Ethnic Media and Identity Construction: The Representation of Women in the An Ethnic Newspaper in South Africa

D. Soobben, V.P. Rawjee


Media are powerful agents of socialisation. Through representation, media helps in constructing and reproducing gender identities. The representation of how women are constructed by the media has travelled due to globalization. The 2006 Global Media Monitoring Project reveals that women are under-represented in news. The media are therefore construed as constructing gender subjectivity. For example, women are literally absent in news, politics and economics and hardly ever appear as spokespersons or as field experts. These subjective representations are often framed though the lenses of the media producers and are influenced by the political economy of the media. Media are therefore seen as representing a distorted version of women. Gallagher (2004), however states that in South Africa, the process of changing gender in the newsroom has started and media audiences, texts and institutions have changed, largely due to the persistent gender advocacy. Based on this, this paper sets out to investigate how Indian women are represented in a South African newspaper targeted at a cross-national ethnic readership. A qualitative methodology was used to analyse content and photographs appearing in ten consecutive publications of the newspaper. Themes emanating from the literature review were used to analyse newspaper content. The major findings of the investigation indicate that representations of the South African Indian woman has undoubtedly expanded, taking into account new roles and offering new identities, however certain stereotypical identities continue to prevail.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n8p697

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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