The construction of gender identity and the reproduction of gender roles by the Greek mass media – The case of HIV-infected prostitutes in Athens

Gamba Dimitra, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of law Paper presented at the International student congress "Gender", Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Maltepe University, İstanbul, Turkey 2013

In conditions of severe economic crisis such as the one greek society is experiencing during the last 3 years, social tension and antagonism tend to sharpen, quite obviously revealing, how all forms of violence are being created and reproduced. Under these conditions, intensified gender-based violence, that permeates social relations of gendered subjects, would inevitably occur.

This essay deals with the role of the greek media in maintaining and intensifying this kind of violence through the constitution of gender identity and the reproduction of gender roles. I use as example the media coverage of the existence of HIV-positive prostitutes in Athens, on May 2012.

At first, a description is given of the historical and social context in which the news aired and the sequence of events as presented by the Greek media are analysed. Furthermore, a text analysis is being used as a tool, as it is being understood in the context of post-structuralist thought.

Mass media headings of this period of time are presented and analyzed: Public health was used as a tool to demonize certainbehaviors and characteristics and the mass media represented identities as woman/ mother, woman/ wife, woman/ sex worker, woman/immigrant on one side, and man/straight /white/middleclass/sex client/family man, on the other.