Scandalous subwomen and sublime superwomen: exploring portrayals of female suicide bombers’ agency

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Scandalous subwomen and sublime superwomen: exploring portrayals of female suicide bombers’ agency. / Marway, Herjeet.

In: Journal of Global Ethics, Vol. 7, No. 3, 01.12.2011, p. 221-240.

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@article{c159af19fd454360a56ab8882cd284ec,
title = "Scandalous subwomen and sublime superwomen: exploring portrayals of female suicide bombers{\textquoteright} agency",
abstract = "When the terms {\textquoteleft}women{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}violence{\textquoteright} are used, it is usually in the context of women as victims and rarely as perpetrators of violence, and yet women do behave aggressively – for instance, as female suicide bombers. An ethical analysis of this role, however, has tended to be somewhat overlooked, partly because of the gender stereotypes at play, with little (or spurious) focus on the agency and autonomy of the women. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the unique ways in which societies treat female political aggressions, and the consequences of this for their agency. This paper seeks to redress these issues by evaluating two different societal portrayals of female suicide bombers; that of the {\textquoteleft}scandalous subwoman{\textquoteright} and the {\textquoteleft}sublime superwoman{\textquoteright}. It argues that violent women's agency is often distorted to extremes beyond that of their male counterparts, and that it is imperative to avoid misrepresenting them either as agentless victims ({\textquoteleft}subwomen{\textquoteright}) or wholly agentic ({\textquoteleft}superwomen{\textquoteright}) since, even in times of political instability, they can rarely be dichotomised in this binary way.",
author = "Herjeet Marway",
year = "2011",
month = dec,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/17449626.2011.635677",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
pages = "221--240",
journal = "Journal of Global Ethics",
issn = "1744-9626",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Scandalous subwomen and sublime superwomen: exploring portrayals of female suicide bombers’ agency

AU - Marway, Herjeet

PY - 2011/12/1

Y1 - 2011/12/1

N2 - When the terms ‘women’ and ‘violence’ are used, it is usually in the context of women as victims and rarely as perpetrators of violence, and yet women do behave aggressively – for instance, as female suicide bombers. An ethical analysis of this role, however, has tended to be somewhat overlooked, partly because of the gender stereotypes at play, with little (or spurious) focus on the agency and autonomy of the women. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the unique ways in which societies treat female political aggressions, and the consequences of this for their agency. This paper seeks to redress these issues by evaluating two different societal portrayals of female suicide bombers; that of the ‘scandalous subwoman’ and the ‘sublime superwoman’. It argues that violent women's agency is often distorted to extremes beyond that of their male counterparts, and that it is imperative to avoid misrepresenting them either as agentless victims (‘subwomen’) or wholly agentic (‘superwomen’) since, even in times of political instability, they can rarely be dichotomised in this binary way.

AB - When the terms ‘women’ and ‘violence’ are used, it is usually in the context of women as victims and rarely as perpetrators of violence, and yet women do behave aggressively – for instance, as female suicide bombers. An ethical analysis of this role, however, has tended to be somewhat overlooked, partly because of the gender stereotypes at play, with little (or spurious) focus on the agency and autonomy of the women. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the unique ways in which societies treat female political aggressions, and the consequences of this for their agency. This paper seeks to redress these issues by evaluating two different societal portrayals of female suicide bombers; that of the ‘scandalous subwoman’ and the ‘sublime superwoman’. It argues that violent women's agency is often distorted to extremes beyond that of their male counterparts, and that it is imperative to avoid misrepresenting them either as agentless victims (‘subwomen’) or wholly agentic (‘superwomen’) since, even in times of political instability, they can rarely be dichotomised in this binary way.

U2 - 10.1080/17449626.2011.635677

DO - 10.1080/17449626.2011.635677

M3 - Article

VL - 7

SP - 221

EP - 240

JO - Journal of Global Ethics

JF - Journal of Global Ethics

SN - 1744-9626

IS - 3

ER -