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Engendering care: HIV, humanitarian assistance in Africa and the reproduction of gender stereotypes

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  • The Qualitative Scientist

Abstract

This paper draws upon recent research in Durban, South Africa to unravel the complexities of care ethics in the context of humanitarian aid. It investigates how the gendering of care shapes the provision of aid in the context of the HIV in Africa constructing an image of 'virile' and 'violent' African masculinity. Humanitarian organisations construct imagined relations of caring, invoking notions of a shared humanity as informing the imperative to facilitate change. This paper draws on varied examples of research and NGO activity to illustrate how these relations of care are strongly gendered. Humanitarian interventions that invoke universalising conceptions of need could instead draw on feminist care ethics that seeks to balance rights, justice and care in ways that attend to the webs of relationships through which specific lived realities are shaped. Essentialising feminized discourses on care result in a skewed analysis of international crises that invariably construct women (and children) as victims in need of care, which at best ignore the lived experiences of men and, at worst, cast men as virile and violent vectors of disease and social disorder.
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... With activities such as teaching or taking care of children, women's roles in Western society are reflected in voluntourism (Mostafanezhad, 2013). However, depending on the cultural context, there are different local constructions of masculinity and femininity (Brondo et al., 2016), while it is globally perceived that women are naturally predisposed towards a moral caring capacity (Mindry, 2010). ...
... At the same time, such fear can be related to an imaginary consistent with a 'hypersexualised machismo culture', where white bodies are considered vulnerable to threats from non-white bodies, especially in the case of women. These gender stereotypes are reminiscent of colonial discourses, where African men are perceived as white women's predators (Mindry, 2010). In volunteer tourism contexts, women often experience catcalls by local men who stare and yell at them on the street, representing local unequal gender relations. ...
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The popularity of volunteer tourism has increased since the 1990s, as have empirical studies and academic debates on the topic. Despite the broad topics covered – such as volunteers’ motivations, impacts on the local community, and the role of the sending organisations – approaches based on gender differences and feminism are still uncommon among critical tourism studies. Through a semi-systematic literature review, a variety of topics emerged, such as the gendered reproduction of colonial dynamics in voluntourism; volunteer tourists’ motivations, preferences and differences according to gender; and the expectations around traditional gender roles faced by volunteers, the local community and the sending organisations. This paper proposes a feminist research agenda where knowledge gaps and future lines of investigation are illustrated. Finally, feminist standpoint theory and its implications are discussed to offer a more in-depth exploration of the transformation of gender relationships in voluntourism experiences.
... This fear is related to an imaginary consisting of a 'hypersexualised machismo culture', where white bodies are considered vulnerable to the threats of non-white bodies and, to a greater extent, in the case of women. Some of these gender stereotypes are reminiscent of colonial discourses, where African men are perceived as 'predators' of white women (Mindry, 2010). In some contexts of volunteer tourism, catcalls and gazes that tourists receive from local men represent the unequal gender relationships. ...
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Volunteer tourism is a global phenomenon that has gained popularity and interest since 1990. Understanding its dynamics and its stakeholders is important to be able to reduce the derived negative effects and to increase the positives. From an anthropological and gender perspectives, this report aims to show a critical view on voluntourism and to characterise the presents debates in the scientific literature. Therefore, North-South relations, colonial dynamics, the role of sending organisations, volunteers’ motivations and behaviours, as well as the impacts on them and local communities are highlighted. Moreover, gender perspective is incorporated as an analytical framework through which to explore dynamics that take place in volunteer tourism. Finally, possible consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on this complex phenomenon are exposed together with future lines of research.
... Este miedo se relaciona con un imaginario consistente en una "cultura machista hipersexualizada", donde los cuerpos blancos se consideran vulnerables a las amenazas de los cuerpos no blancos y, en mayor medida, en el caso de las mujeres. Algunos de estos estereotipos de género son una reminiscencia de los discursos coloniales, donde los hombres africanos son percibidos como "depredadores" de mujeres blancas (Mindry, 2010). En algunos contextos de turismo de voluntariado, los catcalls y las miradas que reciben las turistas por parte de hombres locales representan las relaciones desiguales de género. ...
