Gays, Cross-Dressers, and Emos: Nonnormative Masculinities in Militarized Iraq


Rohde, Achim. 2016. “Gays, Cross-Dressers, and Emos: Nonnormative Masculinities in Militarized Iraq.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 433–49.

Author: Achim Rohde


"Much has been written about gender-based violence against Iraqi women under the thirty-five-year dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and since the fall of the regime in 2003 (Brown and Romano 2006, 56, 60–62; Al-Jawaheri 2008, 108–17; al-Ali 2005, 742–43, 754–55; 2007, 198, 207, 226–29; 2008, 413–16; Smiles 2008, 272–76; al-Ali and Pratt 2009, 78, 80, 157–61; Campbell and Kelly 2009, 24–25; Fischer-Tahir 2010, 1391–92; Ranharter and Stansfield 2015). Although the mass recruitment of men as soldiers and fighters often temporarily expanded spaces for women’s participation in the Iraqi public sphere (Efrati 1999, 28, 30–32; Rohde 2010, 86–91), militarism and militarist discourse before and since 2003 have reinforced gender polarity and heroic forms of masculinity, marginalizing and degrading the noncombat social positionalities of the majority of men and women (Rohde 2010, 124–43; 2011, 100, 104, 109–10; Fischer-Tahir 2012, 93–94; Abdulameer 2014). Nevertheless, organized violence against queer positionalities, or men perceived to violate sexual and gender norms, occurred only after 2003. This essay explores ruptures and continuities in organized violence against sex or gender nonconformity in recent Iraqi history.
"For the late Baʿthist period in Iraq, I analyze scholarly and journalistic sources, including items published in Iraqi newspapers and transcripts of a conversation between Saddam Hussein and tribal leaders in 1991 or 1992. For the years after 2003, I systematically analyzed four Iraqi (Arabic) daily newspapers (Al-Zaman, Al-Sabah, Al-Mada, and Al-Manara) and a weekly journal (Al-Esbuʿiyya) from late 2008, 2009, and spring 2012. I draw on other sources as well, including news videos, human rights reports, academic work, and other journalistic sources. Given the dangers and restrictions of research in Iraq, the available sources allow some preliminary analysis that can inform future systematic studies on gender and sexual diversity in Iraqi society" (Rohde, 2016, p. 433-4)

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Violence Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2016

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