Gender and the War on Terror


By Caroline Cottet:

Specialist Lynndie England holds an Iraqi detainee on a lead at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, 2003. Photo: Wikipedia.

When making sense of the people and things around us, it is often tempting to rely on binaries. There’s “us” and there’s “them”, there are “men” and “women”, “masculinities” and “femininities”, some are “white” others are not. These lists apply to our our daily routines as much as to extraordinary events. For example, the last few days have seen various forms of celebration for International Women’s Day. The ways in which such an occasion is observed highlight the common dichotomy between “men” and “women”. This constructed binary, like many others, may seem harmless. But those who consider themselves to be outside of that binary constuction argue would disagree, arguing that if you do not conform to the binary labels then suffer intolerance, insecurity and perhaps even violence. The…

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