Terror's stealth weapon: women - Los Angeles Times

Terror's stealth weapon: women - Los Angeles Times
The stereotype exploited by terrorists is that women are gentle, submissive and nonviolent. Women evade most terrorist profiles because they are perceived as wives and mothers, victims of war-torn societies, not bombers. But terrorist organizations are increasingly employing women to carry out the most deadly attacks.

Based on my study of suicide bombings in Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Israel and the occupied territories, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Iraq, 34% of attacks since 1985 have been carried out by women.
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Arab feminists argue that women want to show that they are as dedicated to the cause as their brothers, sons and fathers.
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It becomes clear that perpetrating violence has done little to help women level the playing field in societies that consider their deaths more valuable than their lives. But in death, they serve another grim purpose: prompting security services around the world to subject women, including pregnant women, to humiliating and sometimes invasive searches — thus feeding the resentments that lead to more terror.

This (for me) is a compelling argument for radical conceptual feminism. Gender-based roles, status, and symbolic and resource control form a complex (and surprisingly stable) whole which can easily integrate one small change in the system (such as women behaving like men in certain, often ritually sanctioned, contexts). Paradoxically, these small changes often serve to buttress the system of inequality because traditionalists can argue that not much more change is needed.