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Violence of gender against women and girls in the Mexican media agenda Aimée Vega Montiel Feminist Research Program Centre for Interdisciplinarian Studies in Sciences and Humanities National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM.

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Violence of gender against women and girls in the Mexican media agendaAimée Vega MontielFeminist Research ProgramCentre for Interdisciplinarian Studies in Sciences and HumanitiesNational Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM

International Association for Media and Communication ResearchAnnual Conference, Stockholm 2008


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Feminicide in Mexico (National Research, 2006)

1205 girls and women were murdered in Mexico, in 2004

4 girls and women were murdered each day

1 girl or woman was murdered each six hours

106 girls and women were murdered in Mexico City


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Feminicide in Mexico (National Research, 2006)

More than 6000 girls and women

were murdered

in Mexico between 1999 and 2005


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Legal steps to eliminate violence against women

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is an international bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination and violence against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

  • The Interamerican Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women, Belem do Parà, created in 1994 by the Organization of American States (OAS). This regional instrument recognized all kinds of violence of gender as an attempt against women’s human rights.

  • In February 2007, Mexico approved the General Legislation for the Access of Women to a Life free of violence.


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Violence against women and girls: a wide academical and political field of research

  • According with the Fourth World Conference on Women, violence of gender is defined as any act of violence against women for the fact of being them, that results in physical, sexual, psychological or economical harm, including coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, in public or private life (Beijing, 1995; Lagarde, 2006)

  • Violence against women is a structural problem, derived from the patriarchy agreement that opreses them. It is a manifestation of the historic unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men (Amorós, 1990).


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Types and Modalities of Violence against Women

  • Physical Violence

  • Psychological Violence

  • Sexual Violence

  • Economic Violence

  • Symbolic Violence

  • Institutional Violence

  • Feminicide Violence

  • Familiar Violence

  • At work / Educational Violence

  • Community Violence

  • Institutional Violence


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The responsibility of media in the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls

  • “The images of violence against women, especially the representations of rapes or sexual slavery of women and girls, as well as her utilization as sexual objects, including the pornography, are factors that contribute to perpetuate this violence, which harms to community, and especially youth and infancy” (UN)

  • International instances have expressed specific recommendations to media in order they:

    • Examine consequences of sexist stereotypes represented by media discourse, including advertising’s, that promote forms of violence and discrimination of gender in society

    • Adopt measurements to eliminate these negative images, with a view that promotes a society based on equity and respect

    • Encourage producers to establish ethical codes for contents

    • Inform and educate population, explaining reasons and effects of violence against women and stimulating public debate on the issue (Beijing, 1995; Belem Do Pará, 1994; General Legislation, Mexico, 2007)


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Research Question

  • ¿What is the social representation of violence of gender against women and girls in the agenda of the main Mexican television channels, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and web-pages?


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Category of Analysis: Violence against Women

  • Physical Violence

  • Psychological Violence

  • Sexual Violence

  • Economic Violence

  • Symbolic Violence

  • Institutional Violence

  • Feminicide Violence

  • Familiar Violence

  • At work / Educational Violence

  • Community Violence

  • Institutional Violence


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Unit of Analysis: Social Representation

  • The methodological unit of analysis is the social representation (Moscovici, 1976), in order to understand the processes of social construction of meaning produced and reproduced by media. In this sense, gender constitutes one of the main social representations, as the place where discourses, beliefs and norms about identities, have historically determined the unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to discrimination and violence against women and girls (Flores, 1996)


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Ambits of Representation

  • Caracteristics of Representation

    • Media

    • Format (news, soap opera, column, article, talk show, etc.)

    • Date

    • Total time

    • Decription

  • People/Institutions Represented

    • Women/Girls

    • Agressors

    • Government

    • Civil Society

    • Parties

    • Scientifics

  • Forms of representing People/Institutions

    • Women and Girls: Victims/Responsibles

    • Agressors: alcoholics/addicts

    • Government: responsible/iresponsible

  • Types and Modalities of Violence represented

    • Violencia Física/Violencia Psicológica/Violencia Institucional/Violencia Feminicida/Violencia Sexual/Violencia Económica/Violencia Simbólica

    • Violencia Familiar/Violencia Laboral y Docente/Violencia Comunitaria/Violencia Institucional

  • Context of representation.

    • Public space

    • Private space

  • Political intention by representing violence against women

    • It is a problem

    • It is not a problem

  • Sense of the representation.

    • To denounce

    • To trivialize


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Major Audience Media

TV:

Channels 2, 5 (Televisa), 7, 13 (TV Azteca) y 11 (Canal 11, public television)

Radio:

Stereo Joya, 98.5, WFM, 97.7, La Z

Newspapers:

Reforma, El Gráfico, El Universal, La Jornada, Milenio, Crónica, La Prensa y Excélsior

Magazines:

H para Hombres, Vanidades, Caras, 15 a 20, Quién, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, TV Notas, Tv y Novelas, Cronos, Tú

Web pages:

INMUJERES, ESMÁS.COM, Sexy o no, HOTMAIL, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids, MTV Latino, Video Rola, Todito.com, Univisión, RBD


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Method

  • Content Analysis

  • Television: 544 hours/one week/ from 6:00 to 23:00, 2006

  • Radio: One day/from 6:00 to 23:00, 2007

  • Newspapers: One week, 2007

  • Magazines: One edition, 2007

  • Web pages: 2007


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Results

  • Television: 983

  • Radio: 288

  • Press: 1870

  • Magazines: 172


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Results: TV agenda


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Soap Operas

  • Types: Physical, Psychological, Sexual and Feminicide

  • The main argument of Mexican soap operas, it is the discrimination and violence against women (mainly represented as wifes, mothers and daughters), perpetrated by men (husbands, sons and fathers)

