Terrorist Transgressions

In Sue Malvern and Gabriel Koureas’ piece called “Terrorist Transgressions: Exploring the Gendered Representations of the Terrorist, explains how terrorist are defined and how those definitions are often formulated through circulated myths. These myths are often perpetuated through people’s, often Americans, perspective of war and the imagery that follows. This heavy reliance of the western notion of terrorism aides in the reinforcement of western culture and how we define what constitutes and what does not constitute the framework of terrorism. This can be an incredibly problematic interpretation, more specifically when the notion of gender is introduced.  While masculinity can be viewed as fluid in certain respects the idea of terrorism can be just as malleable. What is most interesting in this article however is the point about how the demonstration of political violence is seen as acceptance of political and gender roles, but also that those who speak in favor of terrorism usually follow the same gender conventions and according to Schraut, “representations of the terrorist oscillate between gender-role transgressing and gender-role stabilizing because approval of politically motivated violence can only be formulated with reference to the representations and terms that accompany traditional gender perspectives”. Another interesting point in this article focuses on the representation of terrorism and its association as a spectacle. An example was that of the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden during the raid of his house in Pakistan. It was said that the photographs captured the “invisible terrorist” because it could not be seen by the audience of the photograph but only through the reactions of the military advisors, acting as a sort of mirror. This asserting of authority was also deemed a masculine maneuver in the article. Later the article speaks of women and terrorism and how women have always been active members of organizations that would be classified under terrorists groups, however, women preforming acts of violence “paralyzes the discourse”. I found this all interesting because I never really thought to apply gender to the act of terrorism even though the article maps out the ideas in perfect sense. It really makes you question how society views gender even in the light of violence and violent acts.


One thought on “Terrorist Transgressions

  1. I remember this article and I found the gendered representation of the terrorist interesting too. It’s interesting to see how the image of the terrorist is masculine and all the violence with terrorism is associated with masculinity. I also thought it was interesting how they applied gender to political actions.


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