Jake Bowers

Trailer-trashed: Representations of the Romany community in the media

Europe's Gypsy community is the continent's largest and most misrepresented ethnic group. This chapter, by one of Britain's few Romany journalists, asks why the struggle for balanced representation of this community is still decades behind other ethnic groups. It examines the ways in which the British media systematically misrepresent the lives and cultures of Britain's 300,000 Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies, often for the sake of sensationalism, entertainment and high TV ratings. The chapter also examines key examples such as the television 'mockumentary' series, My big fat Gypsy weddings, and highlights its absurd inaccuracies about Gypsy lives. The chapter argues that Gypsies will continue to be misrepresented and misunderstood until more are recruited as journalists, or take control themselves: 'In order to challenge the media; you have to be the media.

Keywords: Gypsies, media, Travellers, Romany journalist, My big fat Gipsy weddings, Celebrity big brother, Gypsy myths