Call Me Woman1 Women as Agents of Violence

Shamara Ransirini


The notion that women are inherently inclined towards peace and non-violencehas been problematized by feminist interventions mainly in gender and security studies.Yet, “women as agents of violence” pose an apparent challenge to feminism which as adiscourse foregrounds an egalitarian and humane agenda. This ethically ambivalentcategory however, also enables a space to recast women from the popular imaging asvictim to perpetrator of violence. Recent feminist studies have called for the need tolocate women‟s agency in violence in a broader spectrum. This paper takes a similarstance in analyzing narratives of and about women, to explore women‟s sense of agencyas perpetrators of violence. It will do so by critically engaging with a range of literaryand non-literary texts from authors of different cultural/social/political locations: NihalDe Silva‟s The Road from Elephant Pass, Maxine Hong Kingston‟s The WomanWarrior and Bharathi Mukerjee‟s Wife. The paper hopes to further demonstrate the needto make critical interventions in the performative spaces accorded to women in thepopular imagination as militants, suicide bombers, and agents of other forms of physicaland psychological violence.

Key words: Violence, Women agents, Interventions

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