It is shockingly simple for women to confuse men. All they have to do is blowing something up.
There is an infamous german columnist, Franz Josef Wagner, who has a very particular idea of what a woman is like and what actually can be considered as female behaviour. Last year he published an article sharing his thoughts on the question: “How can evil be a woman?” He raised this question shortly after Hasna Ait Boulahcen – cousin to the organiser of the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud, supposedly having blown herself up as a suicide bomber during a police operation. As we know now she didn´t do it herself but apparently Wagner wasn’t aware of that at the time, so Boulahcen to him clearly was a female terrorist. A woman. And he just couldn´t handle the fact.
To him, he wrote, a woman symbolises the ultimate good. It´s completely incomprehensible to him a woman could possibly be evil if she “gave you life”. Wagner is confused because in the past women were loving mothers, but now they had gained the “equality to kill just like men”. The fact of a woman being a terrorist represents such a crack in Wagner´s logic, that the only way to preserve his definition of femaleness is to actually deny these violent women had any kind of femaleness left. So he concludes: “It´s women who aren´t women anymore.”
This short text could have been published just like that in the seventies already when RAF terrorists Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin were at the peak of their popularity and Germany tried to understand what could possibly drive a woman to commit such crimes.
Positive sexism or poop smelling like perfume
But it was published in 2015. Therefore it is an example of how the public still has massive problems to simply recognise women as active players. Benevolently one could say this statement is a stupid case of an elder´s positive sexism, that sees women as noble and pure creatures (positive is not used as an eligible term here because positive sexism also caused the male disgust for menstruation because men would believe women poop flowers and smell like perfume).
But actually this simple answer Wagner gives on how it is possible that evil is a woman – namely it is not – reveals views considered to be sexist today (and rightfully so) still existing in public debate on female players, that are based in western antiquity already, giving history a strong variable of continuity. And it is revealed especially when it comes to topics like violence.
Because the concepts of both “woman” and “violence” just don´t seem to fit. While male violence in most cases is not questioned or reflected at all, seeming to be an integral part of his nature (which funnily is just as sexist), you always have to find very specific reasons for every single woman to explain this supposed exceptional case.
Female players in terrorism are not a new phenomenon
And so journalists would often start to psychologize, easily finding out the respective woman had daddy issues or difficult relationships with difficult men or she had a troubled relationship with her own sexuality or it´s simply feminism´s fault. Simply put, this is exotism because it reduces the active role of women and is declared an exception, an anomaly, committed by a woman driven by external circumstances.
Yet female terrorists are not a phenomenon of the post-9-11-era. At the turn of the 20th century, referred to by many as the age of anarchistic terrorism, there have been female assassins and bombers already and like I said before with Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof and Brigitte Monhaupt in the seventies, German history faced its most prominent and famous, even pop culturally adapted representatives.
But still nobody seems to consider the idea, that all these women could actually be autonomous, active individuals, who are able to politicise and radicalise themselves without beeing misled, influenced or manipulated by something or someone.
You know, Mr Wagner, I don´t think it´s far-fetched to suppose a woman can make her own decisions today. But this also means that she can decide to blow herself up in the middle of a crowded square every now and then. You might believe that women tend to be good and men tend to be evil. But reality shows that women are perfectly capable of being just the same assholes as well. And this is not due to supposedly perverted forms of feminism. It is because nobody ever considered women to be able to actively adopt evil.