Comparative Study of Chechen and Kurdish Female Terrorists in the Mass Media



Card, Kathryn

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Since the 1990s the PKK and the Chechen separatists have been branded as terrorist organizations by the international community. As a result, these groups have challenged the conception of terrorist organizations. This is especially the case when the conversation turns towards who is directly and indirectly involved in such attacks. When debate arises about terrorist organizations, the topic usually revolves around the actions carried out by men in those groups, with little to no acknowledgement of the actions of women carrying out similar attacks. In the event that the discussion does turn to these women, there are a number of assumptions and stereotypes projected on them while their male counterparts receive no further label. This phenomenon of shock, confusion and stereotyping, of female involvement in terrorist organizations or attacks is due in part to the image of female fighters. This is representative of females not usually being linked with terrorist groups or war in general. When presence of a female fighter causes society to question the role of women .and what it tells us that woman should represent. Through my research I will analyze why the activities of women in the conflicts which have raged in Chechnya and Turkey in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively have been ignored or over exaggerated. This has been done to the point that their actions do not seem to have the same effects as their male counterparts to further their respective movements towards the end goal of independence. By examining the phenomena of invisibility and misrepresentation of female fighters in these movements, I aim to understand how the lack of acknowledgement of these actions reduces attention to the movements themselves. This will particularly examined due in part to the media’s focus on their gender rather than their goals and motivations as part of their organizations. I will examine both conflicts in the shadow of the collapse of the Soviet and Ottoman Empires as well as the "Global War on Terror." I will therefore analyze how these events have also played a role in the invisibility and misrepresentation of female involvement in both conflicts. Although I may only be examining two conflicts that involve women in terrorism and in combat roles, it is observable that the role of women and girls in terrorist activities worldwide has been relegated to insignificance and ambiguity in the male dominated sphere of war. My research will therefore revolve around the question of what are the roots of female involvement in armed conflict in Chechnya and Turkey and how is it represented in media?



Female fighters, Chechnya, PKK, Black Widows, Suicide terrorism, Mass media