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Academic year: 2023

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A notorious case of the state's interaction with the concept of hegemonic femininity is represented by a viral short film "A Girl in a Miniskirt" that provides a moral lesson on how. In the research, I focus on how femininity is reinterpreted by the public as an inferior counterpart. In the following empirical chapter, I will describe the results of the critical discourse analysis I conducted on the topic of hegemonic femininity in online discussions from Instagram.

Literature Review/Theoretical Framework

Nationalist Projects and Gender Relations

Perhaps the most famous example that represents such a complex relationship between nationalism and gender is the state's politicization of the Egyptian feminist movement. In particular, to delegitimize rigid religious practices, the state focused its efforts on women's clothing as a symbolic representation of the “secular and progressive character of the nation” (Thibault 2016, 4). In addition, women are also seen as bearers of collective honor, which means that there are cultural violations of what is "appropriate" behavior.

The Soviet Gender Paradox

  • The Pre-Colonial and Early Colonial Gender Order
  • Women as facilitators of modernity in the Soviet Union

In Central Asia, the formation of feminist consciousness is associated with the Soviet policy for women's emancipation as a result of the conflicts surrounding Islam and modernity in the region. However, the gendered effects of Soviet policies and the center's socialist rhetoric resulted in the "Soviet Paradox." Similarly, sexual diversity became part of the highly regulated discourse on gender in the post-independence era of the Central Asian states.

Gender Order and Hegemonic Nationalism in Kazakhstan

  • Islamic identity, Femininity and Double Standards
  • Current State of Gender Equality in Kazakhstan

Durrani et.al (2022) analyze the textbook in five compulsory subjects - three languages ​​(English, Russian and Kazakh), history and algebra - and, in this way, explore the process of nation building through education in the country. It is usually expressed in the form of "selective religiosity," as Darakchi (2019) calls it, and is based on religious arguments intended to justify certain beliefs (1222). According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, men and women are considered equal in the country.

Digital Media and Gender Order

For example, in Azerbaijan, where the socio-cultural structure creates an environment in which one's honor must be upheld, deviating from behavioral norms becomes increasingly difficult thanks to the visibility and increased surveillance opportunities afforded by social media (Pearce and Vitak. Kudaibergenova (2019) specifically points out such contradictions in social media in Kazakhstan as a tool that simultaneously helps shape the norms and perception of women's bodies by framing them under the 'uyat' (shame) discourse and at the same time allows women to focus on “bodily liberation and open sexualization” (375). Bloggers in the study were able to transform their careers and use social media to demonstrate the postfeminist ideal of “having it all” that focuses on women “just like us” (Duffy and Hund 2015, 8 ).

Social media and Queer Culture in Kazakhstan

For example, Buelow (2012) has identified the Internet as one of the most vibrant channels for sexual politics in Kazakhstan in terms of LGBTQ activism and presence. For example, there was a case when MP and entrepreneur Kairat Kudaibergen launched a boycott campaign against Qantar, an illustrator from Aktobe, a city in western Kazakhstan, who posted on Instagram a drawing of a same-sex couple kissing while wearing traditional Kazakh clothing (Sorbello 2021). In Kazakhstan, it is clear that gendered nationalism is actively promoted by the state, either in the form of textbooks at school, where the existing gender order applies.


Kudaibergenova's (2019) research on the popularity of re-traditionalization discourses related to women's bodies in Kazakhstan's digital environments represents another example of the growing importance of the bottom-up approach to nation-building in the country. In the thesis, I chose to focus mainly on Instagram as it is one of the main platforms representing the most popular social networks in Kazakhstan as of 2021 (Informburo.kz). As of January 2022, Instagram represents the most popular social media platform in the country with approximately 11.75 million Kazakhs (82.7 percent of the population aged 13 and over) registered on the platform (Dall'Agnola and Wood 2022).

Therefore, Instagram offers a unique opportunity for researchers to study controversial and uncensored opinions from any strata of the population with Internet access. According to the information provided on the website of the company that owns Instagram, "public information can be seen by anyone. Dismissing the LGBTQ flag, the blogger says, “The strength of the Kazakh people is in their nobility.

Finally, the most recent case of open dissatisfaction with the members of LGBTQ members in the online spaces is the case of the North Kazakhstan State University, named after M. On the official account of the Kazakh Parents' Association, @kazsouzrod (76,500 followers), who are the first to highlight the transfer, the post has collected 635 responses. The commentary is provided in the form of screenshots in an attachment section.

In my analysis, I analyze the content of posts and comments and classify them into types of messages that are reflected in the public discourse on hegemonic femininity.


  • The Case of HitTV’s Mini-Series
  • The Murder Case of Ayazhan Edilova
  • The case of sexual harassment
  • Hegemonic Femininity and LGBTQ: The cases of Feminita, the Burning of the Pride Flag and Arizona University

While the majority of comments echo Ospan's sentiment in denouncing such overt normalization and justification of domestic violence, some commenters were very adamant about agreeing with the message of the video or committing the act . Original:... ть суть сериала), “…in other episodes he admits that he is a fool”, and “he (the husband) repents, it is the fault of brand-up artist who exaggerated everything.” The case went viral on social media due to the brutality of the murder and the issues of mishandling.

