chapter  13
19 Pages

The portrayal of female terrorists in the media: Similar framing patterns in the news coverage of women in politics and in terrorism

ByBRIGITTE L . NACOS

Contrary to the gender stereotypes in the earlier citations and contrary to conventional wisdom, women terrorists are neither misfits nor rare. Throughout the history of modern terrorism, females have been among the leaders and chief ideologues (i.e., in the American Weather Underground, in Italy’s Red Brigade, and Germany’s Red Army Faction) and followers in terrorist groups. And today, according to Christopher Harmon, “more than 30 percent of international terrorists are women, and females are central to membership rosters and operational roles in nearly all insurgencies.”3 Other estimates range from 20 percent to 30 percent for many domestic and international terrorist groups. Typically, left-wing organizations have far more female members than conservative organizations. Yet, whenever women commit acts of terror, most people react with an extra level of shock and horror.