This edited book has to do with the study of media discourses and representations of gendered violence within the current global context. It looks at multiple and varied ways in which gender and sexual violence are understood, local cultures of violence and different forms of activism, resistance and/or mitigation against these cultures and representations of violence. It includes case studies from all over the world (among others: China, Peru, US, South Africa and Serbia).
In the introductory chapter ‘Tracking global media and local activism’, the editors first discuss the notion of gender-based violence (GBV) coined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and propose to go beyond that by focusing on ‘patriarchy and institutional structures that affect the experiences and meanings attached to the various forms of GBV’. Second, they offer an overview of legal and policy changes that have been implemented since the 1970s as a consequence of feminist activism such as the 1978 formulation of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) by the UN and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), among others. Third, they present some of the international forms of activism that communities have undertaken (e.g. global campaigns, Women’s Feature Service-UN, the Canadian-based Feminist Media Project).
The rest of the book is divided into three highly readable sections. The first section, ‘Representing violated bodies’, shows how women’s or trans-women’s bodies are seen in different societies, how their bodies are subjects of extreme violence and what the media coverage has been in each of these cases. A chapter devoted to the media treatment of serial prostitute homicide in China offers a detailed description of this problem. Prostitution of women is seen as one of the side-effects of both the current open economy in China and the increasing …