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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reading the Rose: A Critical Engagement with the Amnesty International Rose Campaign Images


In this paper I will explore the ways in which Amnesty International affectively mobilizes the readers of their anti female genital cutting print campaign: The Rose Campaign. I intend to interrogate the incentives behind the operationalisation of the Rose Campaign images and, in submitting the images to careful critique, analyze the utilization of repetition and citation as well as the adoption of symbols which connote certain stereotypes and affective responses. In doing so I hope to highlight the construction of meanings which are often left hidden. The Rose Campaign images are created to respond to ‘female genital mutilation’, which is understood by Amnesty International as a form of ‘violence against women’. By attempting a critical ‘reading of the rose’ which unpacks assumptions and knowledges I move toward a more nuanced investigation of NGO print imagery, submitting it to the type of dialogue increasingly advocated by feminists analyzing written text.

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