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Blackpill Misogynistic terrorism: it has always been here

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Misogynistic terrorism: it has always been here​

Caron E. Gentry
| Published online: 08 Feb 2022

ABSTRACT​

Anti-semitism, racism, pro-life beliefs, and extreme Christian ideology have long been acknowledged to be a feature in far-right terrorist violence in the United States. However, what has been less acknowledged is the underpinning element of misogyny. This paper aims to reflect on why this is. First, it looks at the chronological trajectory of “common-couple violence” to “patriarchal terrorism” to “misogynistic terrorism.” Even though scholarship on this form of terrorism can be traced back to the 1970s, mainstream Terrorism Studies has never fully engaged with the idea. This is echoed in a recent assertion that misogyny and violence against women is not political and therefore not terrorism. Second, this paper aims to demonstrate that this lack of engagement works in tandem with the bare minimum of acknowledgement of misogyny in the far-right. Explicitly, it argues that it is hard to see misogyny in a largely patriarchal and masculinist system. This is even more important today with the rise of Incels and the manosphere, especially in how these support the US’s flirtation with Trump’s misogynist and racist driven neo-fascism.

Introduction​

Donald Trump may no longer be President, but the United States’ flirtation with fascism is not over. The storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 as part of the rising tide of far-right violence, voter suppression, the weakening of Roe vs. Wade, and continued police violence against the Black community point to continued ills within the US system. This essay will look at one of these ills: misogynistic violence. While most people might associate violence targeting women with Incels, this paper will argue that far-right violence in the US, particularly the violence associated with the Christian Identity movement, has always been misogynist and that Terrorism Studies, existing within the gendered and racialised structures of which IR and academia more generally (Vitalis 2015; Anievas, Manchanda, and Shilliam 2014; and Tuhiwai; Smith 2012), fails to acknowledge the intersection of misogyny and race.

Misogyny, as defined by Kate Manne (2018), is the policing force that upholds patriarchy, ensuring that (particular) women and girls conform to the normative order. Infractions are punished in some way; this may be visible and overt, or it may be more nefarious. The treatment of Hillary Rodham Clinton following Benghazi or of being accused of running a paedeophile ring out of a pizza parlour are such examples. Another might be the online, misogynoir1 abuse MP Dianne Abbot faced in the 2017 UK General Election. As one of the (black, female) leaders of the Labour Party, she received more online abuse than any other female politician (Elgot 2017) – thereby becoming an example of “misogynoir” (Bailey and Trudy 2018), or the specific form of hatred Black women face. By their very nature, misogyny and patriarchy are political: misogyny supports patriarchy as an order that shapes political institutions, laws, social and cultural norms, and what kind of privilege and access to power (most) women (do not) have. Yet, Terrorism Studies, with its focus on political violence, resists seeing misogyny as an important ideological, political force, which is, frankly, perplexing, if not just brutishly ignorant.

In Disordered Violence (2020), I outline that the major Terrorism Studies journals have never published on “patriarchal terrorism” or its subsequent related terms and rarely acknowledge feminism, women, and gender outside of quantitative variables or to register surprise that women are ever involved in terrorism (Gentry 2020, 89, 165). Simply put, this indicates to me, at least, that Terrorism Studies has a gender problem: whether this is continual surprise over women’s participation in terrorism, even though women have participated in most forms of modern terrorism (Gentry and Sjoberg 2015; Gentry 2019); or whether it is about the targeted, ideological violence that women face, the subject of this reflection.

More often than not, Terrorism Studies coheres to the same problem Cynthia Enloe (1990) identified as “womenandchildren,” which is the collapsing of two groups of people into naïve innocents (typically during wartime) to manipulate support for (military/violent) action. Equally, it has long had a Western exceptionalism problem. These combine in the inability or resistance to see misogyny and its related violence that targets women as a political ideology (Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro 2020). Additionally, as I have explored misogynistic terrorism over the past few years, I have been asked why the counter-terrorism community should care about misogyny. This question makes it seem as if the counter-terrorism community cannot remember its own (manipulative) justification for the War on Terror: to protect Afghan women. Still, of course, one must remember that women in the West are not at risk (written with tongue firmly in cheek, yet see Pinker 2011; Hudson et al. 2012 for why women in the West do not face any significant threat to their personal security): instead, it is Afghan women who are the targets of (brown men’s) misogyny (see Shepherd 2006; see also Gentry 2017; Mutua 2001). Perhaps, then, Terrorism Studies does not have a blind spot to all misogyny, only to the (white) kind that exists in the West.

However, white, Western misogyny has always been part and parcel of far-right extremism in the United States, including such groups as the KKK, the Order, Aryan Nations, and groups that make up the Christian Identity movement. The ideology of these groups was easy to identify as racist, nationalist, and as adoptive of fundamental Christianity. While not mentioned or paid attention to, misogyny always featured in these groups, driving such violence as abortion clinic bombings and assassinations of abortion clinic doctors, all of which encompass and support an element of white supremacist thinking which has received considerable attention lately, that of “replacement theory.” Therefore, this paper will show how misogyny has been overlooked in the American far-right and why these groups have always exemplified “misogynistic terrorism.”

Killing women is not political​

In Disordered Violence (2020), I term misogynistic terrorism as the latest discursive iteration of a body of scholarship to see violence against women as political and driven by ideology. This may not encompass all violence against women, but it is a somewhat hyperbolic demand to recognise women’s pervasive vulnerability – particularly to men and to the men that know them. Employing hyperbole is not without risks – of securitising women, which invites the government further into the bedroom and such invitations never end well for women, the LGBTQI+ community, or for ethnic minorities (see Sjoberg 2015) – this hyperbolic exploration is still a worthy endeavour as it exposes and challenges the gendered and racialised logic of Western notions of terrorism. Terrorism Studies relies upon masculinised, civilisational, and racialised narratives to establish white Westerners, particularly states and their agents, as the users of legitimate, moral, and rational violence. In looking at misogynistic terrorism and its relationship to Incel and far-right violence, the finger points back at those who are exceptionalised, white, Western men (see Gentry 2020, 187).

Looking at violence against women as political initially began with Dobas and Dobash (1979); Dobash and Dobash (1984), when they argued that domestic abuse was different from criminal violence. At the time, criminal violence was seen as a public act that was quite random, rarely following a pattern of behaviour. However, Dobash and Dobash (1984) found that domestic violence was cyclical, targeting a specific person, namely, the woman partner, and used to control said woman. According to them, abusive men “are deeply embedded in the existing intentions of male aggressors and these in turn are shaped and legitimated by a wider socio-cultural context of patriarchal domination” (Dobash and Dobash 1984, 286–7). In later work, they (Dobash and Dobash 1993) began to link domestic violence with other forms of violence against women, including rape and sexual violence. In 1995, Michael Johnson specifically termed this cyclical pattern of controlling abuse as “patriarchal terrorism.” He was the first to directly connect widely accepted elements of the terrorism definition with this form of violence, which “has the advantage of keeping the focus on the perpetrator and of keeping our attention on the systematic, intentional nature of this form of violence” (Johnson 1995, 284).

In this case, the use of violence is a way of controlling women to uphold patriarchal conservative norms of nuclear family and traditional gender roles, especially enforcing women’s submission. Later work then calls this form of violence “intimate terrorism” as it recognises that both men and women employ violence as a means of intimidation and dominance and both men and women can be perpetrators and victims of it. These scholars accept that patriarchy teaches all people to accept violence and hierarchy as solutions to problems, thus teaching all people the utility of violence (Kevan and Archer 2004; see also Anderson 2008; Gradinariu 2007; Dobash and Dobash 2004).

More recent work began to expand this term outside of the domestic space by looking at how women face a range of violences outside of the home as well. Rachel Pain (2014) picks up on how the War on Terror was partially justified by violence against women in Afghanistan, an “everyday” form of terrorism in the midst of the War on Terror. She parallels this with how women in the West faced gender-based violence too, if only in different ways. Pain (2014) also notes how this implicates Western men in perpetrating violence normally viewed, in a biased, neo-Orientalist perspective, as perpetrated by brown men. Ortbals and Poloni-Staudinger (2014) find that, in the Basque conflict between the Spanish state and ETA nationalists, masculinised violence spans from the interior life of the family, the sub-state violence of ETA, to the state response to terrorism. The importance of both of these pieces is that they begin to recognise that the violence women encounter outside of the home is linked just as much to patriarchy as domestic violence is.

