Failure to Launch: #MeToo, Gender Equity and Media Activism in the Bahamas
In the broad definition of media, including digital media, we are witnessing an evolution in the consumption and effects of media on our daily interactions. The responsibility for gender equality is collective and multifaceted. As such, examining media’s role in issues of gender equity can illuminate key factors involved in the divisions and gaps that continue to fragment gender relations.
Media are seen as major players in the ideological struggle because they perpetuate dominant ideologies. Media representations of gender, gender identity and gender-based-violence continue to raise questions about media’s influence on our lives. Media’s portrayal of gender roles and expectations, gender-based violence, rape, sexual assault and incest, in the Bahamas and in the Caribbean, is the focus of this paper.
Using the Bahamas as a case study, this paper examines media’s role in issues of gender equity in the Caribbean. The research relies on the views/perspectives of women and men throughout the Bahamas on issues such as gender discrimination, gender-based violence, gender inequality and the law, and gender equality as human rights.
The Bahamas case study provides an opportunity to examine these issues more in-depth and offer more understanding on why the country rejected a 2016 UN backed referendum on gender equality, which would have corrected gender inequities in the constitution of the Bahamas. Other issues that are interrelated include sexism, same sex discrimination, domestic violence and rape/sexual assault, incest. Despite the high use of social media, the #MeToo Movement failed to launch in this small country. This failure raises questions about the impact of digital activism in small countries. This research relies on more than 50 in-depth interviews with citizens from all sectors of Bahamian society and content analysis of media, print, audio-visual, and digital media, to answer questions of inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity with regard to gender relations.
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