• Julie Holt Pedersen
Guatemala is currently ranked third in the world when it comes to the estimated numbers of femicides, or the murder of women because they are women. Moreover, very little prior research has focused on the qualitative aspects of femicide in Guatemala. Therefore, this paper analyses contemporary representations of femicide in Guatemala on three levels of society: the government´s at the time of the passing of the Law Against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women in 2008 (LAF), the Guatemalan mainstream media representations of femicide and the representations by a range of civil society actors. The primary data for this thesis consists of the LAF from 2008, 6 newspaper articles from 3 mainstream newspapers. The bulk of the data for this paper includes 12 interviews mainly with women´s organisations who deal with femicide in Guatemala. In the analysis I use the theory/method by Carol Bacchi, the so-called “What´s the Problem Represented to Be?” approach (WPR) that seeks to identify and understand the underlying assumptions behind the problem representations of femicide in Guatemala as well as to come up with new ways of contesting harmful, dominant problem representations.
The main findings of this paper are as follows: First, according to women´s rights organizations, the LAF is considered a step forward for women´s rights in the country. However, it is insufficient in lowering the high rates of femicides. Moreover, the mainstream media tends to revictimise femicide victims and to be sensationalist in nature. These can be considered harmful representations of femicide. Furthermore, the contestation by women´s rights organisations provides important tools in the discursive struggle against the widespread phenomenon. These organisations work in different ways to support femicide survivors, to create awareness programs and are in many other ways seeking to lower the numbers of femicides. Lastly, these efforts are crucial in changing damaging gender stereotypes of machismo and marianismo and in offering alternatives to traditional perceptions of both men and women´s roles in contemporary Guatemalan society.
SpecialisationLatin American Studies
Publication date21 Dec 2015
Number of pages60
ID: 224344569