This scholarship emerged alongside several events in popular culture. In the early 2010s, multiple print and social media journalists began to document “everyday sexism”2 and “everyday violence” in order to highlight the insecurity women face in everyday life (Bates 2014). This was joined by the eruption of the #MeToo movement in 2017. Although the phrase was coined in 2007 by Tarana Burke to empower and connect survivors of sexual harassment and violence and as a means of raising awareness for it, #MeToo took off when it was adopted by Hollywood to describe the endemic sexual abuse and harassment faced by women in the film and screen industry. Alongside these came the rise of Incel3 violence, like Elliot Rodger’s 2014 shooting and killing spree aimed at women in Santa Barbara, California, and the knowledge that women comprise the largest number of victims of mass shooters in the US. In a radio interview, feminist and environmental activist, Rebecca Solnit (CBC 2018), said that we should term Incel violence as a type of terrorism related to misogyny (see also Penny 2014; Bates 2021). In Disordered Violence (2020, 176–79), I do just that by aligning the ideology of misogyny (Manne 2018) with the common attributes of a terrorist definition (however unstable that may be). There is, however, one major issue: the refusal of mainstream Terrorism Studies to engage with any of these concepts and the refusal to see misogyny as political.

In their recent article, Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020) look at Incel violence – even though these well-regarded Terrorism Studies scholars find it difficult to include the full range of Incel violence within the scope of terrorism. If there is one thing most commonly agreed upon in Terrorism Studies, it is that terrorism is always political, driven by a political ideology, leading to targeted violence in order to achieve political objectives (Richardson 2006, 20; Schmid and Jongman 2005, 5–6). Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 568) downplay that Incels have a political agenda and, in doing so, minimise Incels’ misogyny:

the incel worldview is not obviously political. But because its core ethos revolves around the subjugation and repression of a group and its violence is designed to have far-reaching societal effects, incel violence arguably conforms to an emergent trend in terrorism with a more salient hate crime dimension.

One then has to ask, why is this not obviously political? The authors identify “the subjugation and repression of a group” as an emergent trend when ethno-nationalist, state, and far-right terrorism has always attempted to subjugate and repress a group. So, is the real problem here that Incels target women? And does this mean that these authors are so tied to the patriarchal binary of public (government, politics, and business) and private (domestic) spheres that they can never view something related to women as public and thereby political?

Nevertheless, Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 569) continue by differentiating between four different types of Incel violence, where one form is more political and more aptly terrorism than the other forms. Elliot Rodger’s aforementioned spree, Alex Minassian’s van attack in Toronto in 2018, and Scott Beierle’s shooting of a yoga studio in Tallahassee in 2018 are clearly driven by Incel ideology, which the authors begrudgingly see as terrorism (although Hoffman and Ware’s [2020] article on Foreign Policy’s website is more assertive about this). Yet, attacks where the perpetrators are less clear about their ideology but nevertheless clear about their Inceldom are less likely to fit within the categorisation of terrorism (Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro 2020, 570) – as if terrorism is the most clear cut designation of violence anyway.4

While Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020) do aptly capture the misogyny that dominates the Incel ideology and belief system, what they do not do is recognise that misogyny is political. This refusal allows them, then, to minimise the acts of violence where Incel ideology is less clear or less well developed than Rodger’s, Minassian’s, and Beierle’s. While I unpack why this is such a problem in the next section, there is one more element of Incel violence that takes Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 572) by surprise: that the Incels and far-right groups in the United States are joining forces:

A particularly worrisome trend is how seamlessly the militant incel community has been integrated into the alt-right tapestry, with common grievances and intermingling membership bringing the two extremisms closer together. As a 2019 report from the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right observed, the incel masses “are part of a growing trend of radical-right movements that are anguished by the success of neo- liberalism,” particularly women’s empowerment and immigration. The Anti- Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has also noted the links between “men’s rights activism” and the neofascist militant Proud Boys, further reinforcing the convergence of politicised misogyny with far-right activism.

This, perhaps, reads as naïve given how Trump’s presidency legitimated far-right violence, including Charlottesville, the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and, of course, the storming of the US Capitol Building, alongside misogynist, Islamophobia, and other bias before, throughout, and after his time in office.

Yet the misogyny of far-right terrorism has rarely garnered any form of acknowledgement, even though far-right terrorism is often associated with racism and anti-semitism. This is just further evidence that problems affecting women remain unwitnessed and, somehow, unpolitical, maintaining the public/private binary, stemming from Ancient Greece, as often criticised by feminists (Elshtain 1981). In picking up on this binary, Hegel identified women as “Beautiful Souls,” innocent, emotionally nurturing, and politically naïve and submissive, which later coheres with Enloe’s aforementioned “womenandchildren.” However, as good feminists, we all know that the personal is political, that the binary between the private and the public is a social construction, and that whatever impacts women impacts all people. Therefore, it is helpful to look at what misogyny is, how it operates, and where we can (all too easily) find it in far-right terrorism in the US.

Far-right terrorism’s ideology and its hidden misogyny​

Whereas Rachel Pain’s (2014) “everyday terrorism” looks at “fear” as a common denominator in the forms of violence that terrorise women or Ortbals and Poloni-Staudinger (2014) emphasise “machismo” as a form of masculinity that enables violence, I emphasise “misogyny” as an ideology that makes patriarchy work. By focusing on ideology, I am doing what I was taught to do as when I was an early Terrorism Studies scholar: recognise that a terrorist group’s political agenda is guided by an ideology and knowing the ideology helps in understanding the group’s strategy, organisational structure, attractiveness to members, identification of targets, style and scope of violence, and, importantly here, the members’ and leaders’ perspective on gender and gender roles (Drake 1998; Gentry 2004; Holbrook and Horgan 2019). Thus, this section establishes both the centrality of ideology to terrorism and how misogyny is a political ideology that upholds a political system, patriarchy.

In his 1998 article on terrorist ideology, C. J. M. Drake begins by asserting that terrorist activity is strategic and purposeful, with ideology being one factor in their strategy alongside group resources, intended reaction, and the “security environment” in which the group operates (Drake 1998, 54). According to Drake (1998), ideology, or a group’s “beliefs, values, principles, and objectives,” are the means “by which a group defines its distinctive political identity and aims.” Importantly, a group’s “political concerns do provide a rationale for their actions” and “a group’s ideology is extremely important in determining target selection because it defines how the group’s members see the world around them. The ideology of a terrorist group identifies the ‘enemies’ of the group” (Drake 1998, 55).

Holbrook and Horgan (2019, 7) find that how ideology shapes a terrorist group is perhaps more nuanced than Drake (1998) might present it; nevertheless, ideology is still part and parcel of a terrorist’s group culture:

Ideology gains significance not just in the substance of any meaning conveyed but also in its modes of transmission and the linkages these exchanges establish. Ideology is integral to, not separate from, the relational mechanisms involved in radicalisation pathways and its processes of social learning, collective memory and other social constructs. It imbues its components, such as status, belonging and reward, with significance which can only be understood in that ideological context.


While Drake (1998) looks at groups – discrete, with limited membership, and clearly delineated leadership – the previous iterations of “patriarchal” terrorism would not be classified as having such clear boundaries. Instead, the finger was pointed more diffusely at the worst margins of a patriarchal system – margins that could easily filled by those who adhere to a misogynistic mindset. In this paper, by focusing on the American far-right, I tighten the focus by honing in on the far-right, specifically those who adhere to Christian Identity thinking.

As feminist philosopher, Kate Manne (2018), explains, a patriarchal system is a socio-political order that places men in a superior position to women (see also Lerner 1986). Sexism, or the believed inferiority of women, is used to justify and rationalise this order. Feminist political theorists have very deftly demonstrated how both patriarchy and sexism have determined society, politics, violence, and war (Elshtain 1981, 1987; Pateman 1980; Enloe 1983 and Enloe 2000). According to an interview (Illing 2020) with Manne in Vox,

Misogyny and sexism … [work] hand-in-hand to uphold those social relations. Sexism is an ideology that says, “These [patriarchal] arrangements just make sense. Women are just more caring, or nurturing, or empathetic,” which is only true if you prime people by getting them to identify with their gender.


Manne then differentiates between sexism as the ideology and misogyny as the enforcement mechanism. I am not sure that such a differentiation is needed in identifying “misogynistic terrorism.” To reiterate, in looking at ideology’s importance to Terrorism Studies, “ideology is integral to, not separate from, the relational mechanisms” of a person’s involvement in terrorism (Holbrook and Horgan 2019, 7). Nevertheless, Manne argues that misogynists do not necessarily hate women but instead

Misogynists often think they’re taking the moral high ground by preserving a status quo that feels right to them. They want to be socially and morally superior to the women they target.
… most misogynistic behaviour is about hostility toward women who violate patriarchal norms and expectations, who aren’t serving male interests in the ways they’re expected to. So there’s this sense that women are doing something wrong…. But women only appear that way because we expect them to be otherwise, to be passive. (Illingly 2020).


Therefore, Manne really aims to explore how “we police women, how we keep them in their place, in their designated lane” and “[m]isogyny is the law enforcement branch of patriarchy” (Illingly 2020).

Misogyny, then, is “the system that polices and enforces [patriarchy’s] governing, norms, and expectations” (Manne 2018, 20). Since a terrorist organisation’s ideology sets the target and parameters of violence,

misogyny uphold patriarchal order … by visiting hostile or adverse social consequences on a certain … class of girls or women to enforce and police social norms that are gendered either in theory [i.e., content] or in practice [i.e., norm enforcement mechanisms]. (Manne 2018, 13).


