Table of Contents

Handbook on Gender and War

Handbook on Gender and War

International Handbooks on Gender series

Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen

Gender and war are in many ways inextricably linked, and this path-breaking Handbook systematically examines the major issues surrounding this relationship. Each of its four sections covers a distinct phase of war: gender and opposition to war; gender and the conduct of war; gender and the impact of war; and gender and the aftermath of war. Original contributions from an international group of leading experts make use of a range of historical and contemporary examples to interrogate the multi-faceted connection between gender and war.

Chapter 14: From woman warrior to innocent child: telling gendered news stories of women terrorists

Dan Berkowitz and Qi Ling

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, terrorism and security


News reporting of terrorism has long drawn on gender-specific mythical archetypes to tell the stories of women terrorists. This chapter explores four narratives of women terrorists that journalists adapted to make sense of social life and maintain gender order: the Woman Warrior, the Innocent Child, the Terrible Mother and the Female Monster. Most often, women terrorists are portrayed in terms of their physical appearance or family connections, and as motivated by love or gender equality. The mindset of these women terrorists tends to appear as either tougher than men or as bored, naive and out of touch with reality. Such mythical archetypes have not only supported existing gender values, but have also reinforced the central-marginal geopolitical order between the West and the non-West.

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