Newspapers and Gender

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On January 30th, 1972, twenty six civil rights protesters were shot in Derry by soldiers of the British Army. The day would become known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. Through photographs it would be remembered and aggrandized as an allegory of colonialist exploitation; the locality of the violence is thus lost for the tyranny of a single anecdote, the promotion of photography as fulcrums of history. This led a considerable proportion of research, to uncover and explain how images are appropriated forms of reality created to evoke a reaction from the viewer. As an object, it unveils how identity can be moulded by those in power to satisfy a fetishized consumer culture. As an art, it continues to approach the pedagogy of ‘the gaze’ that has existed in all portrait imagery. To explore sexual politics is thus a microcosm towards the embedded identity struggles within Northern Ireland and will be examined meticulously within the photos chosen for discussion. The focus of this report will be towards The Irish Times between January and July 1972, looking specifically at front page photographs. The publishing press is appropriate to research on the use of photography, as it operates ‘a museum without walls’; selecting and archiving images to invoke an album of empathy and reverie, with the complexity of gendered representations only serving as a distraction. It must be deliberated that to research a history about gender is contentious, as to write about ‘women’ or ‘men’ ignores the diversity of experience, skill, and background of individuals. Although one may find it preposterous that men could be excluded within history; an exploration into both genders is justified as the collecting of data has, for the majority, been presumed by those with p... ... middle of paper ... ...g imagery. Importantly, Bergers thesis looks at both constructions of femininity and masculinity. This multivariate in vision is a dominant and influential theory, however, it must still be treated cautiously that it could imply one group has a greater understanding of the pain of those photographed. It is therefore most appropriate to consider that aesthetic sensitivity can affect political vision. Two scholarly directions have been sustained in methodology; the manipulation of photographs by those in power, and how this is receipted by its viewers. It is now appropriate to apply these thoughts towards allegorical representations of gender. It is evident that both masculine and feminine constructions of identity are idealised during periods of conflict; the newspapers continue to promote a yearning for familial normality, despite living in a state of tension.

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