Just as the “terror” of terrorism is about the threat of violence, misogyny “threatens hostile consequences” on a woman or a girl who commits an infraction of the norms (Manne 2018, 20). Violences identified as misogynist include the multiple forms of “everyday violence” women face – online abuse, misogynoir, transmisogyny, cyberstalking, stalking, sexual violence/harassment, homicide, mass shootings, domestic abuse, and rape. Thus, the question becomes how does the American far-right include misogyny-as-the-enforcement-structure within its ideology and actions?


The far-right​

The American far-right includes such groups as the KKK, The Order, Aryan Nations, groups identified with Christian Identity movement, and neo-Nazis/skinheads (Blee 2007; Sharpe 2000; Hoffman 1995). The far-right has drawn attention from the government and media at different times throughout the history of the United States, for instance, in the 1980s, when The Order and the Aryan Nations were active, and then at the end of the 1990s with the fear of millenarian violence. With 9/11 and the hyper-focus on radical Islamist violence, far-right violence was noticed less, even though the violence never truly went away. More recently, there has been an increase in far-right terrorism, especially white supremacist violence, “with a 320% increase between 2014 and 2018” (Auger 2020, 87). The Institute for Economics and Peace provides a useful summary of the major components of the far-right:

“Far-right” refers to a political ideology that is centred on one or more of the following elements: strident nationalism (usually racial or exclusivist in some fashion), fascism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration, chauvinism,5 nativism, and xenophobia. (As cited by Auger 2020, 88).


Therefore,

the term right-wing extremism covers a broad range of ideologies that essentially see violence as a legitimate tool to combat a political and ethnic “enemy” (including individuals with different culture, religion, nationality or sexual orientation) seen as a threat to the [sic] own race or nation. (Auger 2020, 89).


The focus of this paper is on white supremacists who justify their racism and anti-semitism through a fundamental version of Christianity (Blessing and Roberts 2018); this form is especially pertinent because between 2009 to 2018, of violence classified as far-right in the United States, white supremacist violence made up the majority of it, including 76% of far-right extremist killings between 2009 to 2018 (Auger 2020, 89).

When I taught a week on the far-right in my Terrorism Studies course over a decade ago, I would hone in on these elements, particularly unpacking the Christian Identity movement’s use of the Bible to support their racism and anti-semitism (Sharpe 2000). I might have mentioned that Christian Identity, like other elements in the far-right, opposed abortion, targeting doctors who performed abortions and abortion clinics. Admittedly, however, I glossed over the misogynistic elements within the far-right, falling neatly myself into line with the mainstream work on the far-right (if one re-reads the descriptions above, there is no mention of misogyny, sexism, or patriarchy apart from that brief allusion to “chauvinism”). This section then will look for the glossed over elements of misogyny in the previous work on the far-right in the US by paying particular attention to ideas related to “replacement theory.” More so, this section will demonstrate that domination and minimisation of women is simply not recognised as a politically significant element of far-right ideology by Terrorism Studies scholars.

Before explaining “replacement theory,” it is important to establish the racism and anti-semitism of the far-right and the basis on which it stands. This helps unpack far-right/Christian identity ideology, but also shows just how misogyny has been minimised by being either simply accepted or by going unrecognised. Most elements of far-right ideology intersect in some way abound misogynist underpinnings as explored next. These include:

  • Anti-semitism, which drives fear of big government, depends upon the telling of Eve’s story in Genesis;
  • Racism and the fear of miscegenation;
  • and replacement theory.


Thus, I argue that there is no far-right terrorism without misogyny.

Terrorism Studies has long acknowledge that women’s membership in the far-right is significantly lower than in their left-wing counterpart. When Terrorism Studies was focused, during the Cold War, on far-left versus far-right terrorism, women’s membership and leadership was discussed in contrast: far-left terrorism had far more women as members and leaders than the far-right because far-right ideologies are conservative and therefore not welcoming to women (Weinbank and Eubank 1987), which, of course, is another way of glossing over the misogyny of the far right. Yet, feminist work on terrorism by Swati Parashar (2011) and Sandra McEvoy (2009) highlights that women are involved in conservative groups, if we know where to look and if we choose to acknowledge them. In the new far-right, women, who now comprise 25% of racist activists (Blee 2017, 192), are the ones doing the work to make misogyny palatable to the larger community.

For example, Lana Laktoff is a sharp, excellent public speaker, with a carefully curated image (Darby 2020). With her well cut ash-blonde hair and professional dress, Laktoff removes any hint of an oppressed housewife from the far-right’s image. Yet, the women of the new far-right have the same “near-apocalyptic sense of urgency” as previous far-right groups in the US:

The time is now or never for white people to protect their own kind. For women, that means bearing white babies, putting a smiling face on an odious ideology, promising camaraderie to women who join their crusade, and challenging white nationalism’s misogynistic reputation. (Darby 2020, 11).


Although Kathleen Blee has studied on women in the American far-right for decades, increasing attention is being paid to the women that uphold the patriarchal and misogynist structures of far-right extremism. The use of women to cement and carry the weight of white supremacist nationalist ontology coheres with many other multiple nationalist movements, where women become the symbols of the nation (Yuval-Davis 1997; Elshtain 1987).

These gendered structures/constraints are owed to the far-right’s ideological leanings. One reason why white supremacists are anti-Semitic, or at least justify their fear of Jews, is owed to their fundamental Christian beliefs. Just as other “religious” terrorist groups6 “legitimi[se] their violence” “based [upon] religious precepts,” white supremacists in the US also feel a “sense of alienation” (Hoffman 1995, 275). Additionally, while many know that the far-right in the US fears both “big” government and international institutions, that this relates to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is less known: they believe that “powerful Jewish interests contro[l] the the government, the banks, and the media” which is known as the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) (Hoffman 1995, 275–76). Not only does this establish suspicion of any expansion of government, it sets up the binary of a “pure” white race against less “pure” others.

White supremacists believe white Americans are the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which were made up of Aryans (blonde-haired and blue-eyed) not Jews, and that Jesus was an Aryan and not Jewish. Therefore these “Aryans” are the Chosen People and the US is the “Promised Land” that must be protected from race dilution and impurities (Schafer, Mullins, and Box 2014; Simi 2010, 260; Hoffman 1995, 275–276; Sharpe 2000, 606–08; Sprinzak 1995, 26; Hoffman 1995, 276). “All non-Whites evolved from pre-Adamic, lower species” and are viewed as “mud people” (Sharpe 2000, 610), whereas Jews are seen as descended from Cain, who, according to the white supremacist version of the “two seedlines” theory, was a result of Eve having sex with the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Dobratz and Shanks-Meile 2000, 134). In her 2000 study of Christian Identity extremism in the US, Tanya Talfir Sharpe (2000) quotes from the Kingdom Identity Ministries Doctrinal Statement of Beliefs that uses Biblical scripture to uphold their supremacist views:

We believe the White, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and kindred people to be God’s true, literal Children of Israel. Only this race fulfils every detail of Biblical Prophecy and World History concerning Israel and continues in these latter days to be heirs and possessors of the Covenants, Prophecies, Promises and Blessings of YHVH God made to Israel. This chosen seedline making up the “Christian Nations” (Gen. 35:11; Isa. 62:2; Acts 11:26) of the earth stands far superior to all other peoples in their call as God’s servant race (Isa. 41:8, 44:21; Luke 1:54).


All of this stems from “Eve’s sin,” a reason long held by even more “mainstream” and less fundamental Christians in order to limit women’s role in the church and larger society.

Furthermore, far-right racism is built around procreation and miscegenation. The Aryan Nations doctrine is quite similar in its use of scripture to justify racist and anti-Semitic thinking:

WE BELIEVE there is a battle being fought this day between the children of darkness (today known as Jews) and the children of light (God), the Aryan race, the true Israel of the Bible … .
WE BELIEVE in the preservation of our race individually and collectively as a people as demanded and directed by God. We believe a racial nation has a right and is under obligation to preserve itself and its members … (as quoted in Hoffman 1995, 276)


The need to maintain white racial purity will, eventually, lead to a “race holy war” or RAHOWA (Berry 2017, 98). This demands a “cleansing of the United States;” founder and leader of the Aryan Nations, Richard Girnt Butler, warned

Aliens are pouring over as a flood into each of our ancestral lands … threatening dispossession of the heritage, culture, and very life blood of our posterity. … We know that as we return to our Father’s natural Life Order, all power, prosperity, and liberty again comes to us as our possession, to establish justice forever on earth. (Hoffman 1995, 276).


This is where replacement theory enters the scene.