Book
Full-text available
El turismo de voluntariado es un fenómeno global que ha ganado popularidad e interés desde los años 90. Conocer sus dinámicas y los actores que participan en el volunturismo es importante para poder disminuir los efectos negativos que se derivan e incrementar los positivos. Desde una perspectiva antropológica y de género, este informe pretende mostrar una mirada crítica al volunturismo y caracterizar los debates presentes en la literatura científica. Así pues, se destacan las relaciones Norte-Sur, las dinámicas coloniales, el papel de las organizaciones de voluntariado, las motivaciones y los comportamientos de los voluntarios, así como los impactos en estos y en las comunidades locales. Además, se incorpora la perspectiva de género como un marco de análisis a través del cual explorar de forma holística el turismo de voluntariado. Finalmente, se exponen las posibles consecuencias de la crisis de la COVID-19 sobre un fenómeno complejo que se debe seguir investigando en un futuro.
... Aquesta por es relaciona amb un imaginari consistent en una "cultura masclista hipersexualitzada", on els cossos blancs es consideren vulnerables a les amenaces dels cossos no blancs i, en major mesura, en el cas de les dones. Alguns d'aquests estereotips de gènere són una reminiscència dels discursos colonials, on els homes africans són percebuts com a "depredadors" de dones blanques (Mindry, 2010). En alguns contextos de turisme de voluntariat, els catcalls i les mirades que reben les turistes per part d'homes locals representen les relacions desiguals de gènere. ...
Book
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El turisme de voluntariat és un fenomen global que ha guanyat popularitat i interès des dels anys 90. Conèixer les seves dinàmiques i els actors que hi participen és important per a poder disminuir els efectes negatius que en deriven i incrementar-ne els positius. Des d’una perspectiva antropològica i de gènere, aquest informe pretén mostrar una mirada crítica al volunturisme i caracteritzar els debats presents a la literatura científica. Així doncs, es destaquen les relacions Nord-Sud, les dinàmiques colonials, el paper de les organitzacions de voluntariat, les motivacions i els comportaments dels voluntaris, així com els impactes a aquests i a les comunitats locals. A més, s’incorpora la perspectiva de gènere com un marc d’anàlisi a través del qual explorar de forma holística el turisme de voluntariat. Finalment, s’exposen les possibles conseqüències de la crisi de la COVID-19 sobre un fenomen complex que cal seguir investigant en un futur.
... Our results align with those from a study in Lesotho which showed that men largely felt testing was for women because they are assumed to be responsible for bringing HIV infection in a relationship. This reflected societal reinforcement of hegemonic masculinity and gender power inequities [33,34]. DiCarlo also found that men considered testing was a life-changing event regardless of the results which was incongruous with their lifestyles. ...
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... To realize this potential, we provide several suggestions. First, one way of fostering this translation may be to shift the focus of volunteer tourism away from a unidirectional act of care (by saviours, for victims) and towards a relational commitment to justice that challenges systems of power that maintain oppression and uneven development (Mindry 2010). This process may involve volunteers thinking critically about their subjectivities, the politics involved in the caring relationships and the fear they experience, and ultimately, how these experiences influence the everyday lives of people in local communities. ...
Article
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS INTRODUCTION IMAGES OF ONE ANOTHER A WomenOs Trek What Difference Does Gender Make? Susan L. Blake Through Each OtherOs Eyes The Impact on the Colonial Encounter of the Images of Egyptian, Levantine-Egyptian, and European Women, 1862-1920 Mervat Hatem IMPERIAL POLITICS The Passionate Nomad Reconsidered A European Woman in LOAlgerie francaise (Isabelle Eberhardt, 1877-1904) Julia Clancy-Smith Crusader for Empire Flora Shaw/Lady Lugard Helen Callaway and Dorothy O Helly Chathams, Pitts, and Gladstones in Petticoats The Politics of Gender and Race in the Illbert Bill Controversy, 1883-1884 Mrinalini Sinha ALLIES, MATERNAL IMPERIALISTS, AND ACTIVISTS Cultural Missionaries, Maternal Imperialists, Feminist Allies British Women Activists in India, 1865-1945 Barbara N. Ramusack The White WomanOs Burden British Feminists and The Indian Woman 1865-1915 Antoinette M. Burton Complicity and Resistance in the Writings of Flora Annie Steel and Annie Besant Nancy L. Paxton The White WomanOs Burden in the White ManOs Grave The Introduction of British Nurses in Colonial West Africa Dea Birkett MISSIONARIES A New Humanity American MissionariesO Ideals for Women in North India, 1870-1930 Leslie A. Flemming Give a Thought to Africa Black Women Missionaries in Southern Africa Sylvia M. Jacobs WIVES AND INCORPORATED WOMEN Shawls, Jewelry, Curry, and Rice in Victorian Britain Nupur Chaudhuri White Women in a Changing World Employment, Voluntary Work, and Sex in Post-World War II Northern Rhodesia Karen Tranberg Hansen CONTRIBUTORS INDEX