Arab Ladies and Stereotypes

Arab people are usually subjected to a variety of preconceptions. From the’silly veiled feminine’ that is portrayed as an oppressed survivor in need of a savior, to the notion that women who wear lebanese bride headscarves are unable to think for themselves or do not have any ambition. These prejudices are dangerous in their portrayal of a tradition, but also in the approach that they deny the trailblazing work of women responsibility concepts across the location. Whether it is the first female mayor of a metropolis in Iraq or the many Muslim female lawmakers, these women are a clear challenge to the storyline that has been created that says Egyptian women are useless and don’t take charge of their own lives.

Studies conducted by George Gerbner, father of Cultivation Theory, shows that adverse stereotypes are cultivated through repeated internet 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.