Gender Always Plays a Role

The concept of gender, specifically adhering towards women, has been unaccounted and unrecognized by many around the world and there has been a struggle to grasp full understanding roles of women. When looking into the terrorism field of studies gender is often ignored and understudied by many scholars. The cause of this isn’t due to researchers omitting women but it traces back to gender stereotypes that produce a gender hierarchy. This then reflects women as peaceful, care givers, and victims and the men as the fearless and strong warriors, and then with the help of the media, this conceptualized thought on gender is embedded in many. According to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, they say that this gender trap created is creating a blind sight to who has the ability to perpetrate such violent terrorist acts, and that there is no evidence that male and female terrorists are fundamentally different in terms of their recruitment, motivation, ideological fervor, and brutality. The capabilities of one is often judged and determined based on their gender in the Middle East, but for women, they are severely underestimated to their full capabilities.

Back in December 2000, the Israeli military banned all men from traveling in private vehicles on the West Bank roads unless a woman was also present in the vehicle. This is obviously because they didn’t see women as a threat and wouldn’t suspect any women to carry out the same acts. Such assumptions is why since then, women have become more predominate in carrying out terrorist acts such as suicide bombings. The invisibility of women in the Middle East is what makes it possible for them to be successful in these missions, but it also contributes back to the dominance of men and their influences on the women to carry out the mission.

Female Suicide Bomber
A case in Palestine back in 2002, reflects on the acts of four women who took part in this type of terrorist mission to decipherer whether they should be considered suicide bombers or martyrs due to gender implications or self-motives. Scholar Frances Hasso, concludes that in this case they are considered as both because they did insert themselves into a male dominate sphere but since they followed through the mission they were able to undermined gender-sexual norms at the same time.

There is so much more to be accounted for when it comes to gender within terrorism field studies, but what we can take away from this is how women are overseen by men in almost every aspect of life in the Middle East. There is so much gender biases in the Middle East, and due to this women are overseen when it comes to them playing the victimizer.



5 thoughts on “Gender Always Plays a Role

  1. I found this blog extremely interesting for many reasons. I am a psychology major and perception of women is a large part of what we discuss in our field. It is COMPLETELY true that men are seen as dominant and controlling while women are seen as nurturing and victims of violence-from men especially. I was completely unaware than in the Middle East, women were carrying our terrorist acts, because like others, I viewed them as unintimidating and less threatening than men. In America, we rarely hear of women committing violent acts such as terrorism, and we most likely hear of men carrying out violent crimes like school shootings, domestic violence, etc. Thank you for sharing this knowledge with me, I found it very informational.

  2. I agree, this blog was very eye opening to me regarding this perception of women in the Middle East. It is not often that we hear the media covering stories regarding these acts carried out by women. Not saying that it isn’t the case, but I know in U.S society, a lot of situations do leave the man as the dominant source in these types of situations so it is interesting to read about it in the Middle East as well. It goes to show that the violence really is being carried out by both genders and should be taken into consideration more often.

  3. This blog was definitely an interesting one. There is little-to-no mention of female terrorists in today’s society, so getting to read more about women’s roles is a treat. Obviously, terrorism isn’t good, no matter whether it’s being done by a man or a woman, but it’s interesting how we are socialized to react in a softer way to women. Also, if you hear that a man is a terrorist, you probably don’t think anything of it, but if you think about a female terrorist, questions like “What about her kids? Her family? Her husband?” etc. pop into my mind.

  4. This is an important topic to focus on, but also dishearten that some woman are so heavily influenced by men to carry out acts of terror. I think the fact that so many more woman are getting involved in terrorist acts is very interesting to the western world. The idea of it sort of puts us as a society in “awe” that woman are so often ignored as threats that they can get away with terrible crimes.

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