The Modern-Day Duel: Men’s Use of Territory Marking as A Form of Control

Proceedings of The 5th Global Conference on Women’s Studies

Year: 2023



The Modern-Day Duel: Men’s Use of Territory Marking as A Form of Control

Dr. Christina Vogels



Practices used by men to control their female romantic partners vary in terms of their coercive features. One such practice is territory marking, which involves men claiming ownership over a woman who they are involved with romantically by threatening other men who appear to be ‘making moves on’ or flirting with her. Despite it being a recognised practice in society, feminist scholarship – and more broadly, sociological research – on territory marking is not plentiful. This presentation will examine territory marking by discussing some of the gendered dynamics at play that enable men to oppress women by not only controlling who they can interact with but also by objectifying them as objects to be fought over. To do this, connections will be made between what the practice looks like today and historical accounts of dueling, which was popular in Europe during the eighteenth century. In particular, focus will be placed on how men have continued to use fighting other men to both secure their masculine status and to gain honour while mitigating feelings of (feminised) shame. This type of analysis also allows for deeper discussions to be had around how to disrupt this practice in order to better the lives women in society.

keywords: territory marking, (hetero) romantic relationships, coercive control, the feminine other, shame