‘I am a man!’: the ‘Daily Sun’ campaign and gender violence

The ‘Charter for a Man’ campaign was run in the ‘Daily Sun’, the widely circulated South African tabloid newspaper, from 7 November to 7 December 2007. The campaign, ostensibly designed to discourage gender violence, could potentially provide social critique and be transformative of gender inequalities in South Africa. This critical investigation of the campaign coverage sets out to establish the gendered discourse and the forms of masculinities and femininities privileged therein. Informed by poststructural feminist thought and an eclectic discourse analysis approach, it argues that the ‘Daily Sun’ defined itself as the self-declared hero – a position endorsed by the celebrity signatories they chose to include. If ‘good’ men were constituted as powerful and chivalrous in contrast to ‘bad’, abusive men, women were present merely as victims, and in a single case as a celebrity who rehearsed a patriarchal discourse of men as powerful and women as needy. A strong theme of nationhood, particularly in the editorials, endorsed the identity of men as manly, black (South) Africans. While the campaign held the promise of a progressive initiative, it endorsed the existing gender order through the repeated representation of women as weak and in need of patronage, and men as their protectors and providers. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: ‘I am a man!’: the ‘Daily Sun’ campaign and gender violence
Authors: Dewa, Nonhlanhla
Prinsloo, Jeanne
Year: 2012
Periodical: Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies (ISSN 0256-0054)
Volume: 33
Issue: 2
Pages: 20-35
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02560054.2012.685178
Abstract: The ‘Charter for a Man’ campaign was run in the ‘Daily Sun’, the widely circulated South African tabloid newspaper, from 7 November to 7 December 2007. The campaign, ostensibly designed to discourage gender violence, could potentially provide social critique and be transformative of gender inequalities in South Africa. This critical investigation of the campaign coverage sets out to establish the gendered discourse and the forms of masculinities and femininities privileged therein. Informed by poststructural feminist thought and an eclectic discourse analysis approach, it argues that the ‘Daily Sun’ defined itself as the self-declared hero – a position endorsed by the celebrity signatories they chose to include. If ‘good’ men were constituted as powerful and chivalrous in contrast to ‘bad’, abusive men, women were present merely as victims, and in a single case as a celebrity who rehearsed a patriarchal discourse of men as powerful and women as needy. A strong theme of nationhood, particularly in the editorials, endorsed the identity of men as manly, black (South) Africans. While the campaign held the promise of a progressive initiative, it endorsed the existing gender order through the repeated representation of women as weak and in need of patronage, and men as their protectors and providers. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]