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The gendering of victimhood: Western media and the Sinjar genocide

Veronica Buffon, Christine Allison

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.

Keywords: Gender; Yezidi; hyper-visibility; media; conflict.

Abstract in Kurmanji

Cinsiyeta civakî ya qurbanîbûnê: Medyaya rojava û jenosîda Şingalê

Ev gotar ji perspektîva cinsiyeta civakî re li diyardeya şer dinêre, û bal û rûmalkirina medyayê derheq jinên êzdî de ya ji dema êrîşên DAIŞê ve bi awayekî rexneyî dinirxîne. Ji dema êrîşên 2014an ve şahidî û tecrubeyên şexsî yên êzdiyên Şingalê di raportên medyaya rojavayî de têne bêdengkirin û li şûna wan “bedenên brîndar” ên jinan bi dereceyeke zêde têne dîtin, ku ev yek rê li ber duristbûna hikayêteke qurbanbûnê vedike. Raportên rojnameyên serekî yên Brîtanya û DYA’yê ligel weşanên înternetî yên BBC û CNNê û daneyên ji meydanê di nav êzdiyên li bakurê Îraqê hatî berhevkirin hatine tehlîlkirin. Medyaya rojavayî hem îstifadeyê ji temsîlên çandî û cinsiyetî dike hem jî wan ji nû ve ava dike, ku bi vê yekê re têkiliyên hêzê yên bi hêmayên oryantalîst û babsalar şikl girtî ji nû ve binecih dike. Zîqbûna li ser bedenê jinan balê ji ser babeta “namûsê” û ji êşên mêrên êzdî dide alî. Hindek jinên êzdî yên bûyî çalakvan, ku wek qurban dengê xwe bilind dikin, di qada navneteweyî de têne bihîstin. Rengvedanên menfî yên van kiryaran, li vir, di çarçoveya lêkolînên Fassin û Rechtman yên li ser polîtîkiya qurbaniyê de hatine munaqeşekirin.

Abstract in Sorani


Keywords


Conflict; Women; Yezidi; Victimhood; Violence

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