Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gender roles in a machismo culture

For the last few weeks, I´ve been taking photos for Artemisa Noticias, an organization that dedicates itself to news and activism regarding gender issues in Argentina.

Artemisa recently released a documentary called "La Mujer Mediatizada" about how women are portrayed in Argentine media. (It can be seen in its entirety here, but you´ll need to understand Spanish.) Its major findings were that the death of a woman is not given the same media coverage as the death of a man, and that crimes committed by women are often written off as "crimes of passion." Additionally, despite the fact that the number of women pursuing a journalism education is higher than the number of men, this is not reflected in the amount of women who hold leadership positions in journalistic workplaces. (It may be of interest to note that the two editors I´m working for and the two teachers I´m studying under are all women, but that´s is just been my limited experience.)

There is no denying, however, that Argentina has a very heavy machismo culture--which is to say that life here can be very male-chauvanistic. So for that reason, it´s interesting to see a group of women (even if it is a localized one) fighting hard to propel their movement.

It´s been educating, even if a little disorienting at times--like the event I covered last night at La Casa del Encuentro, which was housed in the colorful upstairs of a rickety old building. It felt a lot like a clubhouse for women only, maybe because of the strongly-worded feminist literature tacked on the walls and the fact that both of its bathrooms were adorned with the female symbol.

In any event, the photo assignments have been challenging because the three events I´ve covered have featured people sitting around and talking. And the lighting has been extremely sketchy, which results in grainy images. But Artemisa wants pictures of the women presenting the material, so I guess they´re getting what they want.

Cierra Obioha, a recent graduate of Mizzou´s broadcasting sequence, has also been coming to Artemisa´s events. You can find her commentary here.

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