Terrorism and Masculinity

The reading Terrorist Transgressions: Exploring the Gendered Representations of the Terrorist, by Sue Malvern and Gabriel Koureas was interesting in that it made me question the notion of masculinity.  I find it weird that terrorism is seen as an act of hypermasculinity.  Men and masculinity are aften associated with violence.  I am not sure if it is because of men’s history of barbarism or if its because of the chemical testosterone the masculine hormone.  Why is masculinity associated with one’s ability to use violence and strength to get what you want?  Its strange to see how giving ones life in an act of violence can be seen as the ultimate act of masculinity.  This creates associations that all men are violent.  This also creates the illusiom that men own the idea of violence.  For example if a woman commits an act of violence she is seen as hysterical or emotionally driven by a male love interest.  Women are not granted the ability to use agency to justify their actions.  Women are seen as overly emotional and sensitive so any acts of violence will be associated with these characteristics. I do not think that violence needs to be associated with gender at all but rather as human nature.  Men are not violent, humans are.  When we start looking at violence as a human trait it becomes an action that can become viewed objectively.


3 thoughts on “Terrorism and Masculinity

  1. It’s interesting to think about terrorism and violence as masculine even on a national level. When considering the rampant school shootings that have been plaguing our country, the perpetrators are almost always male, and in cases of mass casualties, every single one of the perpetrators is male. This could delve into a psychological discussion of where violence stems from and how it becomes manifest. There’s an interesting dichotomy between the acts of violence committed by women and men, with women tending to act out violence in less overtly violent ways, like physically attacking someone. However, it’s worth considering why women are perceived as simply emotional or hysterical in their acts whereas they are seen as an extension of masculinity for men.


  2. Hi Kyle! You make a great point on how masculinity is associated with strength. Looking at violence as a human trait is an objective view to this topic. The fact that terrorism is associated with males more than females is a great example of this. Great job!


  3. I think it’s interesting that they associate terrorism with masculinity because it’s seen as the “ultimate form of violence”– I think that statement in itself is problematic because categorized masculinity as aggressive and violent and I think it excuses violent behavior as a natural masculine reaction.


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