Terrorism: let’s call it out

Fiona Colin, Melbourne, May 3, 2024

Terrorism: “the use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”.

Enculturated from birth into a patriarchal system, most see gender politics as simply ‘how it is’ or may not perceive it at all. While many instances of violence against women are instances of controlling behaviour, it does not require women to act in any particular way in order for that violence to occur. It is in some respects an invisible threat which nevertheless has the effect of causing women – and some men – to at least be ever-mindful of their behaviour in order to ‘stay safe’. Alert, not alarmed. Sometimes alarmed. And sometimes hurt.

Advances towards gender equality are in some contexts unwinding. Female teachers report constant gender-based intimidation from male students, often inspired by social media ‘influencers’ who preach women’s inferiority.

In a 2014 paper, International Journal for Masculinity Studies found that “for climate sceptics, it was not the environment that was threatened; it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity”. (Guardian, 2/2020).

Informed by gender and politics, our security agencies would be well-justified in applying the term “terrorism” in this space.

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