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From Homoerotics of Exile to Homopolitics of Diaspora: Cyberspace, the War on Terror, and the Hypervisible Iranian Queer

Citation:

Shakhsari, Sima. 2012. “From Homoerotics of Exile to Homopolitics of Diaspora: Cyberspace, the War on Terror, and the Hypervisible Iranian Queer.” Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 8 (3): 14-40.

Author: Sima Shakhsari

Abstract:

In this essay, I argue that during the post-September 11th “war on terror,” the Iranian homosexual became transferred from the position of the abject to the representable subject in transnational political realms. This shift involves Iranian opposition groups, transnational media, the “gay international” (in the words of Joseph A. Massad), and some Iranian diasporic queers who willingly insert themselves into national imaginations of the opposition in diasporic reterritorializations. This hypervisibility is enabled by massive mobilizations of universalized sexual identities on the Internet, discourses of protectorship, valorizations of mobility in cyberspace and diasporic imaginations, and the political and economic opportunities for neoliberal entrepreneurship and expertise during the war on terror. In this process, the normative Iranian homosexual is produced as a victim of backward homophobic Iranian-ness, awaiting representation and liberation by new media technologies, while the Iranian citizen is disciplined through cybergovernmentality as a heterosexual subject who is expected to reject tradition, tolerate or defend homosexuals, and avoid perversion.

Topics: Conflict, Ethnicity, Media, LGBTQ, Sexuality Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2012

Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising

Citation:

Szanto, Edith. 2016. “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 306–22.

Author: Edith Szanto

Abstract:

During the onslaught of the Islamic caliphate on Kobanî, Syria, media outlets across the globe broadcast pictures of brave and often unveiled Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a quintessentially male force of destruction. The images of women fighting Islamist male aggressors aroused outrage, admiration, and pity among observers. But had all Kurdish fighters been male or had women fought for ISIS, viewers might have reacted differently. To examine some of the most widely disseminated gendered pictures and videos of the Syrian uprising in the media, this article draws on Mohja Kahf’s three categories, which typify how Muslim women, Arab women, or both are perceived by the Anglophone reading and viewing public: the first is victims; the second, escapees; and the third, pawns of patriarchy and male power. While this typology helps in examining gendered images of the Syrian uprising, it also obscures the socioeconomic realities on the ground.

Keywords: female fighters, media, Syrian uprising

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2016

Rice Cookers, Social Media, and Unruly Women: Disentangling Electricity’s Gendered Implications in Rural Nepal

Citation:

Matinga, Margaret N., Bigsna Gill, and Tanja Winther. 2019. “Rice Cookers, Social Media, and Unruly Women: Disentangling Electricity’s Gendered Implications in Rural Nepal.” Frontiers in Energy Research 6 (January).

 

Authors: Margaret N. Matinga, Bigsna Gill, Tanja Winther

Abstract:

Rice cookers, social media, and television sets are commonly used in rural Nepal. In this paper we explore how gender norms condition the uptake of these artifacts, and the gendered implications of their uses. We draw on material from a household survey, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews, collected in 2017 in Dhading and Tanahun districts in rural Nepal. The results show that each of the three artifacts initiate distinct, gendered dynamics in terms of uptake, uses, and effects. Women’s use of electric rice cookers aligns with their gendered identity as cooks, helping them improve their gendered work and do not trigger resistance from men. In contrast, the use of mobile phones, social media, and television, prompt complex gender outcomes, resistances, and negotiations. Young people use social media to initiate self-negotiated marriages, shunning arranged marriages thus increasing their agency. It was reported that these self-negotiated marriages tend to be earlier (ages 12–14) than before, as young girls drop out of school to marry their chosen partners, thus threatening their empowerment. Access to television and internet has increased awareness about family planning methods, but persistent gender hierarchies hinder women from freely deciding on and accessing these methods. Women and youth pursuing new opportunities that challenge gender norms are sometimes labeled as unfaithful and unruly by others in the villages. The paper highlights the need to understand subversive responses to social and cultural changes mediated by electricity so that policy and practice can support the desired social transformations.

Keywords: gender relations, energy poverty, electric potential, women's empowerment, energy justice

Topics: Age, Youth, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Media, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2019

Legitimizing Military Action through “Rape-as-a-Weapon” Discourse in Libya: Critical Feminist Analysis

Citation:

Kolmasova, Sarka, and Katerina Krulisova. 2019. "Legitimizing Military Action through “Rape-as-a-Weapon” Discourse in Libya: Critical Feminist Analysis." Politics & Gender 15 (1): 130-50.

