Blasting into fame: female terrorists make a statement

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Mihailescu, Laura
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Over the last few decades, women have proved that they are willing to join violent organisations and fight for their cause alongside their male counterparts. Yet, it seems that an attack caused by a female suicide bomber is always unexpected, confusing, and overemphasised. Usually, women are not associated with the execution of violent acts, but, due to their gender, they are rather seen as the resultant victims. However, by employing a rhetoric which undermines their capacity of voluntarily performing such dreadful acts, they are denied agency and are reduced to the notion of incapacitated actors. This thesis attempts to discourage the common assumption that women who become female suicide bombers should be seen as victims of their own societies. In order to properly address the phenomenon of female suicide bombers, a multi-level analysis will be employed. The motivations for committing such acts will be analysed against the backdrop of the regional conflicts. Media and academia discourses shall be assessed, while also engaging with feminist theories of crime. In addition, the last chapter will present the suitability of the current counter-terrorist framework in relation to female suicide bombers and suggest improvements where needed in order to circumvent this deadly phenomenon.
Second semester University: New University of Lisbon
suicide bombings, terrorism, women