O’Rourke proposes an interesting theory that many female suicide bombers are in fact operating out of very traditional instincts. They want to restore gender norms that they have somehow violated. They are, she writes, "women who realize they have deviated, intentionally or unintentionally, from the gender behavior norms of their society and may feel pressure to reaffirm a connection to it." They have lost their rightful place by being raped, or divorced, or infertile, or failing to get married, and bombing restores them to a place of honor in their community. Female suicide bombers, for example, tend to be a few years older than their male counterparts, and past marrying age. One failed Palestinian bomber O’Rourke profiles, for example, is 35 and tomboy-ish, maybe even transgendered. When asked what motivated her, she said, "Who would want to marry someone like me?"
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.