. By their own restrictive governing however, they actually created homosexual behaviour amongst convicts by cramming them together in small cells for example.The article explains how the lash, as a form of punishment, was so severe that it could turn any male convict into a quivering, feminised mess of broken flesh, body and spirit. Women were not generally flogged, but were de-feminised and made masculine by shaving their hair off and this became a hated and humiliating punishment.Through reading this...

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