The exact phrase, “replacement theory,” is imported from French white supremacist Renaud Camus’ (2018) idea of “the Great Replacement,” where he argues that the global elite is replacing white Europeans with non-Europeans. Yet, it coheres very neatly with the aforementioned US white supremacists’ fear of “white genocide” and the “race war.” More specifically, US white supremacists’ adoption of replacement theory holds that declining birth rates in white America will mean that white American votes will be replaced by immigrants and/or through the higher birth rates amongst people of colour (Brownstein 2021; Cillizza 2021). Dylann Roof’s two manifestos make mention of replacement theory and during his shooting he told one of his Black victims that he was killing him to protect white women (Gentry 2020, 186).

Where these sentiments used to be more hidden or seen as part of the US’ ugly racial “history,” the election of Trump in 2016 legitimised multiple forms of far-right extremism to loudly/violently proclaim replacement theory: at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville the marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us; you will not replace us;” it was the rationale for the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018; and it was the justification for the killing of mainly Hispanic shoppers in El Paso in 2020 (Ramirez and Nikki 2020). In the autumn of 2020, just before the Presidential election between Republican incumbent Trump and Democrat candidate Biden, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson argued that Democrats were planning to “replace the current electorate, the voters casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World” (as quoted in Ramirez and Nikki 2020). What is not discussed in most of the texts on far-right white supremacy is how racial purity and the prevention of “white genocide” is dependent upon (deeply) conservative gender structures and assumptions.

Replacement theory is a supporting ideology for the violence and the subsequent control of women and it receives attention from only a view scholars. Abortion clinic bombings and the assassination/homicide of doctors that perform abortions is an outcome of replacement theory and the fear of white genocide and these have long been acknowledged as part of white supremacist terrorism. White women have historically sought abortions at a higher rate than Black women or other minorities, therefore “ombing abortion clinics and killing the doctors … are viewed as justified acts to stop the killing of White unborn babies” (Sharpe 2000, 617–18). Some groups within this ideology are “promot[ing] polygamy … to enhance the White population” (Sharpe 2000, 612). Additionally,

A major concern for this philosophy is pollution of the White race through miscegenation. Interracial marriage, dating, and sex are strictly prohibited and are attached to every form of social ill conceivable. Diseases, germs, viruses, bacteria, and general uncleanliness are associated with race mixing. (Sharpe 2000, 612).


The misogyny is even further entrenched. Within Christian Identity, white women are presented within a problematic duality:

The White woman is considered the most beautiful creature in the universe, desired and sought after by males of all races. However, femininity carries with it the legacy of Eve and her indiscretion with Lucifer. Women are portrayed as weak and virtueless and above all corruptible, desperately needing White masculine leadership and strength. Women reach their highest fulfilment in the supporting roles of wife and motherhood. Her sole purpose in this culture is to maintain a comfortable home for her man and to bear “beautiful, healthy white babies.” To deviate from the performance of these roles is to become relegated to the ranks of a “sick feminist” traitor to the White race. (Sharpe 2000, 611–12).


Of course, this dualistic perspective of women echoes that of Incels: women must be beautiful; they must bear children; they must be submissive; their sole purpose is to please men; and yet they are not trustworthy (a la Eve); they will cheat on men, particularly betas, and their main driver is wealth and prestige. Thus, the only thing surprising about Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro’s (2020, 572) surprise that Incels and the far-right are joining up is their surprise.

What is perplexing is why any scholar would recognise that racism and anti-semitism act in tandem with each other yet never suspect that they are joined by other forms of hatred and power, such as misogyny? The simple answer is because misogyny is just not seen as important. Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 579–580) proclaim that they are engaging with feminist literature because feminists have explored the context of Incels, yet it is not a deep engagement with gender or misogyny and feminist work on terrorism. The “thinness” of feminism in this text begins to illuminate why misogyny is not classified as political – there is no feminism here.

Furthermore, this ignorance of deeper understandings of gender structures, like misogyny and patriarchy, tracks with the inability to recognise the misogyny that exists in the far-right previous to the rise of Incels. With the exception of Sharpe (2000) and Blee (2005; 2002), most of the work on white supremacist terrorism in the US fails to discuss how maintaining race purity rests on women and control of them, no matter how nuanced some of these texts are (see Auger 2020, 91; Blessing and Roberts 2018, 4; Schafer, Mullins, and Box 2014; Simi 2010, 260; Hoffman 1995, 275–276; Sprinzak 1995, 26). Additionally, in Auger’s (2020) article on the rise of the far-right in the US and Europe, he notes the assassination of UK Minister of Parliament Jo Cox as owed to xenophobia, but not as misogynist – even though multiple feminists have (Saner 2016; Jones 2019).

Therefore, this section has set out to show that misogyny is part and parcel of far-right, Christian Identity ideology and it always has been. Thus, the question that remains is why Terrorism Studies failed to see it earlier and why it continues to deny its importance. More so, it should use this time of reflection to learn about what else it has missed about gender and feminism. The storming of the US Capitol in January 2021 is seen within the scope of far-right extremism and, yet again, elements of misogyny and misogynoir were present: the targeted hunt for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and for Congresswoman Ayanna Presley (MA-Democrat) should speak loudly to the counter-terrorism community on why they should take misogyny seriously. Furthermore, here is yet another opportunity for Terrorism Studies to look at women’s roles in violence, seeing them as political agents in their own right.


Further thoughts

The problem, though, with using a hyperbole remains. Borrowing from educational websites, “hyperbole” is used as an illustrative, discursive device to draw attention to a subject (Education Help 2016): “the use of hyperbole provides a contrast …, something is explained by giving an extra stress and, on the other hand, the other descriptors remain normal” thereby “grab[bing] the readers’ attention” (Education Help 2016). It derives from the Greek word for “excess” (Fung 2021). While “scholars are warned against using hyperbole”, because “scholarly articles … deman[d] clarity and precision” (Fung 2021), poststructuralism, in which the method of discourse analysis primarily resides, is known for, if not criticism, for its use of hyperbole (Rae 2020). In defence of using hyperbole and poststructuralism, hyperbole is word play and poststructuralism embraces word play because words have power. Additionally, poststructualism would accept that the clarity and precision of scholarly articles as assessed by foundational ontology and empirical methodology may be dependent upon scholarly bias. No more so than in Critical Terrorism Studies do we also take aim at the notion that studying terrorism can ever be anything other than imprecise and subjective.

In naming misogynistic terrorism, I am invoking a form of power, forcing the terrorism community (should it chose to participate) to consider this form of violence as important. This does not dismiss any of the previously mentioned caveats that Sjoberg (2015) discusses, but it does ask that misogynistic terrorism is paid attention to by counter-terrorism practitioners and scholars. Misogynist ideology aims to suppress half of the world’s population and the violence aims to terrorise, silence, and harm that same half. To ask why we should care about misogyny is rather perplexing and simply reveals an immediate bias to take women and the harm patriarchy and misogyny less seriously. It immediately reveals a belief that the Western status quo actually works. Misogynistic terrorism has undergone a significant discursive shift in recent years – not just because of the rise of Incel violence and the growing rate of far-right violence – but because there is growing awareness in society about how gender structures work to do harm. Therefore, it is about time to notice and take seriously the misogyny of the far-right and to take seriously the significant connections between the Incels are the far-right. Surprise is no longer an option and only reveals ignorance.
 
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PLA1092

PLA1092

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TL;DR? :shock:

I do wish I had both the IQ and the discipline/motivation to write such lengthy essays; generally, though, it's not rotting truecels committing most of the violence in our morally degenerating world if you look at the actual statistics... :feelsUgh:

Which is why the media perception of us is so purposely warped and absurd to anyone with even a hint of rationality left. :feelsclown:
 
InMemoriam

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TL;DR? :shock:

I do wish I had both the IQ and the discipline/motivation to write such lengthy essays; generally, though, it's not rotting truecels committing most of the violence in our morally degenerating world if you look at the actual statistics... :feelsUgh:

Which is why the media perception of us is so purposely warped and absurd to anyone with even a hint of rationality left. :feelsclown:
im just giving the larpers some reading material is all :society:
 
The Enforcer

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"Relationship to Incel"

"The rise of Incel"

Article can be discarded due to this usage of the word alone. That's improper usage. They treat inceldom as an organisation which isn't the case. Simply demonstrating that they don't actually know what the word 'Incel' means, what an incel is, or what inceldom is. Therefore opinions are invalid due to not having even a basic grasp on the topic they're trying to write about.
 
-TheRinku127-

-TheRinku127-

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https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/002/309/404/823
 
AsiaCel

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Allahu Akbar
 
Splintercel345

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TL;DR? :shock:

I do wish I had both the IQ and the discipline/motivation to write such lengthy essays; generally, though, it's not rotting truecels committing most of the violence in our morally degenerating world if you look at the actual statistics... :feelsUgh:

Which is why the media perception of us is so purposely warped and absurd to anyone with even a hint of rationality left. :feelsclown:
Most of the vilest killers were actually successful with women. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, etc. Incels are just simply seen as a scapegoat for all the violence going on.
 
