Journal of Social and Political
ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)
ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)
Published: 25 September 2020
The Case of Jihad Jane: Engendering and Embodying Power, Femininity and Access
Alder Graduate School of Education
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Keywords: Gender Studies, Terrorism Studies, Content Analysis
Since the aftermath of September 11, 2001 and before the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in 2013, there has been a small rising number of Americans, particularly white women embracing radical Islamic thought. The two known faces of female homegrown terrorists were Colleen LaRose and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez. Both identified themselves as “Jihad Jane” and “Jihad Jamie” respectively. Their physical appearances and images perplexed and shocked the public and provoked fear in the U.S. national security. Using legal documents and newspaper articles, this paper explores how these women manipulated their images to transcend traditionally defined roles and ideas about gender and race through their engagement with transnational terrorist networks that embrace the discourse of “West versus Islam.” Through content analysis, this paper analyzes how the “Jihad Jane” used her ‘femininity’ to create access, to empower herself and to deconstruct the ‘masculine’ and ‘racial’ models of terrorism.
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