Traditional perceptions of gender may be an important part of the public need for the familiar, safe and recognizable, according to a book by ethics researcher Anna T. Höglund, Associate Professor of Ethics at the Center for Research and Bioethics at Uppsala University.

"The rhetoric about the war on terrorism both built upon and helped to construct and reconstruct the hierarchical gender patterns," says Höglund. Focusing on events in the U.S. after 9/11 , she asserts that the terrorist attacks were followed by what might be something she calls a "re-maskulinisering of American society."


She observes in her writing that, although the U.S. fire service and police have both male and female employees, the picture given in the media after the attacks said essentially that there were brave men who rushed to the rescue and sacrificed themselves to save others, mainly women and children. She adds that initially, few women who were heard in the debate regarding response to the attacks.

Höglund also examines the Afghan women's situation and how this was as justification for the war in Afghanistan. Shortly before the war, she writes, images of veiled women into the American media conveyed the message that this was oppression that U.S. troops would end. Once the war started, media interest waned for women's rights.

Her book "Gender and the War on Terrorism - The Justification of War in a Post-9/11 Perspective" is published by the Center for Gender Studies at Uppsala University.