Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Women, the Media and the Balkans

A few weeks ago, the Media Center has published the summary findings of their study on the portrayal of women in popular media across the Balkans.

According to the study, in 24.9% of print media in Serbia, women are presented incorrectly, 20.9% of the time in Croatian print media and 20.2% of the time in Bosnian print media.

Women are often restricted to the entertainment, fashion and lifestyle sections of newspapers and consequently, men are more likely to have their opinions printed on political, economic and other such matters.

Furthermore, in the media in Albania and Bosnia, but in other countries as well, women are often portrayed in a stereotypical manner as either being traditional, housewives, mothers or models and show biz figures. Which seems to reinforce the stereotype that those two prototypes are the only options open for women; and that a woman's physical apperance is a condition for her being seen as role model, or as a success.

The view of women as being especially vulnearable also combines with the ethnic division in the country. According to the article:

Bosniak media often tells stories of mothers or daughters of victims of the massacre of 7,000 men in Srebrenica in 1995. On the other hand mothers of Bosnian Serb soldiers are the favourite subject of Bosnian Serb media.

In the Croatian media, prejudice against women was described in their reporting of a case of a young woman who killed her husband, according to the article:

The press turned against her, describing her husband as a successful young businessman from a prominent family, with little mention of the abuse and humiliation she was forced to live with for years

One of the most interesting findings of the report was that Politika, which is the oldest newspaper in the Balkans and also one of the most respected in Serbia leads the way amongst the Serbian media when it comes to incorrect depiction of women, with 39.51% "incorrect text."
The fact that a "serious" and "well respected" newspaper frequently resorts to gender stereoytping and the like shows how ingrained and serious the issue of stereotyping women is in the media.

I wish the study could have also been extended to magazines such as BH Dani, SB, Start in BiH, which tend to be more politically liberal in their outlook to see how much of a factor gender stereotyping plays in their articles.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well researched...good defense of your thesis. Women shouldn't be treated as meat.

But, the premise is wrong. Men and women do have intrinsic differences and needs. This is ignored in your post and Western moral relativism.