Brides of Palestine/Angels of Death: Media, Gender, and Performance in the Case of thePalestinian Female Suicide Bombers

Authored by: Dorit Naaman

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Violent Extremism
Country: Palestine
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2007
Citation: Naaman, Dorit. "Brides of Palestine/Angels of Death: Media, Gender, and Performance in the Case of the Palestinian Female Suicide Bombers." Signs 32 (2007): 933-955.

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In this article, the author focuses on the issue of terrorism—especially its performative aspect—and how media representations deal with the loaded image of the Palestinian female suicide bomber and her message. With regard to Western media, the author aims is to show the constructed nature of the label terrorist, especially as it stands in stark contrast to the highly coded and constructed label woman. The author claims that both terms represent ideological expectations of performance rather than reflect actual actions or natural (maybe even essential) states of being in the world. In the case of the Arab media, the term shaheeda (martyr) enables people to bypass the loaded deviation from traditional gendered roles and as such mythicizes actions taken rather than engaging with their gender politics. In contrast to news media, filmic representations from Israel and Palestine provide a much more nuanced and complex view of terrorism and the place of women in it. Those images sometimes challenge media stereotypes and sometimes employ them to diverse political ends.