Man

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JFL at people who think violence isn't a necessary or effective solution.

We are where we are RIGHT NOW because of violence.

Not related to inceldom, just a general principle that people take for granted.
 
kretschmer

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these retards just try to associate every random thing they don't like together. muh soggy knee, rascism, even though anti-rascism is in fact anti-woman.
 
BasedStalin

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JFL at people who think violence isn't a necessary or effective solution.

We are where we are RIGHT NOW because of violence.

Not related to inceldom, just a general principle that people take for granted.

FACTS.
 
Gaz DaJous

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TL;DR? :shock:

I do wish I had both the IQ and the discipline/motivation to write such lengthy essays; generally, though, it's not rotting truecels committing most of the violence in our morally degenerating world if you look at the actual statistics... :feelsUgh:

Which is why the media perception of us is so purposely warped and absurd to anyone with even a hint of rationality left. :feelsclown:
it doesn't take any iq to produce these articles, just takes time to go through a list of catch phrases you heard from the media and your professors like ''racism, hatred, anti-semitism, bigots, extremists, muh soggy knees'' etc.
 
PLA1092

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it doesn't take any iq to produce these articles, just takes time to go through a list of catch phrases you heard from the media and your professors like ''racism, hatred, anti-semitism, bigots, extremists, muh soggy knees'' etc.
I didn't read it. :feelskek:
 
DarkStarDown

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Foids really have to make every fucking thing -big or small- in the world about them.
 
gangrenemax

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Misogynistic terrorism: it has always been here​

Caron E. Gentry
| Published online: 08 Feb 2022

ABSTRACT​

Anti-semitism, racism, pro-life beliefs, and extreme Christian ideology have long been acknowledged to be a feature in far-right terrorist violence in the United States. However, what has been less acknowledged is the underpinning element of misogyny. This paper aims to reflect on why this is. First, it looks at the chronological trajectory of “common-couple violence” to “patriarchal terrorism” to “misogynistic terrorism.” Even though scholarship on this form of terrorism can be traced back to the 1970s, mainstream Terrorism Studies has never fully engaged with the idea. This is echoed in a recent assertion that misogyny and violence against women is not political and therefore not terrorism. Second, this paper aims to demonstrate that this lack of engagement works in tandem with the bare minimum of acknowledgement of misogyny in the far-right. Explicitly, it argues that it is hard to see misogyny in a largely patriarchal and masculinist system. This is even more important today with the rise of Incels and the manosphere, especially in how these support the US’s flirtation with Trump’s misogynist and racist driven neo-fascism.

Introduction​

Donald Trump may no longer be President, but the United States’ flirtation with fascism is not over. The storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 as part of the rising tide of far-right violence, voter suppression, the weakening of Roe vs. Wade, and continued police violence against the Black community point to continued ills within the US system. This essay will look at one of these ills: misogynistic violence. While most people might associate violence targeting women with Incels, this paper will argue that far-right violence in the US, particularly the violence associated with the Christian Identity movement, has always been misogynist and that Terrorism Studies, existing within the gendered and racialised structures of which IR and academia more generally (Vitalis 2015; Anievas, Manchanda, and Shilliam 2014; and Tuhiwai; Smith 2012), fails to acknowledge the intersection of misogyny and race.

Misogyny, as defined by Kate Manne (2018), is the policing force that upholds patriarchy, ensuring that (particular) women and girls conform to the normative order. Infractions are punished in some way; this may be visible and overt, or it may be more nefarious. The treatment of Hillary Rodham Clinton following Benghazi or of being accused of running a paedeophile ring out of a pizza parlour are such examples. Another might be the online, misogynoir1 abuse MP Dianne Abbot faced in the 2017 UK General Election. As one of the (black, female) leaders of the Labour Party, she received more online abuse than any other female politician (Elgot 2017) – thereby becoming an example of “misogynoir” (Bailey and Trudy 2018), or the specific form of hatred Black women face. By their very nature, misogyny and patriarchy are political: misogyny supports patriarchy as an order that shapes political institutions, laws, social and cultural norms, and what kind of privilege and access to power (most) women (do not) have. Yet, Terrorism Studies, with its focus on political violence, resists seeing misogyny as an important ideological, political force, which is, frankly, perplexing, if not just brutishly ignorant.

In Disordered Violence (2020), I outline that the major Terrorism Studies journals have never published on “patriarchal terrorism” or its subsequent related terms and rarely acknowledge feminism, women, and gender outside of quantitative variables or to register surprise that women are ever involved in terrorism (Gentry 2020, 89, 165). Simply put, this indicates to me, at least, that Terrorism Studies has a gender problem: whether this is continual surprise over women’s participation in terrorism, even though women have participated in most forms of modern terrorism (Gentry and Sjoberg 2015; Gentry 2019); or whether it is about the targeted, ideological violence that women face, the subject of this reflection.

More often than not, Terrorism Studies coheres to the same problem Cynthia Enloe (1990) identified as “womenandchildren,” which is the collapsing of two groups of people into naïve innocents (typically during wartime) to manipulate support for (military/violent) action. Equally, it has long had a Western exceptionalism problem. These combine in the inability or resistance to see misogyny and its related violence that targets women as a political ideology (Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro 2020). Additionally, as I have explored misogynistic terrorism over the past few years, I have been asked why the counter-terrorism community should care about misogyny. This question makes it seem as if the counter-terrorism community cannot remember its own (manipulative) justification for the War on Terror: to protect Afghan women. Still, of course, one must remember that women in the West are not at risk (written with tongue firmly in cheek, yet see Pinker 2011; Hudson et al. 2012 for why women in the West do not face any significant threat to their personal security): instead, it is Afghan women who are the targets of (brown men’s) misogyny (see Shepherd 2006; see also Gentry 2017; Mutua 2001). Perhaps, then, Terrorism Studies does not have a blind spot to all misogyny, only to the (white) kind that exists in the West.

However, white, Western misogyny has always been part and parcel of far-right extremism in the United States, including such groups as the KKK, the Order, Aryan Nations, and groups that make up the Christian Identity movement. The ideology of these groups was easy to identify as racist, nationalist, and as adoptive of fundamental Christianity. While not mentioned or paid attention to, misogyny always featured in these groups, driving such violence as abortion clinic bombings and assassinations of abortion clinic doctors, all of which encompass and support an element of white supremacist thinking which has received considerable attention lately, that of “replacement theory.” Therefore, this paper will show how misogyny has been overlooked in the American far-right and why these groups have always exemplified “misogynistic terrorism.”

Killing women is not political​

In Disordered Violence (2020), I term misogynistic terrorism as the latest discursive iteration of a body of scholarship to see violence against women as political and driven by ideology. This may not encompass all violence against women, but it is a somewhat hyperbolic demand to recognise women’s pervasive vulnerability – particularly to men and to the men that know them. Employing hyperbole is not without risks – of securitising women, which invites the government further into the bedroom and such invitations never end well for women, the LGBTQI+ community, or for ethnic minorities (see Sjoberg 2015) – this hyperbolic exploration is still a worthy endeavour as it exposes and challenges the gendered and racialised logic of Western notions of terrorism. Terrorism Studies relies upon masculinised, civilisational, and racialised narratives to establish white Westerners, particularly states and their agents, as the users of legitimate, moral, and rational violence. In looking at misogynistic terrorism and its relationship to Incel and far-right violence, the finger points back at those who are exceptionalised, white, Western men (see Gentry 2020, 187).

Looking at violence against women as political initially began with Dobas and Dobash (1979); Dobash and Dobash (1984), when they argued that domestic abuse was different from criminal violence. At the time, criminal violence was seen as a public act that was quite random, rarely following a pattern of behaviour. However, Dobash and Dobash (1984) found that domestic violence was cyclical, targeting a specific person, namely, the woman partner, and used to control said woman. According to them, abusive men “are deeply embedded in the existing intentions of male aggressors and these in turn are shaped and legitimated by a wider socio-cultural context of patriarchal domination” (Dobash and Dobash 1984, 286–7). In later work, they (Dobash and Dobash 1993) began to link domestic violence with other forms of violence against women, including rape and sexual violence. In 1995, Michael Johnson specifically termed this cyclical pattern of controlling abuse as “patriarchal terrorism.” He was the first to directly connect widely accepted elements of the terrorism definition with this form of violence, which “has the advantage of keeping the focus on the perpetrator and of keeping our attention on the systematic, intentional nature of this form of violence” (Johnson 1995, 284).

In this case, the use of violence is a way of controlling women to uphold patriarchal conservative norms of nuclear family and traditional gender roles, especially enforcing women’s submission. Later work then calls this form of violence “intimate terrorism” as it recognises that both men and women employ violence as a means of intimidation and dominance and both men and women can be perpetrators and victims of it. These scholars accept that patriarchy teaches all people to accept violence and hierarchy as solutions to problems, thus teaching all people the utility of violence (Kevan and Archer 2004; see also Anderson 2008; Gradinariu 2007; Dobash and Dobash 2004).

