Virile Resistance and Servile Collaboration

Interrupting the Gendered Representation of Betrayal in Resistance Movements

in Theoria
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  • 1 Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK masa.mrovlje@ed.ac.uk
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Abstract

The article aims to expose and contest the gendered representation of betrayal in resistance movements. For a theoretical framework, I draw on Simone de Beauvoir's critique of masculinist myths of femininity in The Second Sex, combined with contemporary feminist scholarship on the oppressive constructions of female subjectivity in debates on war and violence. I trace how the hegemonic visions of virile resistance tend to subsume the grey zones of women's resistance activity under two reductive myths of femininity – the self-sacrificial mother and the seductive femme fatale – while obscuring the complexities of betrayal arising from women's embodied vulnerabilities. I demonstrate the political relevance of this theoretical exploration on the example of two representative French Resistance novels, Joseph Kessel's Army of Shadows and Roger Vailland's Playing with Fire.

Contributor Notes

Ma Mrovlje is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh. Her research interests are located within contemporary political theory, with a focus on theories of resistance and resistance movements. She is author of Rethinking Political Judgement: Arendt and Existentialism (Edinburgh University Press, 2019). Her articles appeared in Philosophia, Law, Culture and the Humanities, The European Legacy and Political Theory. E-mail: masa.mrovlje@ed.ac.uk ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3721-3141

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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