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Research Article Open Access

"Saving" Muslim Women and Fighting Muslim Men: Analysis of Representations in The New York Times

Abstract

This study analyzed representations of Muslim men and women in The New York Times between September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2003. Stories about Muslim women living in non-Western countries were often stories about political violence where they were represented as victims of violence and Islamic practices. Representations of Muslim women were also marked by a continual obsession with the veil. Muslim women were often portrayed as victims in need of Western liberation, which was sometimes defined narrowly as the exercise of individual choice in the purchase and use of consumer goods such as nail polish, lipsticks and high-heeled shoes. Articles on Muslim men were often about Islamic resurgence, terrorism and illegal immigration with details about “resumes of holy warriors” and “manuals of killing.” However, The New York Times also performed a watchdog role by highlighting violation of civil rights of Muslims living in the United States and hate crimes committed against them after the September 11 attacks. Such stories, however, were rarely able to resist the dominant representations of Muslim men as violent and dangerous and Muslim women as victims of oppression. The dominant images of both Muslim men and women served the same purpose: They established the need to intervene to rescue the women and control the men.

Smeeta Mishra

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