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Capture d’écran du documentaire “Les gitans : mariages en grandes pompes” (Prime Entertainment Group, 2018)

Le court reportage sur les mariages gitans, diffusé ce dimanche 19 juillet 2020 dans les Carnets du Bourlingueur, est interpellant à de nombreux égards et illustre bien la tendance de la RTBF à parler de la communauté Rom1 de manière souvent essentialiste et stéréotypée. Tout dans ce reportage amènerait en effet à penser que les Gitans sont différents, étranges, asociaux et, finalement, un peu arriérés. Un siècle de clichés « anti-tsiganistes » trouve une incarnation moderne dans ces images qu’on tenterait presque de nous vendre comme un voyage ethnographique exclusif dans le monde gitan — pas étonnant, après tout, qu’il…


Representations of Romani fatherhood in popular culture

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Stereotypical representations of Roma tend to associate Romani masculinity with criminality, violence and disorder. Romani men are rarely portrayed positively in the media and popular culture, and the inaccurate perception that they are absent or not involved in the lives of their children greatly contributes to defining them as bad fathers too… Due to hundreds of years of pervasive dehumanizing images, it seems that Romani men have not yet been allowed to be collectively seen as nurturers and caregivers. And although motherhood is a key issue in Romani gender activism, little has been…


How people of Romani descent have taken over social media to create visibility

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On International Women’s Day 2020, I opened up the photo-sharing platform Instagram for the first time and created an account which I named @romani.herstory. I had little experience with social media — in fact, I don’t even own a smartphone, something that I quickly realised would be problematic in this case — , but I hoped that @romani.herstory could somehow help to pluralise Romani women’s representations. Two to three times a week, I write and publish a short biography of more or less 2200 characters (the maximum…


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“The Body Beautiful” (Onwurah, 1991). Courtesy of Women Make Movies, www.wmm.com

With the critical and box-office success of films such as 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013), The Double (Ayoade, 2014) and Belle (Asante, 2013), Black British directors have enjoyed greater visibility these past few years. Amma Asante’s recognition (with a BAFTA award, an MBE appointment from the Queen and an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016) is particularly remarkable given that she is — in her own words — “not the shape or colour a film director usually comes in”1. Indeed, according to a recent study2, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) women…


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“La Esmeralda dansant”, Charles Voillemot, circa 1882

Everyone knows Esmeralda, the exotic “Gypsy” heroine born under the pen of the French literary giant Victor Hugo and popularized by the Disney studios in 1996 with their Hunchback of Notre Dame. Across time, there has been a tremendous amount of adaptations of Hugo’s classic in film, television, theater and even video games. Adding to this list, Disney has announced earlier this year the production of a live action remake of their 1996’s animated film. But the potential casting of a non-Romani actress for the role of Esmeralda has already prompted heated debates on social media. As a French woman…

Émilie Herbert-Pontonnier

PhD in Media, Culture & Communication | Independent researcher interested in gender, race, class & the media

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