#SecurityHasNoGender. Frontex, border security, and the politics of gender-neutrality

A blog by Columba Achilleos-Sarll, Julia Sachseder and Saskia Stachowitsch for the London School of Economics (LSE).

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"To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex published a short video paying homage to women working at the EU’s external borders. The video, accompanied by the hashtag #SecurityHasNoGender, is reminiscent of a trailer from an action movie. Frame after frame depicts predominantly female border guards in roles such as passport checking and fingerprinting. Each frame narrates a story about ‘security’, and particularly the border security practices as engaged by Frontex, as seemingly gender-neutral. In different frames, for example, Frontex states that its activities are part of “preventing terrorism” and “protecting Europe,” which, it claims, “has no gender”.


The video... conjures up gendered and racialised representations of Frontex and border guards as heroic, white protectors. This reproduces the dichotomies of victim/saviour and rational/irrational, which strongly links to postcolonial constructions of the ‘Other’ as victimised and/or potentially dangerous in contrast to the enlightened, progressive, and disciplined Europe.

In the context of allegations of unlawful conduct during enormous institutional growth, it is evident from this video that security agencies like Frontex are deploying gender-neutrality – and utilising the subject of the female border guard – to portray themselves, their practices, and the concept of ‘security’ as benevolent. This extends the notion of neutrality to legitimise their practices and EU’s continuous investment in the agency as an overall objective and rational response to the alleged risks and threats posed by migrants. The politics of invoking security as gender-less thus point to the gendered-ness of border ‘protection’ and the actors engaged in it. On the basis of such self-other representations, powerful normative claims are being made by Frontex about who is to be secured from what, by whom, and through what measures."

Full article: #SecurityHasNoGender. Frontex, border security, and the politics of gender-neutrality (LSE)

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