in: Claudia Mora / Nicole Piper (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Migration, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 373-386
Masculinization of violence essentially feminizes and infantilizes victimhood in ways that are exclusionary to male victimhood. Images of women and children fleeing violence have become ingrained in the collective imagination leading to incredulity towards male victimhood and quest for asylum. Male refugees are generally depicted in anti-refugee rhetoric as an aberration at two levels. The first level relates to the perceived incompatibility between flight and masculinity while the second depicts male refugees’ cultural backgrounds as fostering a backward masculinity that is incongruous with life in “civilized” host societies. Drawing specifically from Africa, this chapter argues that men’s experience of victimhood and their quest for asylum can be understood within the logic of patriarchal governance of male conduct and the division of labour among masculinities which is observable in violent conflict situations. Flight is consistent with rather than contrary to the patriarchal logic that underpins the social positioning of men in families and performance of masculinity in specific socio-cultural and political contexts.