I’m growing fascinated…

I'm growing fascinated by the gendered rhetoric of the Sri Lankan conflict, especially around the question of rape. Something like a third of the Tamil guerrilla fighters are women, and there's a tremendous amount of literature available on the acts of rape committed by the Sinhalese military against Tamil women (and occasionally against men in prison), and a very high-minded rhetoric among the Tamil Tigers on how *their* fighters *never* engage in rape. They are in fact forbidden any sexual activity or marriage until they've served as guerrilla fighters for at least five years; I can't speak with any certainty to how extensively that theory is put into practice, though the consensus appears to be that the discipline is fairly well-obeyed.

So myths (which I'm using here not to imply that the myths are fictional, but rather to consider them as powerful and motivating narratives) of Tamil virginity and endangered or ravished womanhood have been thoroughly co-opted into the Tigers' military struggle, and especially their recruitment efforts.


I can't seem to find any academic work on this particular subject. You'd think *someone* in gender studies or feminist theory would have written about it by now...

2 thoughts on “I’m growing fascinated…”

  1. Bust magazine (which self-aligns with feminist theory) had a piece a couple of years ago on women in the Tigers, specifically suicide bombers. I can’t remember just how academic they got with their story — to be honest, I think I just skimmed it at the time. I have a vague sense that it was a bit shallow, given the subject matter.

  2. Bust magazine is carried by Women & Children First in Andersonville (this week’s Reader mentions this in a letter to Reader that also complains that they do not, however, carry as wide a range of books as many residents would like to buy).


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