Politics concerns itself with the distribution of resources, rights, and liberties as well as who controls their distribution. As such, politics is about power, as the ability of individuals to decide how things are governed is determined by their power to enforce decisions. To cultivate the necessary authority and power to enforce decisions political legitimacy is required. Political legitimacy shapes who has power and how they can use it, which in turn has a tangible impact on our lives via political power’s ability to dictate what we can do, who we can associate with, and how we view the world around us. The same applies in the opposite direction. For individuals to fight for their rights they must have a grasp of how to gain power and how to cultivate political legitimacy, leveraging their environments and contexts to gain the necessary momentum to secure their wellbeing. With that, this article seeks to explore how individuals have sought to foment political legitimacy through the use of gendered stereotypes to gain political power.
The tension between the local and the national is not a recent development in human affairs. From America’s “Out of Many, One” to Europe’s “Ever Closer Union”, political thinkers and politicians have recognised the need to address this friction. The failure to resolve it led to the Confederacy seceding from the United States of America, the Republic of Ireland breaking away from the United Kingdom, and, more recently, the United Kingdom voting for Brexit.