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The gendering of victimhood: Western media and the Sinjar genocide

Author

Listed:
  • Veronica Buffon

    () (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK)

  • Christine Allison

    () (University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom)

Abstract

This article adopts a gender perspective on war, problematising media attention on Yezidi women since the attacks by ISIS. Sinjari Yezidis’ narratives/subjectivities since 2014 are silenced in Western media reports in favour of a “hyper-visibility” of women’s “injured bodies”, which mobilises a specific narrative of victimhood. Reports from UK and US broadsheet newspapers, plus the BBC, CNN and online publications are analysed, plus new data gathered through fieldwork among Yezidis in Northern Iraq. Western media draw on and reproduce cultural and gender representations, reinstating relations of power infused with orientalist and patriarchal tropes. The focus on women’s bodies moves attention away from the workings of namûs “honour” and the suffering of Yezidi men. Some Yezidi women who became activists, speaking as victims, are heard internationally; the compromises this entails are discussed in light of Fassin and Rechtman’s work on the politics of victimhood.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronica Buffon & Christine Allison, 2016. "The gendering of victimhood: Western media and the Sinjar genocide," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 4(2), pages 176-196, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:176-196
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Güllistan Yarkın, 2015. "The Ideological Transformation of the PKK regarding the Political Economy of the Kurdish Region in Turkey," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 3(1), pages 26-46, May.
    2. Ahmet Hamdi Akkaya, 2015. "‘The Palestinian Dream’ in the Kurdish context," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 3(1), pages 47-63, May.
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    Keywords

    Gender; Yezidi; hyper-visibility; media; conflict;

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