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Boston University School of Law




In her book, The End of Men, 1 Hanna Rosin argues that women have “surpassed” men. This new reality necessitates a reevaluation of marriage, family, sex, and gender roles.2 To further her claim, Rosin dedicates a chapter of her book to the topic of violence committed by women. She argues that women are becoming more violent3 :

The new [trope] taps into a fear that as they gain more power, women will use violence and their new specialized skills to get what they want. Singular and exotic though these cases may be, they raise the broader unsettling possibility that, with the turnover in modern gender roles, the escalation from competitiveness to aggression to violence that we are used to in men has started showing up in women as well.4

In this Essay I offer two related but distinct reflections on her line of argumentation with regard to women and violence.5 First, I argue that Rosin offers an account of women’s relationship to violence, which can be used as a lens to critique assumptions about women that appear in international law and development. Second, I argue that despite the usefulness of her argument there is a danger in its presentation: she is heavily reliant on race, class, and religion tropes. Rosin’s deployment of these tropes does the work of making her claim more believable to an audience that may be sympathetic to such stereotypes. In doing so she further entrenches negative ideas of the groups represented in her book.

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