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Abstract

Femicide is the term given to describe the gender-based murder of a woman or girl by a man (Merriam-Webster). This is the most extreme form of gender-violence and, sadly, the numbers continue to rise with no end in sight. Thousands of women live in fear for their own life as well as that of their female family members, friends, neighbors, etc. as they never know what day will be their last. Since 1993, femicides have increased at a staggering rate. In 2019 there were 976 reported femicides (Pasquali, 2020), with the number increasing 7.7% in the first half of 2020 (Sanchez and Rodriguez, 2020). With the rise in numbers there has also been a rise in awareness of the problem. The pages below seek to answer the question: How do the discursive strategies employed in different media portrayals of femicide resist or reproduce the sexist, gendered logics underpinning femicide itself? I pose that media is a strong influencer of society and has been used to foment misogyny and ultimately femicides. In my analysis, I examine the lyrics of popular music to expose the misogynistic message, which is often overlooked. I analyze how snuff films, an extreme form of pornography sexualizes female murder, further fetishizing violence against women. Social media is a powerful tool, but I show how it is used for victim blaming and shaming. I explore how policymakers and even the general public in Mexico may disregard the importance of femicide and partake in victim blaming. While media in general is often a driving force for femicide, advocates against femicide have come to realize the influence of the media and are taking charge of that power by using it to create a conversation surrounding femicides in order to incite people to begin to speak out against femicides and demand a solution. I discuss three documentaries from the point of view of the families in which they express the impact that femicide has had on them. I provide examples of femicide cases and how they have been handled by the general public and the media. I examine news articles and videos ranging from 1990 to the present in which femicide is mentioned or reported about. In my research I have found that there is a glorification of violence against women, fomented by the misogynistic culture prevalent in the country. Due to the fact that a critical conversation around the portrayal of femicides in popular media could incite people to begin to speak out against these atrocities and demand a solution, my research has the potential to show how the media can have a greater effect on topics such as femicide than simple policy.

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