In this paper we content analysed the way female refugees are depicted in 500 journalistic photographs published between 2013 and 2017 on ten of the news digital media with the greatest public impact from five of the Western European countries most affected by the wave of migration during the refugee crisis (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom). The most representative media of western culture and with an international projection were selected. We tested from the visual framing theory if women were underrepresented in these main European media, if they were associated to religious symbols more frequently than male refugees, and if they were depicted connotatively in a different way than male refugees. We found that, indeed, there was an underrepresentation of female refugees in the photographs of the analysed European media, and female refugees were more frequently associated with religious symbols than male. Moreover, female refugees were more frequently depicted as victims compared to male, while male refugees were more frequently depicted in burden or threat frames compared to female, so that in a more negative but also more active way. This means that, both through the under-representation and through the way in which they are represented in the European media photographs, female refugees are being associated with a passive and secondary role. European media are contributing to reinforce the so-called “symbolic annihilation” of women by condescendingly showing female refugee as an inoffensive, vulnerable, and submissive subject.
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The authors state that this study complies with all ethical standards. We received no funding to carry out the work presented here, and there were no human or animal participants involved. For these reasons, there should not be any conflicts of interest. This work was carried out using only the Google News search engine and news aggregation platform. All images collected had free and open access. The authors also guarantee that we have complied with the standards of good scientific practice, declaring that the work presented here is original and unpublished, and the complete results have been presented in a clear manner, without being distorted, fabricated, falsified or manipulated in any way. Also, the authors have complied with specific rules of discipline to acquire, select and process data. No false or unfounded statement has been made, and no data, text or theory of other authors have been presented as if they were our own, granting the proper recognition of authorship to the referenced works. Additionally, we guarantee that the order of authors is correct and corresponds to the involvement of each in this research and the amount of work done. Finally, upon request, the authors will send documentation or relevant data in order to verify the validity of the results presented.
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Amores, J.J., Arcila-Calderón, C. & González-de-Garay, B. The Gendered Representation of Refugees Using Visual Frames in the Main Western European Media. Gend. Issues 37, 291–314 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-020-09248-1
- Visual framing
- Gender studies
- Media studies
- Refugee crisis
- Migrant crisis
- Gendered representation
- European media
- Western media
- News photographs