More recent work began to expand this term outside of the domestic space by looking at how women face a range of violences outside of the home as well. Rachel Pain (2014) picks up on how the War on Terror was partially justified by violence against women in Afghanistan, an “everyday” form of terrorism in the midst of the War on Terror. She parallels this with how women in the West faced gender-based violence too, if only in different ways. Pain (2014) also notes how this implicates Western men in perpetrating violence normally viewed, in a biased, neo-Orientalist perspective, as perpetrated by brown men. Ortbals and Poloni-Staudinger (2014) find that, in the Basque conflict between the Spanish state and ETA nationalists, masculinised violence spans from the interior life of the family, the sub-state violence of ETA, to the state response to terrorism. The importance of both of these pieces is that they begin to recognise that the violence women encounter outside of the home is linked just as much to patriarchy as domestic violence is.

This scholarship emerged alongside several events in popular culture. In the early 2010s, multiple print and social media journalists began to document “everyday sexism”2 and “everyday violence” in order to highlight the insecurity women face in everyday life (Bates 2014). This was joined by the eruption of the #MeToo movement in 2017. Although the phrase was coined in 2007 by Tarana Burke to empower and connect survivors of sexual harassment and violence and as a means of raising awareness for it, #MeToo took off when it was adopted by Hollywood to describe the endemic sexual abuse and harassment faced by women in the film and screen industry. Alongside these came the rise of Incel3 violence, like Elliot Rodger’s 2014 shooting and killing spree aimed at women in Santa Barbara, California, and the knowledge that women comprise the largest number of victims of mass shooters in the US. In a radio interview, feminist and environmental activist, Rebecca Solnit (CBC 2018), said that we should term Incel violence as a type of terrorism related to misogyny (see also Penny 2014; Bates 2021). In Disordered Violence (2020, 176–79), I do just that by aligning the ideology of misogyny (Manne 2018) with the common attributes of a terrorist definition (however unstable that may be). There is, however, one major issue: the refusal of mainstream Terrorism Studies to engage with any of these concepts and the refusal to see misogyny as political.

In their recent article, Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020) look at Incel violence – even though these well-regarded Terrorism Studies scholars find it difficult to include the full range of Incel violence within the scope of terrorism. If there is one thing most commonly agreed upon in Terrorism Studies, it is that terrorism is always political, driven by a political ideology, leading to targeted violence in order to achieve political objectives (Richardson 2006, 20; Schmid and Jongman 2005, 5–6). Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 568) downplay that Incels have a political agenda and, in doing so, minimise Incels’ misogyny:

the incel worldview is not obviously political. But because its core ethos revolves around the subjugation and repression of a group and its violence is designed to have far-reaching societal effects, incel violence arguably conforms to an emergent trend in terrorism with a more salient hate crime dimension.

One then has to ask, why is this not obviously political? The authors identify “the subjugation and repression of a group” as an emergent trend when ethno-nationalist, state, and far-right terrorism has always attempted to subjugate and repress a group. So, is the real problem here that Incels target women? And does this mean that these authors are so tied to the patriarchal binary of public (government, politics, and business) and private (domestic) spheres that they can never view something related to women as public and thereby political?

Nevertheless, Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 569) continue by differentiating between four different types of Incel violence, where one form is more political and more aptly terrorism than the other forms. Elliot Rodger’s aforementioned spree, Alex Minassian’s van attack in Toronto in 2018, and Scott Beierle’s shooting of a yoga studio in Tallahassee in 2018 are clearly driven by Incel ideology, which the authors begrudgingly see as terrorism (although Hoffman and Ware’s [2020] article on Foreign Policy’s website is more assertive about this). Yet, attacks where the perpetrators are less clear about their ideology but nevertheless clear about their Inceldom are less likely to fit within the categorisation of terrorism (Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro 2020, 570) – as if terrorism is the most clear cut designation of violence anyway.4

While Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020) do aptly capture the misogyny that dominates the Incel ideology and belief system, what they do not do is recognise that misogyny is political. This refusal allows them, then, to minimise the acts of violence where Incel ideology is less clear or less well developed than Rodger’s, Minassian’s, and Beierle’s. While I unpack why this is such a problem in the next section, there is one more element of Incel violence that takes Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 572) by surprise: that the Incels and far-right groups in the United States are joining forces:

A particularly worrisome trend is how seamlessly the militant incel community has been integrated into the alt-right tapestry, with common grievances and intermingling membership bringing the two extremisms closer together. As a 2019 report from the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right observed, the incel masses “are part of a growing trend of radical-right movements that are anguished by the success of neo- liberalism,” particularly women’s empowerment and immigration. The Anti- Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has also noted the links between “men’s rights activism” and the neofascist militant Proud Boys, further reinforcing the convergence of politicised misogyny with far-right activism.

This, perhaps, reads as naïve given how Trump’s presidency legitimated far-right violence, including Charlottesville, the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and, of course, the storming of the US Capitol Building, alongside misogynist, Islamophobia, and other bias before, throughout, and after his time in office.

Yet the misogyny of far-right terrorism has rarely garnered any form of acknowledgement, even though far-right terrorism is often associated with racism and anti-semitism. This is just further evidence that problems affecting women remain unwitnessed and, somehow, unpolitical, maintaining the public/private binary, stemming from Ancient Greece, as often criticised by feminists (Elshtain 1981). In picking up on this binary, Hegel identified women as “Beautiful Souls,” innocent, emotionally nurturing, and politically naïve and submissive, which later coheres with Enloe’s aforementioned “womenandchildren.” However, as good feminists, we all know that the personal is political, that the binary between the private and the public is a social construction, and that whatever impacts women impacts all people. Therefore, it is helpful to look at what misogyny is, how it operates, and where we can (all too easily) find it in far-right terrorism in the US.

Far-right terrorism’s ideology and its hidden misogyny​

Whereas Rachel Pain’s (2014) “everyday terrorism” looks at “fear” as a common denominator in the forms of violence that terrorise women or Ortbals and Poloni-Staudinger (2014) emphasise “machismo” as a form of masculinity that enables violence, I emphasise “misogyny” as an ideology that makes patriarchy work. By focusing on ideology, I am doing what I was taught to do as when I was an early Terrorism Studies scholar: recognise that a terrorist group’s political agenda is guided by an ideology and knowing the ideology helps in understanding the group’s strategy, organisational structure, attractiveness to members, identification of targets, style and scope of violence, and, importantly here, the members’ and leaders’ perspective on gender and gender roles (Drake 1998; Gentry 2004; Holbrook and Horgan 2019). Thus, this section establishes both the centrality of ideology to terrorism and how misogyny is a political ideology that upholds a political system, patriarchy.

In his 1998 article on terrorist ideology, C. J. M. Drake begins by asserting that terrorist activity is strategic and purposeful, with ideology being one factor in their strategy alongside group resources, intended reaction, and the “security environment” in which the group operates (Drake 1998, 54). According to Drake (1998), ideology, or a group’s “beliefs, values, principles, and objectives,” are the means “by which a group defines its distinctive political identity and aims.” Importantly, a group’s “political concerns do provide a rationale for their actions” and “a group’s ideology is extremely important in determining target selection because it defines how the group’s members see the world around them. The ideology of a terrorist group identifies the ‘enemies’ of the group” (Drake 1998, 55).

Holbrook and Horgan (2019, 7) find that how ideology shapes a terrorist group is perhaps more nuanced than Drake (1998) might present it; nevertheless, ideology is still part and parcel of a terrorist’s group culture:

Ideology gains significance not just in the substance of any meaning conveyed but also in its modes of transmission and the linkages these exchanges establish. Ideology is integral to, not separate from, the relational mechanisms involved in radicalisation pathways and its processes of social learning, collective memory and other social constructs. It imbues its components, such as status, belonging and reward, with significance which can only be understood in that ideological context.


While Drake (1998) looks at groups – discrete, with limited membership, and clearly delineated leadership – the previous iterations of “patriarchal” terrorism would not be classified as having such clear boundaries. Instead, the finger was pointed more diffusely at the worst margins of a patriarchal system – margins that could easily filled by those who adhere to a misogynistic mindset. In this paper, by focusing on the American far-right, I tighten the focus by honing in on the far-right, specifically those who adhere to Christian Identity thinking.

As feminist philosopher, Kate Manne (2018), explains, a patriarchal system is a socio-political order that places men in a superior position to women (see also Lerner 1986). Sexism, or the believed inferiority of women, is used to justify and rationalise this order. Feminist political theorists have very deftly demonstrated how both patriarchy and sexism have determined society, politics, violence, and war (Elshtain 1981, 1987; Pateman 1980; Enloe 1983 and Enloe 2000). According to an interview (Illing 2020) with Manne in Vox,

Misogyny and sexism … [work] hand-in-hand to uphold those social relations. Sexism is an ideology that says, “These [patriarchal] arrangements just make sense. Women are just more caring, or nurturing, or empathetic,” which is only true if you prime people by getting them to identify with their gender.