Authors: Sarka Kolmasova, Katerina Krulisova

Abstract:

Contemporary discourse on sexual(ized) violence in armed conflicts represents a powerful source for legitimization of highly controversial military interventions. Recent gender-responsive security studies have called for enhanced protection of women and girls from widespread and systematic sexual(ized) violence. Yet military operations reproduce the Western masculine hegemony rather than providing inclusive and apolitical assistance to victims of sexual assault. The article aims to critically assess discourse on sexual violence in a case of military intervention in Libya initiated under the rubric of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The case study indicates a set of discursive strategies exercised by Western political representatives and nongovernmental organizations and even more expressively by the media to legitimize the military campaign. Typically, sexual(ized) violence is presented as a weapon of war, used by one of the conflicting parties without an adequate response of the state. This is followed by urgent calls for international action, willingly carried out by Western powers. The simplified narrative of civilized protectors versus savage aggressors must be challenged as it exploits the problem of sexual(ized) violence in order to legitimize politically motivated actions.

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Media, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, NGOs, Sexual Violence, Rape, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Libya

Year: 2019

Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War

Citation:

Wood, Reed M. 2019. Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War. New York: Columbia University Press.

Author: Reed M. Wood

Annotation:

Summary:
The presence of women combatants on the battlefield-especially in large numbers-strikes many observers as a notable departure from the historical norm. Yet women have played a significant active role in many contemporary armed rebellions. Over recent decades, numerous resistance movements in many regions of the globe have deployed thousands of female fighters in combat. In Female Fighters, Reed M. Wood explains why some rebel groups deploy women in combat while others exclude women from their ranks, and the strategic implications of this decision. Examining a vast original dataset on female fighters in over 250 rebel organizations, Wood argues rebel groups can gain considerable strategic advantages by including women fighters. Drawing on women increases the pool of available recruits and helps ameliorate resource constraints. Furthermore, the visible presence of female fighters often becomes an important propaganda tool for domestic and international audiences. Images of women combatants help raise a group's visibility, boost local recruitment, and aid the group's efforts to solicit support from transnational actors and diaspora communities. However, Wood finds that, regardless of the wartime resource challenges they face, religious fundamentalist rebels consistently resist utilizing female fighters. A rich, data-driven study, Female Fighters presents a systematic, comprehensive analysis of the impact women's participation has on organized political violence in the modern era. (Summary from Columbia University Press)

Table of Contents:
Introduction

1. Why Rebels Mobilize Women for War

2. The Strategic Implications of Female Fighters

3. Female Combatants in Three Civil Wars

4. Empirical Evaluation of Female Combatant Prevalence

5. Empirical Evaluation of the Effects of Female Combatants

Conclusion: Understanding Women's Participation in Armed Resistance

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Religion, Violence

Year: 2019

Women, Conflict and Conflict Reporting: The Deeply Gendered Discourse on the Rohingya Crisis in the News Websites in India

Citation:

Malaviya, Ritambhara. 2020. "Women, Conflict and Conflict Reporting: The Deeply Gendered Discourse on the Rohingya Crisis in the News Websites in India." In Citizenship, Nationalism and Refugeehood of Rohingyas in Southern Asia, edited by Nasreen Chowdhory and Biswajit Mohanty, 171-88. Singapore: Springer, Singapore.

Author: Ritambhara Malaviya

Abstract:

History shows how female bodies have been the site of contestation in violent conflicts across the world. There are innumerable instances of the use of rape as a systematic weapon for proving the superiority of one’s own race during conflicts, for instance, during the Bosnian crisis, or even earlier during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh. While conflicts impact women and children especially because of their vulnerability, the very understanding of why and how the conflict happened is deeply gendered. The Rohingya crisis is a case in point. This chapter attempts to understand the gendered discourse underpinning the discussion on the Rohingya crisis in India through a study of some major news websites in India. As per the framework used by Galtung (The Missing Journalism on Conflict and Peace and the Middle East, 2005), news reporting in India on the Rohingya is split into two camps, the war/victory-oriented journalism and the alternative peace-oriented approach. This chapter notes that while war journalism draws upon concepts which are masculinist, the softer peace journalism resembles the approach of feminists towards conflicts and cooperation. Feminism has analysed how the categories like state, sovereignty, security and militarization are deeply gendered. The patterns of reporting, however, are seen to follow the mainstream masculinist framework. These masculinist lenses are seldom questioned, and how power operates through these categories is rarely the subject of reporting. Therefore, through a careful study of the news portals, the chapter tries to understand how the discourse on the Rohingya encompasses within it gendered stereotypes and power equations.

Keywords: Rohingya, gender, power, control, state, conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India

Year: 2020

Fighting about Women: Ideologies of Gender in the Syrian Civil War

Citation:

Szekely, Ora. 2020. "Fighting about Women: Ideologies of Gender in the Syrian Civil War." Journal of Global Security Studies 5 (3): 408-26.

