Deconstructing and reinforcing gender norms and cultural taboos in Myanmar's Spring Revolution

These 15-minute videos contain the highlights of talks delivered in the Myanmar Dialogue Series, a platform enabling public debate about the pressing political and social conditions in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup. Where Dialogue Series speakers give their permission, we will create a Dialogue Short which condenses the core points of their presentation.

The Shorts are perfect for undergraduate classes and other educational settings where students need concise information on current pressing political and social issues in Myanmar. Policymakers and people working in settings with a lot of time constraints might also find that they usefully summarize issues about which they need to be abreast in order do plan and make decisions on Myanmar — and that they draw attention to the many promising new scholars of Myanmar emerging both from within the country and abroad.

Title: Deconstructing and reinforcing gender norms and cultural taboos in Myanmar's Spring Revolution

Speaker: Aye Lei Tun

Aye Lei Tun is currently working as a researcher on gender- and media-related studies for Burma-based international NGOs. In 2021, she enrolled in the PhD program in Political Science at McMaster University, Canada. She is also a published author, with a pen name Thawda Aye Lei and recently she has published four novels and two short story collections.

Date: 4 November 2022

Chair: Hunter Marston

In the 2021 revolution, we witnessed changes in gender attitudes, particularly in social taboos upon women’s utilities, male dominance ideas about marginalized gender groups, and women’s political participation. Most of the young protesters from the urban area have been fighting against misogynist ideas and acknowledging women’s role in the political and social movements. Yet, in the power struggle between oppressors and oppressed, human dignity and political correctness have been caught in a bind, as women from both groups have been targeted for personal attacks to defeat the opposing side. Thus, this presentation want to argue that, despite some flaws, the revolution could be a driving force in changing gender perceptions, whereas this trend was not seen in earlier protests against military coups.

With the aim of examining the driving forces and drawbacks of gender attitudes changes, this investigation attempts to understand the gender equality movements, arising with the coup in 2021 and its impacts on the landscape of women’s participation in politics.