Manne then differentiates between sexism as the ideology and misogyny as the enforcement mechanism. I am not sure that such a differentiation is needed in identifying “misogynistic terrorism.” To reiterate, in looking at ideology’s importance to Terrorism Studies, “ideology is integral to, not separate from, the relational mechanisms” of a person’s involvement in terrorism (Holbrook and Horgan 2019, 7). Nevertheless, Manne argues that misogynists do not necessarily hate women but instead

Misogynists often think they’re taking the moral high ground by preserving a status quo that feels right to them. They want to be socially and morally superior to the women they target.
… most misogynistic behaviour is about hostility toward women who violate patriarchal norms and expectations, who aren’t serving male interests in the ways they’re expected to. So there’s this sense that women are doing something wrong…. But women only appear that way because we expect them to be otherwise, to be passive. (Illingly 2020).


Therefore, Manne really aims to explore how “we police women, how we keep them in their place, in their designated lane” and “[m]isogyny is the law enforcement branch of patriarchy” (Illingly 2020).

Misogyny, then, is “the system that polices and enforces [patriarchy’s] governing, norms, and expectations” (Manne 2018, 20). Since a terrorist organisation’s ideology sets the target and parameters of violence,

misogyny uphold patriarchal order … by visiting hostile or adverse social consequences on a certain … class of girls or women to enforce and police social norms that are gendered either in theory [i.e., content] or in practice [i.e., norm enforcement mechanisms]. (Manne 2018, 13).


Just as the “terror” of terrorism is about the threat of violence, misogyny “threatens hostile consequences” on a woman or a girl who commits an infraction of the norms (Manne 2018, 20). Violences identified as misogynist include the multiple forms of “everyday violence” women face – online abuse, misogynoir, transmisogyny, cyberstalking, stalking, sexual violence/harassment, homicide, mass shootings, domestic abuse, and rape. Thus, the question becomes how does the American far-right include misogyny-as-the-enforcement-structure within its ideology and actions?


The far-right​

The American far-right includes such groups as the KKK, The Order, Aryan Nations, groups identified with Christian Identity movement, and neo-Nazis/skinheads (Blee 2007; Sharpe 2000; Hoffman 1995). The far-right has drawn attention from the government and media at different times throughout the history of the United States, for instance, in the 1980s, when The Order and the Aryan Nations were active, and then at the end of the 1990s with the fear of millenarian violence. With 9/11 and the hyper-focus on radical Islamist violence, far-right violence was noticed less, even though the violence never truly went away. More recently, there has been an increase in far-right terrorism, especially white supremacist violence, “with a 320% increase between 2014 and 2018” (Auger 2020, 87). The Institute for Economics and Peace provides a useful summary of the major components of the far-right:

“Far-right” refers to a political ideology that is centred on one or more of the following elements: strident nationalism (usually racial or exclusivist in some fashion), fascism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration, chauvinism,5 nativism, and xenophobia. (As cited by Auger 2020, 88).


Therefore,

the term right-wing extremism covers a broad range of ideologies that essentially see violence as a legitimate tool to combat a political and ethnic “enemy” (including individuals with different culture, religion, nationality or sexual orientation) seen as a threat to the [sic] own race or nation. (Auger 2020, 89).


The focus of this paper is on white supremacists who justify their racism and anti-semitism through a fundamental version of Christianity (Blessing and Roberts 2018); this form is especially pertinent because between 2009 to 2018, of violence classified as far-right in the United States, white supremacist violence made up the majority of it, including 76% of far-right extremist killings between 2009 to 2018 (Auger 2020, 89).

When I taught a week on the far-right in my Terrorism Studies course over a decade ago, I would hone in on these elements, particularly unpacking the Christian Identity movement’s use of the Bible to support their racism and anti-semitism (Sharpe 2000). I might have mentioned that Christian Identity, like other elements in the far-right, opposed abortion, targeting doctors who performed abortions and abortion clinics. Admittedly, however, I glossed over the misogynistic elements within the far-right, falling neatly myself into line with the mainstream work on the far-right (if one re-reads the descriptions above, there is no mention of misogyny, sexism, or patriarchy apart from that brief allusion to “chauvinism”). This section then will look for the glossed over elements of misogyny in the previous work on the far-right in the US by paying particular attention to ideas related to “replacement theory.” More so, this section will demonstrate that domination and minimisation of women is simply not recognised as a politically significant element of far-right ideology by Terrorism Studies scholars.

Before explaining “replacement theory,” it is important to establish the racism and anti-semitism of the far-right and the basis on which it stands. This helps unpack far-right/Christian identity ideology, but also shows just how misogyny has been minimised by being either simply accepted or by going unrecognised. Most elements of far-right ideology intersect in some way abound misogynist underpinnings as explored next. These include:

  • Anti-semitism, which drives fear of big government, depends upon the telling of Eve’s story in Genesis;
  • Racism and the fear of miscegenation;
  • and replacement theory.


Thus, I argue that there is no far-right terrorism without misogyny.

Terrorism Studies has long acknowledge that women’s membership in the far-right is significantly lower than in their left-wing counterpart. When Terrorism Studies was focused, during the Cold War, on far-left versus far-right terrorism, women’s membership and leadership was discussed in contrast: far-left terrorism had far more women as members and leaders than the far-right because far-right ideologies are conservative and therefore not welcoming to women (Weinbank and Eubank 1987), which, of course, is another way of glossing over the misogyny of the far right. Yet, feminist work on terrorism by Swati Parashar (2011) and Sandra McEvoy (2009) highlights that women are involved in conservative groups, if we know where to look and if we choose to acknowledge them. In the new far-right, women, who now comprise 25% of racist activists (Blee 2017, 192), are the ones doing the work to make misogyny palatable to the larger community.

For example, Lana Laktoff is a sharp, excellent public speaker, with a carefully curated image (Darby 2020). With her well cut ash-blonde hair and professional dress, Laktoff removes any hint of an oppressed housewife from the far-right’s image. Yet, the women of the new far-right have the same “near-apocalyptic sense of urgency” as previous far-right groups in the US:

The time is now or never for white people to protect their own kind. For women, that means bearing white babies, putting a smiling face on an odious ideology, promising camaraderie to women who join their crusade, and challenging white nationalism’s misogynistic reputation. (Darby 2020, 11).


Although Kathleen Blee has studied on women in the American far-right for decades, increasing attention is being paid to the women that uphold the patriarchal and misogynist structures of far-right extremism. The use of women to cement and carry the weight of white supremacist nationalist ontology coheres with many other multiple nationalist movements, where women become the symbols of the nation (Yuval-Davis 1997; Elshtain 1987).

These gendered structures/constraints are owed to the far-right’s ideological leanings. One reason why white supremacists are anti-Semitic, or at least justify their fear of Jews, is owed to their fundamental Christian beliefs. Just as other “religious” terrorist groups6 “legitimi[se] their violence” “based [upon] religious precepts,” white supremacists in the US also feel a “sense of alienation” (Hoffman 1995, 275). Additionally, while many know that the far-right in the US fears both “big” government and international institutions, that this relates to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is less known: they believe that “powerful Jewish interests contro[l] the the government, the banks, and the media” which is known as the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) (Hoffman 1995, 275–76). Not only does this establish suspicion of any expansion of government, it sets up the binary of a “pure” white race against less “pure” others.

White supremacists believe white Americans are the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which were made up of Aryans (blonde-haired and blue-eyed) not Jews, and that Jesus was an Aryan and not Jewish. Therefore these “Aryans” are the Chosen People and the US is the “Promised Land” that must be protected from race dilution and impurities (Schafer, Mullins, and Box 2014; Simi 2010, 260; Hoffman 1995, 275–276; Sharpe 2000, 606–08; Sprinzak 1995, 26; Hoffman 1995, 276). “All non-Whites evolved from pre-Adamic, lower species” and are viewed as “mud people” (Sharpe 2000, 610), whereas Jews are seen as descended from Cain, who, according to the white supremacist version of the “two seedlines” theory, was a result of Eve having sex with the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Dobratz and Shanks-Meile 2000, 134). In her 2000 study of Christian Identity extremism in the US, Tanya Talfir Sharpe (2000) quotes from the Kingdom Identity Ministries Doctrinal Statement of Beliefs that uses Biblical scripture to uphold their supremacist views:

We believe the White, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and kindred people to be God’s true, literal Children of Israel. Only this race fulfils every detail of Biblical Prophecy and World History concerning Israel and continues in these latter days to be heirs and possessors of the Covenants, Prophecies, Promises and Blessings of YHVH God made to Israel. This chosen seedline making up the “Christian Nations” (Gen. 35:11; Isa. 62:2; Acts 11:26) of the earth stands far superior to all other peoples in their call as God’s servant race (Isa. 41:8, 44:21; Luke 1:54).


