January 18, 2022


Only The Finest Women

Women as accessories | Balkan Insight

Women as accessories | Balkan Insight

In the era of social media and electronic dominance, this patriarchal framework is far more than at any time a dominant narrative in quite a few places all around the world, including the Western Balkans, wherever serious notions of elegance and conventional gendered roles nonetheless characterize and limit women’s participation and illustration in modern society.

Ladies journalists, both of those as members of local community and as purveyors of news and data, are not exempt from these discriminatory standards. Newsrooms, for quite a few different motives, typically reflect these norms, positioning the girls who function there as ‘accessories’ – purposeful objects that have this means only insofar as males deem it so. 

Marina Ridjic describes her expertise as a woman journalist, manufactured worse, she feels, by also becoming blonde. “I’ve been functioning considering that I was 19 […] I’ve frequently heard, ‘just go through what is prepared, you should not test to use your head. You are quite and that is more than enough to perform an interview.’ When I was more youthful, I used to react in anger and tried using to gain just about every struggle. At some level, you just understand that you will hear these sorts of reviews through your lifestyle.” 

Alice Taylor told us about a colleague, an anchor from Albania, who was anticipated to get lip fillers as aspect of her work. “She was generally told that she had to get them. She was informed, ‘Here is the range of the health practitioner that we use, off you go.’” Taylor also explained to us about a well-known sports plan in which all male presenters put on suits although the gals are all in mini-skirts39. Vanja Stokic from Bosnia and Herzegovina has experienced similar activities, but at times sees “benefits” of getting ordinarily appealing. One resource, in certain, was incredibly express. “He explained to me, ‘when I observed the way you look, I experienced to invite you for an job interview. Had you been a person, I would hardly ever have agreed to have a discussion with you.”

The misogynistic act of reducing a female and her worth owing to her bodily attributes is inherently violent, as it denies females their full humanity. It is not astonishing that this sort of violence prospects directly to on the internet abuse and other actual physical manifestations. “When I was attacked in the previous, there was typically a gender part to it. Most of the opinions ended up misogynistic, sexist and often in link to the way I glimpse,” Milka Tadic Mijovic instructed us. Soon after becoming focused with on line abuse, Stokic identified a site where by people were being debating (in the context of experiences of her abuse) “if the t-shirt I was carrying was nicer than what it was masking (e.g. my body). So indeed, there was a gender ingredient.” 

Sexism that establishes women’s benefit as objects of splendor also makes a feeling of entitlement in people that subscribe to this framework. In this way, women’s bodies and splendor are no lengthier their personal, but are for the satisfaction of people that watch them – be that an person, or broader viewers. When Tanja Vujisic was young, politicians made use of to connect with her to go out for dinner with them, and when she refused, would deny her the option to interview them. 

During an job interview, a former minister from Democratic occasion commented on the way Zorica Vorgucic, from Kim radio in Kosovo, was dressed. “He requested why I was donning a pink jacket, implying that I guidance the SPS [political party]. He commented on my appears to be! It was really unpleasant. Often, it comes about that a male politician or analyst presents himself flexibility to strike on me. That has happened a few of times.” 

For Maja Mojskovski Rasevic, remaining guiding the digital camera was no refuge from flagrant sexism: “‘Why are you at the rear of the camera when you must be in front of it?’, ‘Why are you hiding your stunning eyes?’ and so on.” They then want to know if I am ready to have all my gear by myself.”

The objectification of women is not constrained to bodily appeal. Practically each and every other attribute of women’s experience – age, occupation, spouse and children problem, etcetera. – can be employed to deny women their entire humanity and contribution to culture. Jelka Jovanovic pointed out: “Nobody would inform a person that he is fats or ugly. But this is something that female journalists listen to all the time. I was known as an previous hag (“matora”), and I have hardly ever listened to this explained in a detrimental way about a male. When you say that a person is outdated (“onaj matori”) that indicates that he has much more working experience.  In the case of girls, it means that they are ineffective. This is engraved in our lifestyle, and will never ever be changed unless we begin to unlearn it from kindergarten onwards. ”

Motherhood, in certain, is a double-edged sword for women of all ages held up as the pinnacle, while eclipsing all other characteristics and identities of holistic womanhood. As earlier resolved, becoming a mom (or caretaker) can seriously limit prospects for vocation advancement and increase position insecurity. In addition, women confront sexist obstructions, in the kind of stereotypical roles and attributes related with motherhood. 

“Once you give beginning, you are destined to be an anchor only, [‘Rodi pa vodi’],” explains Marina Ridjic.“It is nearly as if following you have supplied birth, you’ve now offered adequate to modern society, so you now get to experience protected put in men’s care.” 

Given some women’s function in society as mothers and caregivers, ladies journalists are generally relegated entirely to subjects that deal with these themes. Elida Zylbeari discusses this craze, and how it can build a problematic cycle for news creation. She explains that gals are told to go over social problems, such as troubles connected to household and young children, although gentlemen include protests and matters that are characterised by pressure and aggression. She anxieties that gals will drop their ambition to include specific stories with significant impact, which can, in the end, effects the way they form narratives. 

What operates: a compilation of findings, insights and tips 

Electronic publicity: Girls must have entire agency when it comes to social media engagement and observe higher-stage digital hygiene (management more than personal info, photographs, notes, and so on.)

Women’s holistic participation: Boosts potential for inclusion of new views and community-setting up

Elevate rights recognition: Know-how permits all people to establish and contact out sexism that renders women of all ages as objects. 

39 See also: H. Haider, Gender and the media in the Western Balkans, Expertise, evidence and discovering for enhancement (K4D) (2020), p.13, 15-17