Invisible violence: Media (re)production of Gender Inequality in Italy

Massimo Ragnedda, Kristen Budd

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Compared to other European countries, opportunities are limited for Italian women to fully and equally participate in Italian social life. In order to better understand Italian women’s social position and the gender inequality that persists in Italy, this research applies Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence. Specifically, symbolic violence is used to explain depictions of women the Italian media. Because social institutions such as the media, that reach large audiences, have the ability to transmit dominant cultural representations, they also transmit representations of the roles of masculinity and femininity. This ability permits media outlets to depict images of the gendered status quo. These representations and depictions often reinforce gender domination in the form of promoting and reifying gender inequality. This research therefore illustrates how the Italian media misrepresent and stereotype women in television and news by limiting their social roles and status in these outlets, a form of symbolic violence. These limited social roles are also seen in Italy’s social reality where women are less likely to be represented in different spheres of social life, like politics. These persistent and prevalent stereotypes and images in the Italian media reify the economic, social, and cultural disadvantage of women in Italy that contribute to continued masculine dominations in all spheres of social life. The implications of symbolic violence in the Italian media and media in general are then discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication Papers: Media Literacy & Gender Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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