All of this stems from “Eve’s sin,” a reason long held by even more “mainstream” and less fundamental Christians in order to limit women’s role in the church and larger society.

Furthermore, far-right racism is built around procreation and miscegenation. The Aryan Nations doctrine is quite similar in its use of scripture to justify racist and anti-Semitic thinking:

WE BELIEVE there is a battle being fought this day between the children of darkness (today known as Jews) and the children of light (God), the Aryan race, the true Israel of the Bible … .
WE BELIEVE in the preservation of our race individually and collectively as a people as demanded and directed by God. We believe a racial nation has a right and is under obligation to preserve itself and its members … (as quoted in Hoffman 1995, 276)


The need to maintain white racial purity will, eventually, lead to a “race holy war” or RAHOWA (Berry 2017, 98). This demands a “cleansing of the United States;” founder and leader of the Aryan Nations, Richard Girnt Butler, warned

Aliens are pouring over as a flood into each of our ancestral lands … threatening dispossession of the heritage, culture, and very life blood of our posterity. … We know that as we return to our Father’s natural Life Order, all power, prosperity, and liberty again comes to us as our possession, to establish justice forever on earth. (Hoffman 1995, 276).


This is where replacement theory enters the scene.

The exact phrase, “replacement theory,” is imported from French white supremacist Renaud Camus’ (2018) idea of “the Great Replacement,” where he argues that the global elite is replacing white Europeans with non-Europeans. Yet, it coheres very neatly with the aforementioned US white supremacists’ fear of “white genocide” and the “race war.” More specifically, US white supremacists’ adoption of replacement theory holds that declining birth rates in white America will mean that white American votes will be replaced by immigrants and/or through the higher birth rates amongst people of colour (Brownstein 2021; Cillizza 2021). Dylann Roof’s two manifestos make mention of replacement theory and during his shooting he told one of his Black victims that he was killing him to protect white women (Gentry 2020, 186).

Where these sentiments used to be more hidden or seen as part of the US’ ugly racial “history,” the election of Trump in 2016 legitimised multiple forms of far-right extremism to loudly/violently proclaim replacement theory: at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville the marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us; you will not replace us;” it was the rationale for the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018; and it was the justification for the killing of mainly Hispanic shoppers in El Paso in 2020 (Ramirez and Nikki 2020). In the autumn of 2020, just before the Presidential election between Republican incumbent Trump and Democrat candidate Biden, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson argued that Democrats were planning to “replace the current electorate, the voters casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World” (as quoted in Ramirez and Nikki 2020). What is not discussed in most of the texts on far-right white supremacy is how racial purity and the prevention of “white genocide” is dependent upon (deeply) conservative gender structures and assumptions.

Replacement theory is a supporting ideology for the violence and the subsequent control of women and it receives attention from only a view scholars. Abortion clinic bombings and the assassination/homicide of doctors that perform abortions is an outcome of replacement theory and the fear of white genocide and these have long been acknowledged as part of white supremacist terrorism. White women have historically sought abortions at a higher rate than Black women or other minorities, therefore “ombing abortion clinics and killing the doctors … are viewed as justified acts to stop the killing of White unborn babies” (Sharpe 2000, 617–18). Some groups within this ideology are “promot[ing] polygamy … to enhance the White population” (Sharpe 2000, 612). Additionally,

A major concern for this philosophy is pollution of the White race through miscegenation. Interracial marriage, dating, and sex are strictly prohibited and are attached to every form of social ill conceivable. Diseases, germs, viruses, bacteria, and general uncleanliness are associated with race mixing. (Sharpe 2000, 612).


The misogyny is even further entrenched. Within Christian Identity, white women are presented within a problematic duality:

The White woman is considered the most beautiful creature in the universe, desired and sought after by males of all races. However, femininity carries with it the legacy of Eve and her indiscretion with Lucifer. Women are portrayed as weak and virtueless and above all corruptible, desperately needing White masculine leadership and strength. Women reach their highest fulfilment in the supporting roles of wife and motherhood. Her sole purpose in this culture is to maintain a comfortable home for her man and to bear “beautiful, healthy white babies.” To deviate from the performance of these roles is to become relegated to the ranks of a “sick feminist” traitor to the White race. (Sharpe 2000, 611–12).


Of course, this dualistic perspective of women echoes that of Incels: women must be beautiful; they must bear children; they must be submissive; their sole purpose is to please men; and yet they are not trustworthy (a la Eve); they will cheat on men, particularly betas, and their main driver is wealth and prestige. Thus, the only thing surprising about Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro’s (2020, 572) surprise that Incels and the far-right are joining up is their surprise.

What is perplexing is why any scholar would recognise that racism and anti-semitism act in tandem with each other yet never suspect that they are joined by other forms of hatred and power, such as misogyny? The simple answer is because misogyny is just not seen as important. Hoffman, Ware, and Shapiro (2020, 579–580) proclaim that they are engaging with feminist literature because feminists have explored the context of Incels, yet it is not a deep engagement with gender or misogyny and feminist work on terrorism. The “thinness” of feminism in this text begins to illuminate why misogyny is not classified as political – there is no feminism here.

Furthermore, this ignorance of deeper understandings of gender structures, like misogyny and patriarchy, tracks with the inability to recognise the misogyny that exists in the far-right previous to the rise of Incels. With the exception of Sharpe (2000) and Blee (2005; 2002), most of the work on white supremacist terrorism in the US fails to discuss how maintaining race purity rests on women and control of them, no matter how nuanced some of these texts are (see Auger 2020, 91; Blessing and Roberts 2018, 4; Schafer, Mullins, and Box 2014; Simi 2010, 260; Hoffman 1995, 275–276; Sprinzak 1995, 26). Additionally, in Auger’s (2020) article on the rise of the far-right in the US and Europe, he notes the assassination of UK Minister of Parliament Jo Cox as owed to xenophobia, but not as misogynist – even though multiple feminists have (Saner 2016; Jones 2019).

Therefore, this section has set out to show that misogyny is part and parcel of far-right, Christian Identity ideology and it always has been. Thus, the question that remains is why Terrorism Studies failed to see it earlier and why it continues to deny its importance. More so, it should use this time of reflection to learn about what else it has missed about gender and feminism. The storming of the US Capitol in January 2021 is seen within the scope of far-right extremism and, yet again, elements of misogyny and misogynoir were present: the targeted hunt for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and for Congresswoman Ayanna Presley (MA-Democrat) should speak loudly to the counter-terrorism community on why they should take misogyny seriously. Furthermore, here is yet another opportunity for Terrorism Studies to look at women’s roles in violence, seeing them as political agents in their own right.


Further thoughts

The problem, though, with using a hyperbole remains. Borrowing from educational websites, “hyperbole” is used as an illustrative, discursive device to draw attention to a subject (Education Help 2016): “the use of hyperbole provides a contrast …, something is explained by giving an extra stress and, on the other hand, the other descriptors remain normal” thereby “grab[bing] the readers’ attention” (Education Help 2016). It derives from the Greek word for “excess” (Fung 2021). While “scholars are warned against using hyperbole”, because “scholarly articles … deman[d] clarity and precision” (Fung 2021), poststructuralism, in which the method of discourse analysis primarily resides, is known for, if not criticism, for its use of hyperbole (Rae 2020). In defence of using hyperbole and poststructuralism, hyperbole is word play and poststructuralism embraces word play because words have power. Additionally, poststructualism would accept that the clarity and precision of scholarly articles as assessed by foundational ontology and empirical methodology may be dependent upon scholarly bias. No more so than in Critical Terrorism Studies do we also take aim at the notion that studying terrorism can ever be anything other than imprecise and subjective.

In naming misogynistic terrorism, I am invoking a form of power, forcing the terrorism community (should it chose to participate) to consider this form of violence as important. This does not dismiss any of the previously mentioned caveats that Sjoberg (2015) discusses, but it does ask that misogynistic terrorism is paid attention to by counter-terrorism practitioners and scholars. Misogynist ideology aims to suppress half of the world’s population and the violence aims to terrorise, silence, and harm that same half. To ask why we should care about misogyny is rather perplexing and simply reveals an immediate bias to take women and the harm patriarchy and misogyny less seriously. It immediately reveals a belief that the Western status quo actually works. Misogynistic terrorism has undergone a significant discursive shift in recent years – not just because of the rise of Incel violence and the growing rate of far-right violence – but because there is growing awareness in society about how gender structures work to do harm. Therefore, it is about time to notice and take seriously the misogyny of the far-right and to take seriously the significant connections between the Incels are the far-right. Surprise is no longer an option and only reveals ignorance.
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bigantennaemay1

bigantennaemay1

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If this is an actual "scientific study", then I'm starting to lose faith in the whole institution of modern "science." :feelsseriously:
 
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based_meme

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Not one letter.

This tripe which passes for academic research and literature - and eventually knowledge - is a fucking joke.
 

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