IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The gendering of victimhood: Western media and the Sinjar genocide


  • Veronica Buffon

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

  • Christine Allison

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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:176-196. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (I. Sirkeci). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.