Terrorism

Agency is given to the representation of gender stereotypes, regarding the terrorist. I found it very informative that since the 1980s women had committed suicidal terrorist attacks, such as suicide bombing and using the body as a weapon. I agree that there has definitely been less attention to women, as terrorists are predominately associated with a kind of masculinity. These representations of terrorists are socialized in visual and mass media. Literature, since it does not have a visual aspect, is unable to define and produce images of the terrorists. Literature is blind to the question of gender and just assumes that terrorists are men. There is a “strategic role of visuality in modern war and they demonstrate the visual performance of the social world”. There is a lack of the publication of terrorists.

I also found it informative that the word terrorist does not have an exact, thorough definition. The author describes the terrorist as being “constructed as the epitome of transgression against economic resources and moral, physical and political boundaries. As Jameson put it “the image of the terrorist […] is one of the privileged forms in which an ahistorical society imagines radical social change”, displacing older images of criminals, revolutionaries and even the veteran”.

Lastly I found these quotes powerful: “Agencies, including national authorities, involved in combating terrorism, need to visualize the terrorist in order to give identity to the threat.” “Terrorist acts are seen as threatening Western masculinities because they are the ultimate manifestations of hyper -masculinity, a willingness to give up one’s life in an act of powerful violence, to serve a perceived greater goal. As a re- sult, in counterterrorist strategies the body of the male terrorist needs to be made invisible, discredited and de- masculinized.”

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One thought on “Terrorism

  1. I agree that there is a lack of publications on terrorists, specifically female terrorists. It would be interesting to consider women terrorists’ motivations in contrast to those of their male counterparts. I found the author’s discussion on hypermasculinity interesting as well because it elucidates why terrorists act–which is “to serve a perceived greater goal”, either for a religion, a nation, or to transmit a message. When these goals become paramount in the minds of the perpetrators, even death cannot stop them and instead becomes another manifestation of hypermasculinity.

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