In a post titled "A story not for hype, fame or pity" (Source: История не для хайпожорства,известности и жалоства), the author of the post begins by saying that comments like "it's your fault", "stop lying" and "you were the one who provoked him," while entirely expected, are not welcome. Moreover, another group of commentators emphasized the individual behavior of men in the family and the responsibility of the criminal justice system to protect. These cases represent a manifestation of hegemonic femininity in relation to representatives of sexual minorities in Kazakhstan.

I have decided to present my findings on these three cases in one section because of the similarity of the sentiments. Similar feelings can be observed in the case when the state university in the Northern Kazakhstan region was transferred to the management of Arizona State University. One comment reads as follows: “Gayropa's diploma is guaranteed” (Original: И Гейропский . диплом в кармане), where Gayropa is an expression resulting from the combination of the words Gay and Europa, popularized by Russian conservatives, and used to the difference in the values ​​between East and West.

These comments pit Kazakh culture against Eastern/Western values, as the majority of comments demonstrate the sentiment that the preservation of the nation depends on maintaining morally right behavior, or heterosexuality in the above cases, that is fully in line with norms. of hegemonic femininity and masculinity.


Determining how online users tend to conflate common gender stereotypes with their ideas about Kazakhs, which stems from their Muslim identity and fulfillment of traditional gender roles, such as good mothers, wives and daughters, along with uncorrupted moral behavior , research shows how gender-based violence, such as sexual harassment or domestic violence, is normalized based on women's adherence to hegemonic standards of femininity, where women are usually reduced to their relationships with men. the normalization of gender-based violence as culturally appropriate when the blame is placed on women themselves as well as the negative attitudes towards members of LGBTQ communities that are considered to be the consequence of the corrupt moral behavior of the West that is incompatible with national identity. While this thesis is an attempt to establish the mechanisms behind the hegemonic nature of the existing gender order, the scope of the research is limited to Kazakhstan and how its nationalist projects interact with the construction of gender. My research provides an analysis of the interplay between multiple nationalist projects in the context of Kazakhstan as a non-Western environment and social networks that represent a rapidly growing form of modern communication.

However, this research is based solely on my contention that the comments I observe in digital spaces demonstrate adherence to notions of gendered nationalism in casual interactions and show how these collective understandings further facilitate the standards of hegemonic femininity that are generally enacted. women in relation to their bodily autonomy and public behavioral expectations. Therefore, I encourage a quantitative analysis to empirically demonstrate the link between public opinion on online gender-based violence and state rhetoric. In addition, the limited number of studies dealing with a similar topic using the same methodology and level of analysis significantly affected my ability to organize my primary source search.

However, the implications of my research include paying more attention to how gender order is constructed online, which is deeply rooted in the topic of gendered nationalism in Kazakhstan. Further research into the regional and linguistic differences in the process of the digital construction of gender and into the nationalistic aspect through the. A more in-depth study of the online conversations may represent a broader future for research into the future of feminism and LGBTQ communities in Kazakhstan.

Similarly, looking more closely at local Islamic practices and how they interact with the existing gender order may reveal some relationships that may be applicable to regions beyond Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

HitTV mini-series

Ayazhan’s murder

Sexual Harassment


Flag Burning

University Transfer

Can You Beat Your Wife, Yes or No?”: An Exploration of Hegemonic Femininity in Kazakhstan's Online Discourses.” Eastern European politics. Minority Assimilation and Nation Building in Kazakhstan.” In Nation-Building and Identity in the Post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches, edited by Rico Isaacs and Abel Polese, London: Routledge: 46-64. The Fearful Khan and the Delightful Beauties’: The Construction of Gender in Secondary School Textbooks in Kazakhstan”, International Journal of Education Development 88: 1-17.

Queer Culture and Tolerance in Kazakhstan.” Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348163529_Dall'Agnola_Jasmin_2020_'Qu eer_Culture_and_Tolerance_in_Kazakhstan'. A Contested Muslim Identity in Kazakhstan: Between Liberal Islam and the Hanafi Project, "Cultural and Religious Studies. Global Body and Traditional Body: A Digital Ethnography of Instagram and Nationalism in Kazakhstan and Russia." Central Asia Survey.

Retrieved from https://www.inform.kz/en/gender-pay-gap- in-kazakhstan-reaches-25-percent-says-researcher_a3907926. The Political Economy of Society and Education in Central Asia: A Scoping Literature Review”, (Working Paper 2), PEER Network. Feminisms in Kazakhstan: On the Intersection of Global Influences and Local Contexts” (Thesis), Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.

Critical Discourse Analysis.” In The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, edited by Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen, and Heidi E.

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