Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 21, No 1 (2006)

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Filipino Women, Migration, and Violence in Australia:Lived Reality and Media Image

Cleonicki Saroca

Abstract


Drawing on interviews with Filipino women, this article explores the relationship between the lives of Filipino women and Australian media images of their migration and their abuse in intimate relationships in Australia. It is particularly concerned with the textually mediated discourse of the “mail-order bride,” which positions Filipino women at the intersections of gender, race, and class. My analysis starts with the lived realities of Filipino women, the women’s understandings of migration
and violence, and their readings of the media images of these processes. First, their narratives illuminate how too often the media reportage neither accurately nor adequately portrays Filipino women, their migration, and their experiences of abuse.
Second, they bring into clearer focus the dialectics of discourse—the way the media and other discourses about Filipino women feed into and sustain each other. Third, the women’s narratives highlight the social effects of media representation—how images shape the lives of Filipino women and their social relationships and may even contribute
to their vulnerability to male violence in Australia. Fourth, the agency that Filipino women exercise within the constraints of their intimate relations is revealed. The article demonstrates that media images do not reflect Filipino women’s realities, and are in
themselves sites of conflict.

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