Military intervention cannot liberate women because it is embedded within a set of assumptions, beliefs, and social relations that reinforce and reproduce gender inequality, as well as other social inequalities within and across nation-states. Military intervention depends upon a belief in the legitimacy of armed violence in resolving political problems, which in turn depends upon our adherence to particular ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman.

Men, I thought, were more trouble than they were worth. Really, one should stick to books where one sees the hero coming a mile off.

Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

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