Digitizing the Western Gaze

The End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign

in Screen Bodies
Jessica Cammaert Ryerson University jessica.cammaert@ryerson.ca

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The increasing digitization of print media has resulted in the expansion of female genital mutilation (FGM) eradication efforts from print articles, editorials and novels, to online newspapers. The Guardian recently launched an online “End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign,” incorporating video, film, and multimedia. This report reviews the digitization of FGM eradication efforts by comparing End FGM to past anti-female circumcision screen texts. Focusing on a film featured in the campaign, Shara Amin and Nabaz Ahmed’s 2007 documentary, A Handful of Ash, this report applies a post-colonial feminist critique of gender, sexuality and colonialism to examine how the digitization of pain and suffering is mobilized and consumed. Comparing the film to anti-circumcision screen texts, Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower, this report historicizes the global media campaign and highlights its’ repackaging of past imperialist discourses on the body in new digitized ways.

Contributor Notes

Jessica Cammaert teaches courses in African History and Global Studies. She holds a PhD in History from Queen’s University, Canada (2014). Her forthcoming book, “Undesirable Practices”: Women, Children and the Politics of the body in northern Ghana, 1930–1972 (University of Nebraska Press, 2016) analyzes the consequences, both expected and unintended, of imperial feminism and colonial interventions in local social and cultural practices in northern Ghana. Her current research focuses on gender, conflict and memory in northern Ghana.

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

  • Boddy, Janice. 2007. Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Cammaert, Jessica. Forthcoming. “Undesirable Practices”: Women, Children and the Politics of the body in Northern Ghana, 1930–1972. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

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  • Dellenborg, Liselott. 2004. “A Reflection on the Cultural Meanings of Female Circumcision. Experiences from Fieldwork in Casamance, Southern Senegal.” Pp. 7996 in Re-thinking Sexualities in Africa, ed. Signe Arnfred.. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikain-institutet.

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  • Ibhawoh, Bonny. 2008. “Moolaadé (Review).” Human Rights Quarterly 30: 4 (November): 10581060.

  • Nnaemeka, Obioma, ed. 2005. Female Circumcision and the Politics of Knowledge: African Women in Imperialist Discourses. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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  • Rosenstone, Robert. 2006. History on Film/Film on History. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

  • Amin, Shara, and Nabaz Ahmed. A Handful of Ash. 2007. Iraq.

  • Hormann, Sherry. Desert Flower. 2009. Germany.

  • Sembène, Ousmane. Moolaadé. 2004. Burkina Faso.


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