duminică, 23 noiembrie 2008

White Media and Gender-Race Oppression

22 November 2008- all news networks say about Jimmy Carter, former US president (D), and Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations (Ghana) being rejected from entering Zimbabwe in a humanitarian mission. This is their view and I do not assume it. My problem is with the third member of the Elders. Her name is Graca Machel.
What do we have here:
-a woman
-an African woman
-an African woman advocating for human rights
-an African woman advocating for human rights who held high government positions

Now let us see how several global news network included her in the news with Carter and Annan.
US news channel- allegedly rightist
-she is included in the photograph
-the headline of the article does not mention her
-her statement is presented at the end of the article
US-based news channel-allegedly liberal
-she is included in the photograph (the same photograph as for FOXNEWS)
-the headline again does not mention her
-her name is first mentioned in the middle of the body of the article
-her social identity is fully connected with the famous African male politician Nelson Mandela (so she does not a feminine identity, she is known mostly because she depended on a man)
-her statement is quite long, she is precise
-her statement begins with "We", whereas Carter´s begins with "I"
The Guardian
British newspaper- allegedly left liberal
-the title does not mention either of the African activists (Mrs. Machel and Mr. Annan)
-the title and the photograph display only the former US president
-NO statement from behalf of Mrs. Machel, even if the primary source of the news is the same as in the other cases
Washington Post
popular US newspaper
-the same photograph with the three
-the title also mentions her
-from the very beginning, she is not given the status of a woman dependent on the media image of her husbands
-she is nicely presented, as South African human rights advocate (BUT pay attention to the structure: "Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and a South African human rights advocate"- NO name), the second time she is presented she is given a name, indeed, but the first time she is "a South African human rights advocate), she does not hold international reputation
-in the end, Mrs. Machel is associated with the status of "wife of a famous African politician" (these are my words).

I do not want to go into much details, but here are my opinions
1. How much is Mrs. Machel a South African human rights advocate rather than the wife of an African leader?
2. Even if you go to google and you search jimmy carter kofi annan graca machel zimbabwe, you will find out that most of the headlines do not mention her name or her as a woman or as African woman. And some headlines speak of the Carter group.
3. Mrs. Machel is not given access to history, her image as a woman is only a secondary one because everybody says about her that she was the wife of an African leader (maybe the continuation of White Euro-American stereotypes of the gender roles in the postcolonial world).
4. Some reporters, mainly males, speak on her behalf, not quoting exactly her statement, while Carter and Annan, as males, benefit from a large exposure within the articles.
5. None of the mainstream news articles speaks of Mrs. Machel as previously holding a top government position.

I am very eager to find out what you think about this. You are more than welcomed to post comments on this blog.

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