Culturalisation of Gender: When Ivan Meets Maria

Author(s) : Francesco Garufo, Christelle Maire

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« For almost a century, political posters have been used to feed, diffuse, and reinforce stereotypical representations of strangers. This chapter examines the construction of a gendered visual consensus in Switzerland. These hegemonic representations are based on widely shared depictions of masculinity and femininity in the context of the country’s migratory debates. Immigration is almost always pictured in its masculine dimension. The migrant can be portrayed as a worker, a criminal, a freeloader, an invader, or a comrade. But it is mostly a man. Women appear only very marginally and most often their figure is used to evoke compassion. But, in the 2000s, the increasingly cultural dimension of debates on immigration leads to a re-reading of gender roles. The argument of ‘cultural distance,’ particularly towards Islam and extra-European cultures, makes women both victims of masculine brutality and threats to occidental ‘values,’ and men sexual predators of Swiss ‘women and daughters.’ »

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