TitleRepresentations of African women in the American and French press, 1990-2005
NameRuginyte, Dovile (author), Kumar, Deepa (chair), Keith, Susan (internal member), Steiner, Linda (internal member), Cooper, Barbara (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectCommunication, Information and Library Studies,
Women--Africa--Social conditions--20th century,
Women--Africa--Social conditions--21st century,
Rape as a weapon of war--Africa,
Women and journalism,
AIDS (Disease) in women--Africa,
New York times,
DescriptionAfrica has been subject to Western misrepresentations since the earliest ventures of Europeans into the continent. The colonial clichés of Africa as the “Dark continent” and its people as lazy, licentious savages incapable of progress have been established to justify Western exploitation of Africa. African women have been particularly subject to the derogatory Western gaze. Most existing studies of the Western media’s representations of Africans suggest that the media continue recycling these colonial stereotypes. The study examined four hundred forty four articles about African women in the New York Times and Le Monde from 1990 to 2005 to determine to what extent their representations continued to be shaped by colonial clichés. The study found that only about half of the portrayals of African women are crisis-driven. The rest of the stories present African women outside crises situations: e.g., going about their daily lives, participating in politics and interested in fashion. The study also demonstrated that Le Monde’s discourses about African women are somewhat more subtle and sophisticated than those of the New York Times, which often relies on simplistic and reductionist interpretations of complex situations. Le Monde’s coverage nevertheless deteriorates when the issues discussed are perceived as having political currency in France. The coverage in both newspapers also suffers from systematic omissions of a larger political and historical context that would better contextualize situations and would also expose France and America’s role in African events. Finally, the New York Times’ reporting is distinguished by the trend of advocacy journalism. While the intentions of journalists/advocates are necessarily benevolent, the outcome of these writings is somewhat ambiguous, often projecting African women at their worst: suffering, desperate, and to be pitied.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Dovile Ruginyte
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.