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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gender and Terrorism

Assignment 2: Discussion Questions
Gender-selective terrorism is a form of terrorism directed at individuals because of their gender. Consider the readings and learning from the week to answer the following questions:
  • Is gender-selective political violence always communal in nature? How? Can the violent sexual assaults on women be treated as terrorism? Why/why not?
Gender based terrorism is not always communal in nature. “Honor killings” conducted by Muslims in Western societies, whether committed by males or females, are based on individual mores. There are many societies in contrast where political violence against women is based on community mores.”Female vulnerability in Arab society is aggravated by male supremacy and the patriarchal power structure of Arab families that justiļ¬es in equality between men and women, and enables male family members to control women.” (Berko & Erez, 2007, p.497) Finally, there is the consideration that political violence targeting women is not always based upon mores defining women as second class citizens to be subjugated, but rather that women are both “softer”targets than men as a generality, and that the effects of terror committed against women generate more of an effect of terror against the target population. Serbian rape camps can be used to illustrate this last consideration. “Raping women on the ‘other side’ is a key weapon in the humiliation of the opposing forces”(Davies, 2008, p.613)
  • What are the causes of systematic violence against women? Does such violence against women have a high likelihood of occurring more often in some sociopolitical environments than others? Explain.
Violence against women, whether politically based or not, is more likely in societies in which women are viewed as second class citizens. One culture that holds this view is Islamic based society. “All women are expected to preserve family’s reputation and 'honor', which in Arab society is primarily connected to women’s sexual conduct” (Berko & Erez, 2007, p.496). Pantaleo explores this further in discussing the murder of woman maquiladora workers in Mexico; “the attitudes towards men and women in Mexican society: the male terms are considered to be dominant and respectable while the female terms are degrading and inferior. “(2006, p.18).
  • How should governments and international organizations respond to gender-selective terrorism against women?
Governments should deal with gender based terrorists with the same targeted assassinations, renditions, and enhanced interrogation that should be used on all terrorists.
Finding pertinent information regarding gender based terror has been difficult; much of the literature I have read has been generated by 3rd wave feminists/Marxists whose discussion of the subject is colored by the prism of proving masculinity in of itself is “bad”. Davies, as one example, contends that “there appears a clear link between conflict or violence and that dominant masculinity which is characterised by misogyny, homophobia, racism, compulsory heterosexuality, the importance of confrontational sport and the use or threat of fighting” (2008, p.612). She used every Leftist keyword except “capitalism. Not to worry, though. Pantaleo comes though in true fashion; “ some feminists view capitalism as a form of prostitution” (2006, p. 20). Sometimes research does involve a good deal of sorting wheat from the chaff.

Berko, A., & Erez, E. (2007). Gender, Palestinian Women, and Terrorism: Women’s Liberation or Oppression? Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 30(6), 493–519. doi:10.1080/10576100701329550

Davies, L. (2008). Gender, education, extremism and security. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, 38(5), 611–625. doi:10.1080/03057920802351432

Pantaleo, K. (2006). Gendered violence: Murder in the maquiladoras. Sociological Viewpoints, 22(2), 13-23. Retrieved from February 5, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/221236130?accountid=87314

1 comment:

  1. and the acts of sexual assaults committed by refugees against native women in Europe can also be looked at in terms of humiliating the enemy, as discussed in question 1