  • Violence of gender is represented as a natural social behavior, not as a problem, that normalizes the manifestation of jealousy, threats, sexual harassments, rapes, kidnappings and murders of women

  • Violence against women is strenghtened by their race condition (indigenous women represented as servants), or by their appearence (Ugly Betty)

  • Women are represented in two main ways: as victims or as responsibles of the violence they suffer. In this sense, media discourse justifies the fact that women are object of discrimination

  • Ambits: Family and Work. Violence of gender is represented as a private problem, but not as a public that involves the State’s responsibility


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News (television, radio and newspapers)

  • Types: Physical, Sexual, Psicological, Institutional and Feminicide.

  • It is common to head information with scandalous or discriminatory headlines

  • The narrative of news tends to drama, refering (desproportionately) to women as victims but not as a empowered subjects. On a extreme position, women are portrayed such as responsible of the violence they are object (information about the denounces presented by women that were victims of rape by police men. TV News talked about those women as “supously raped”, even Mexican government had confirmed that)

  • In most of the news, there are no reference to the agressor: it seems that women are violented by a “Spirit” (“The Dead of Juárez”)

  • At the same time, in the few cases where it is announced the identity of the agressor, he is represented as a misfit person (because alcoholism, drogadiction, etcetera), but never as a normal guy or as a recognized figure (such as a politician, sportman, bussinesman, etcetera)


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Advertising

  • Types: Symbolic, Physical, Psycological, Sexual and Feminicide

  • Advertising tends to represent women as sexual objects (without reason), or in traditional roles, as housewives, or as frivolous, stupid and worrried about being beatiful

  • A few institutional advertising (produced by the government, by the Congress, or by the Office for the rights of Women). It does not promote a conscience about the urgence to eradicate violence against women. In a superficial way, this advertising refers to the right of women to punish men


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Magazine Programs

  • Types: Psycological, Physical, Sexual and Feminicide

  • Anchorwomen, but women as members of the public too, are victims of misogynous jokes, physical and sexual agressions done by anchormen

  • Jokes about murdered women (Ciudad Juárez)

  • Gossip programs tend to represent women (actress, models, etc.) as frivolous and stupid


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MOVIES

  • Types: Physical, Sexual, Psycological and Feminicide

  • National and foreign movies projected by TV channels, reproduce stereotypes of gender and represents violence against women as part of the social relations: it does not represent a problem


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Series and Sitcoms

  • Types: Physical, Phsycological, Symbolic and Feminicide

  • National and foreign programs. Women and girls are object of insults and agressions by men (partners, sons, fathers and neigborhoods), and even of kidnapping, rape and murder


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Documentary Series

  • Physical, Psycological, Feminicide

  • Even these programs denounce cases of violence against women, the coverage is superficial and tends to drama


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CARTOONS

  • Types: Physical, Psycological, Symbolic

  • Girls are object of agressions and insults –with adjectives that use to call them as thiefs, liars, stupids and uglies


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The most popular program among children and young people

  • “Incognito”. TV program presented by a young men, extremely mysoginous, that call women such as: bitch, shit, hot, old bag and stupid

  • He goes to the clubes and table dances, represents women as sexual objects (he touches and insults them)


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Public Television

  • This is the only channel that brings a different perspective about violence of gender. It includes programs, such as the talk show Diálogos en Confianza where women as well as specialists discuse, with depth, issues around the women’s human rights. At the same time, this kind of dialogue is promoted in debate programs (Primer Plano), as well as in programs conducted by specialists

  • However, it’s TV news repeats the same pattern of comercial television channels


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Popular Music

  • In Mexican radio stations, the prefered genres listened by the audience (mostly young people), are “reggaeton”, ranchera and tropical

  • Lyrics use to represent women as sexual objects, as wicked or as a threat for the good behavior of men in the public space


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Press: prostitution networks

  • Beside the way newspapers represent violence against women through of news, this industry opens a significant space to the advertising of newtworks offering girls and women as prostitutes (total announcementes: 1725)

  • Additionally, some newspapers include sections dedicated to “the (male) reader”, with photos of naked women


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Magazines

  • The most popular magazines in Mexico, represent women as:

    • Sexual Objects (magazines for men, magazines of spectacles)

    • Superficial and frivolous (magazines for women, included teenagers)

    • Housewives

    • No magazine included articles refered to the violence against women, neither to their human rights


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Summary

  • Popular genres as a vehicle for the reproduction of violence against women

  • This issue is not represented as a social problem, but as a normal social conduct, belonging to the private and individual sphere

  • Most represented types: Physical, Psycological, Sexual, Feminicide and Symbolical

  • Women are represented as victims or as the responsibles of the violence they suffer

  • In most of the cases, there is no reference to the agressor

  • Violence against women is represented as a private problem, but not as a public that involves the State’s responsibility


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EFFECTS ON THE MEDIA REGULATION AND SECOND PHASE

  • “Lineamientos y Mecanismos para una Ley de Medios con Perspectiva de Género” (April, 2008)

  • “The influence of media agenda in the social representation of violence against women and girls”. PAPITT-UNAM Project


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THIRD PHASE

  • Observatory for the Human Rights of Women in the Media


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Thank you

Cheers,

Aimée Vega Montiel

[email protected]


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