This week I started bringing all of my sources for the final paper. I will keep working on it for the next month. However, I also wanted to explore radicalization in a gendered way. That’s why I shifted my research towards women. For the majority of my research, I always came across men who were the victims of radicalization, so I wondered whether women did not care for such extreme ideologies or were they merely in the background. I was surprised to find out that women carried one of the most important roles in terrorist groups. They were in charge of nurturing the new members and making them feel at home.
Women were truly essential in selling the idea that the extreme ideology was the only place where the new members would feel at home. However, solely giving women the nurturing role seemed to be too easy of an answer. Why spend that time indoctrinating them just to turn them into mother figures who cook and make the members feel safe. That question revealed the true purpose of women in terrorist groups, which was to ensure obedience at all levels. They were responsible for assimilating the new members into the group and protecting the hierarchical structure. Often, women created the culture of the group. They ensured that any disobedience would not only be punished by the higher-ups, but also by the other members. By creating a culture where getting shunned was a big threat to the members, they managed to make sure everyone stayed loyal to the cause. In terms of the MAO-a gene previously mentioned, since it’s an X-linked gene, women could be classified as having high, intermediate, or low functions of that gene, while men were only able to get the two extremes. Genetically this means that there was a chance that these women who were affiliated with terrorist groups were psychopaths, much rather they were very conscious about their role in the group and how to enact it. In some ways, while the men did all the heavy work, women played a critical role in maintaining the rigid dynamics of the group. These are just some nuances that I didn’t want to miss out on conveying.
Thank you and see you soon!