The Gendering of Victimhood: Western Media and the Sinjar Genocide
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.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Transnational Press via the URL in this record.
Vol. 4 (2), pp. 176-195