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A Qualitative Study Of Gender In/Equality, Resistance And Representation On Nigerian Female Blogs

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posted on 2019-04-16, 12:51 authored by Diretnan Dikwal-Bot
Kaitlynn Mendes This study takes a multi-disciplinary approach to examine how Nigerian women use the blogosphere to make meaning and respond to their marginalisation in the aftermath of recent prominent cases of gender discrimination in the country. Using a mixed qualitative method design that consists of a Critical Discourse Analysis of 135 posts and 405 comments on female-run blogs and of in-depth interviews with eight female blog authors in Nigeria, I draw on prominent cases of gender inequality in the country, such as ‘President Muhammadu Buhari’s Position on Women’ and the ‘Rejection of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill. The analysis of these cases unpacked patterns in the linkages of the subjects of gender in/equality, the language used to legitimise gender inequality, and the issues of gender discrimination that tend to be prioritised on female-run blogs in the country. The analysis interrogates blog discourses on gender in/equality in consideration of the politics of participation and discursive representation, highlighting ‘who’ gets to speak and ‘who’ does not, as well as ‘what’ is represented or omitted. The findings complicate celebratory approaches that conceptualise digital spaces as places for women to fight against sexism, since they unravel ideological conceptions within female ‘counter-publics’ online that rationalise un-equal gender relations in Nigeria. Thus, I argue that the heterogeneity of online counterpublics is key in identifying contrasting traits and nuances that help one understand and define inequality. In relation to how the subjects of gender inequality are linked in discourse, the analysis showed that blog discussions among females in Nigeria suggest extensive intolerance to cultural change, especially in comparison to the more positive attitude towards socio-economic inequality or educational disparity. However, due to the fact that ‘culture’ and ‘economy’ are intertwined in complex ways, resistance to cultural change appears to have a broader bearing on the attainment of economic and other facets of gender equality in Nigeria. Owing to the contextual particularities in Nigeria, the study suggests the need for scholars to consider the role of context in how gender equality should be fought or demanded. This challenges Nancy Fraser’s proposal that both forms of economic inequality and cultural change are a matter of justice and need to be tackled as such. The study is also of practical and policy importance, as it draws attention to omissions and misrepresentations in the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, demonstrating that the articulations of gender in/equality (in Nigeria) are often laced with dominant cultural ideologies. I show that these omissions and misrepresentations have a bearing on the representational logic of Nigerian female blog authors and readers as it relates to the resistance against inequality.



Tsatsou, Panayiota; Mendes, Kaitlynn

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Department of Media and Communication

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University of Leicester

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