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The Role of Media Representations Of Feminicides In Influencing Perspectives Of Feminicide In Mexico

Feminicides are defined as misogynistic killings of women where men kill women simply for being women. Feminist scholars have focused on bringing to light feminicide’s structural gender-based nature and the state’s complicity in the continuance of this misogynistic violence. They have argued that media representations of feminicide play a role in influencing citizen perspectives on feminicides. However, empirical evidence is missing to support the claim that negative media portrayals of feminicides lead to negative perspectives or that ethical and activistic portrayals lead to activistic perspectives. This study will aim to bridge the gap in this claim. My research question is: how do ethical/activistic and negative representations of feminicide influence Mexican citizens’ perspectives on the issue of feminicides? I measure Mexican citizens’ perspectives by analyzing Facebook media comments under negative and ethical/activistic portrayals from Mexican news sources to uncover how these differences in portrayal language impact perspectives. It is found that the effects of negative and ethical/activistic portrayals differ between “perfect victim” feminicide cases and those that do not fall under this frame. Compared to negative portrayals, comments under ethical/activistic portrayals of “perfect victim” feminicide cases show more sympathy for the victim but did not curb victim blaming or perpetrator justification. Comments under ethical/activistic portrayals of feminicides that did not fall under the “perfect victim” frame contained significantly less victim blaming and minimally decreased perpetrator justification but did not increase sympathy for the victim. Ethical/activistic portrayals of both feminicides had slightly more comments demonstrating a systemic understanding of feminicide. These differences support the claim that ethical/activistic portrayals can influence ethical/activistic perspectives, but they also further complicate the claim by revealing they may influence them in different ways depending on the “perfect victim” frame.