Author: Ora Szekely

Abstract:

This article seeks to map and explain the sudden increase in the appearance of female combatants in the propaganda distributed by various parties to the Syrian civil war. Based on interviews and the analysis of online propaganda, the article argues that the importance of ideologies of gender to two of the four main participants in the Syrian civil war (specifically, the Kurdish Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD, and the Islamic State, or ISIS) has rendered gender ideology an unusually salient point of ideological cleavage in the Syrian context. This has meant that other parties to the conflict, for whom gender ideology is less important, are able to easily signal their position in relation to other conflict participants by means of policies or actions relating to women’s participation in the conflict.

Keywords: civil war, gender, Syria, middle east

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Media Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2020

Media, Gender Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Lagos Mega City: Content Analysis of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Reportage of Flood

Citation:

Okudolo, Ikemefuna Taire Paul, Itumeleng Mekoa, and Mutiu Adekunle Ganiyu. 2019. "Media, Gender Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Lagos Mega City: Content Analysis of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Reportage of Flood." Gender and Behaviour 17 (3): 13486-99.

Authors: Ikemefuna Taire Paul Okudolo, Itumeleng Mekoa, Mutiu Adekunle Ganiyu

Abstract:

There are numerous man-made and nature induced disasters besetting mega cities that affect gender protection in both private humanitarian and public mitigation projects. Climate change or man-made induced flood is one of such disasters overwhelming especially coastal mega cities and destroying such gendered societies. Its recurrence, scale of destruction and attendant problems have forced stakeholders to agree that reducing its risk factors to every gender class through pre-disaster mitigation activities is the best approach to curb this hazardous disaster. Media is one of the critical stakeholders whose activities can help to curtail the negative effect of flood and advance gendered empowerment against flood, hence its ever important role as risk reduction facilitator. As a crucial stakeholder and agent of development, the media inform, educate, mobilize, forecast and play other roles aimed at helping gendered society and governments cope with flooding. This paper examines the role being played by the media in flood risk reduction in a mega city like Lagos. Specifically, it examines the role of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in creating pre-flood mitigation awareness and disseminating information about flood in the Lagos mega city. NAN is one of the leading news agencies in the world. It sells stories to numerous subscribers within and outside Nigeria. To achieve this paper’s objectives, content analysis of NAN reports sent out to subscribers between 2014 and 2017 were analyzed. Agenda setting theory is employed in this paper to x-ray the involvement of NAN in reducing flood risks in Lagos. Findings show that NAN mainly reports flood in Lagos during its occurrence and rarely expose effects of socio-cultural-economic activities of Lagos residents that cause flooding. It, however, found that the reportage of flood effects is gendered covering all adult sexes, and also boys and girls The paper recommends amongst others that as a media organization with significant influence and key purveyor of credible information, NAN should engage more in proactive reporting of flood in Lagos before it happens. Its reportage should include weather forecasting, reporting stakeholders’ collaborative activities among other flood risk reduction campaigns.

Keywords: agenda setting theory, disaster risk reduction, flood, gendered society, Lagos, NAN

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Media Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava

Citation:

Shahvisi, Arianne. 2018. "Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava." Geopolitics: 1-25. doi: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1554564.

Author: Arianne Shahvisi

Abstract:

Women have been central to the revolution in Rojava, leading to widespread interest in the Kurdish women’s movement across Western contexts. Yet Western mass media representations of women combatants tend to be objectifying and superficial, glossing over the unique variety of feminism, known as “jineology,” that is core to the political system of Rojava, which operates according to the ideology of “democratic confederalism.” This paper is intended as a corrective to the inadequate representation of the theory and praxis of the women’s movement in Rojava. It approaches this task by: (a) critiquing the popular representation of women in Rojava, and (b) providing an overview of some of the features of the distinctive feminism that are in operation, with a focus on intersectionality, autonomous spaces, and combatting masculinity.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Media Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2018

Duped: Examining Gender Stereotypes in Disengagement and Deradicalization Practices

Citation:

Schmidt, Rachel. 2020. “Duped: Examining Gender Stereotypes in Disengagement and Deradicalization Practices.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. doi: 10.1080/1057610X.2020.1711586.

Author: Rachel Schmidt

Abstract:

In narratives around insurgencies, terrorism, and other forms of political violence, the media—and policymakers—frequently portray women as victims or unintelligent pawns of men. But these violent women get more media attention than their male counterparts because they are a shocking departure from gendered expectations of nurturing, peaceful women. However, even such narratives of deviance can reinforce societal stereotypes about women by emphasizing that they are emotional but not political, easily manipulated, often deranged, or simply unintelligent. Using in-depth interviews in Ireland and the United Kingdom with practitioners in counter terrorism (CT) and countering violent extremism (CVE), this paper argues that a failure to ask meaningful questions about women’s roles in extremist violence has reinforced gender stereotypes, leading to disengagement and deradicalization practices that ignore or downplay women’s importance in fostering violence.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Media, Post-Conflict, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland, United Kingdom

Year: 2020

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