Muslim Ladies and Stereotypes

Arab girls are frequently subjected to a variety of stereotypes. From the’silly couched feminine’ that is portrayed as an oppressed sufferer in need of a lord, to the notion that women who wear headscarves are unable to think for themselves or do not have any motivation. These preconceptions are dangerous in their description of a society, but also in the way that they deny the trailblazing work of women position models arab mail order brides across the place. Whether it is the first female governor of a town in Iraq or the many Muslim female lawmakers, these women are a clear issue to the narrative that has been created that says Arab women are useless and never acquire charge of their own lives.

Studies conducted by George Gerbner, father of Cultivation Theory, shows that damaging stereotypes are cultivated through repeated press images. This is particularly true when it comes to the Arab media. During the coronavirus pandemic in 2019 for example, a large percentage of jokes circulated on social media sites reflected negatively about arab women. The’silly veiled female ‘ image was the most prominent one. Other negative images included women being illiterate, limited in intellectual capability, immoral, materialistic or opportunistic.

Dr Balaa highlights the importance of countering these stereotypes with positive portrayals of Arab women and how these are achieved in literature. She uses the example of Firdaus in Saadawi’s novel The Book of life where she is able to rebel against her rapist and show ‘ a different type of femininity.’ This is important as it illustrates that women can face multiple forms of oppression at the same time that are not solely related to their religion or their ethnicity as Arabs.

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