A marriage made in heaven: the functioning of patriarchy and nostalgia in Boer soek 'n vrou

This article explores the functioning of patriarchy and nostalgia in a South African reality television series, Boer soek 'n vrou. A hermeneutical analysis is used to unpack visual and verbal narratives that depict romantic relationships and an idealised future. Concepts such as nostalgic appro...

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Published in: Communicatio Vol. 42; no. 3; pp. 313 - 337
Main Author: Steenkamp, Hilke
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Afrikaans
Published: South Africa Routledge 07-02-2016
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Taylor & Francis Ltd
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Summary: This article explores the functioning of patriarchy and nostalgia in a South African reality television series, Boer soek 'n vrou. A hermeneutical analysis is used to unpack visual and verbal narratives that depict romantic relationships and an idealised future. Concepts such as nostalgic appropriation, benevolent patriarchy and the courtship narrative are explored to illustrate the latent patriarchal agenda which is conveyed to the audience. Interactions between the two genders not only naturalise but also reaffirm gender stereotypes. Throughout the series, female contestants are relegated to the sphere of domesticity whereas male farmers are shown as active social agents. Footage that sentimentalises the farmers' feelings is also used to regenerate Afrikaner masculinity, arguably as a direct result of the perceived loss of male authority. This 'renegotiated' image of a white, heterosexual man is indistinguishable from the historical, patriarchal portrayal of men. In the series, patriarchy and nostalgia collaborate to create a cultural product that can be commercially marketed. The colonial gaze is employed to depict farms as picturesque spaces where benevolent patriarchal power relations are enforced. selective erasure, however, distorts reality and exploitative power relations remain hidden from the audience.
ISSN: 0250-0167
1753-5379
DOI: 10.1080/02500167.2016.1216459