The 1975 United Nations International Women's Year (IWY) Conference in Mexico City took place amid heightened attention to media coverage as a human rights issue as feminists highlighted the ways popular cultural representations limited women's opportunities. Third World leaders objected to depictions of postcolonial nations as spaces of endemic violence and ungovernability, and journalists decried efforts to censor their reporting. This article draws on political theorist Nancy Fraser's concept of contestatory counterpublics, particularly her attention to power differentials in spaces of apparent equality. At the IWY meetings, participants and journalists alike deliberated over the relative importance of cultural and structural factors and the proper balance between press freedoms and ethical reporting. Both official organizers and energetic activists endeavored to shape media coverage of IWY, but conflicts arose over where the dividing line lay between politics and women's issues—or between ideological propaganda and disinterested information.


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pp. 24-48
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