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‘Women and children first’?

Alderson, P; (2015) ‘Women and children first’? In: Mayall, B and Rosen, R and Twamley, K and Varley, A, (eds.) Proceedings of Feminism and the politics of childhood: friends or foes? Institute of Education (IOE) - University College London (UCL): London, United Kingdom. Green open access

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Abstract

Throughout history, most violence has occurred towards and between oppressed people rather than against the oppressors. One example is Black South African violence during the apartheid era and still today. Dominant groups sustain their power through divide and rule, through stirring up complicated antagonisms, blame and guilt among the subordinate groups who might otherwise be strong allies against oppression. Men’s treatment of women and children has exploited this tactic, and feminism has had to include women shaking off the infantilised, powerless, lowly status they were forced to share with children. Just as men boosted their own higher status by denigrating women, women often seek to raise their own standing by denigrating children. ‘We have fought to become real adults, no longer to be treated like children’, is a common theme. That raises the questions: Should children be ‘treated like children’? What does that involve? What are the likely advantages and disadvantages of being treated ‘like a child’? And what does being a ‘real adult’ mean? This paper considers alternatives to oppressive divisions of generation and gender, such as ‘women and children first’ and ‘children first and always’. The divisions underlie destructive values in current politics and economics, which Bourdieu, Wacquant and others have identified as ‘masculinist’ workfare and prisonfare states, in contrast to ‘feminine’ welfare states.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: ‘Women and children first’?
Event: Feminism and Childhood Studies: Friends or Foes, London, United Kingdom, 16-17 November, 2015
Location: UCL London
Dates: 26 June 2015 - 27 June 2015
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: © UCL
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1536036
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