Image of Arab women in the eastern print and visual media

Image of Arab women in The Eastern print And Visual media

Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University

Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences Dhar Mehraz-Fez

Department of English

Master program

Image of Arab women in the eastern print and visual media

Image of Arab women in The Eastern print And Visual media

MINT CHEIKH Lalla-aicha

Supervised by : Professor K. Sandy

2008-2009

The power of the media to make and unmake the image of women, to hasten or retard the progress of women in society, cannot be denied or underestimated.

Molara Ogundipe- Leslie.

This work is dedicated to people who made me who I am:

My mother: for installing values in me without them I would not be able to have made it. My father: for believing in me and never doing anything but nurturing my inspiration.

My father: for believing in me and never doing anything but nurturing my inspiration. My grandmother: for everything you have done to me and for your impact in my life.

The work is dedicated to the rest of my family members and friends, without forgetting my professor El Hassen Ould Ahmed whose help and guidance have never stopped. The work is also dedicated to every woman who has been stereotyped by media on the basis of her gander, class or education.

Acknowledgement

At the end of this work, I feel thankful, grateful, and in debt to a number of people. First, I would like to express my sincere thankfulness and gratitude to my supervisor Dr. Kebir Sandy for his encouragement; insightful comments and guidance without them this work would net have been accomplished. He is a disciplined professor who taught me a great deal about academic professionalism and helped me along to write this thesis.

My thanks go to my entire professors at Women as and Gender Studies Master Program for giving me the opportunity to enrich and develop my skills in the held of academia and to spend two fruitful years in my second country Morocco. Special thanks are due to Dr. Fatima Armani who motivated me enough to know that when I overcome her criticism then I would be on the right path to success. I thank you all for making my dream become a reality.

Contents

1 Introduction 2
2 Media analysis 5
2.1 Media effects 6
2.1.1 Behaviourist theory 8
2.1.2 Cultivation theory 10
2.2 Intrepreting the media 12
2.2.1 Marketing theory 13
2.2.2 Reception theory 17
2.3 Critical analysis of the media 18
2.3.1 Manipulative theory 19
2.3.2 Hegemonic theory 21
3 Women and media 22
3.1 Arab women in written media 30
3.1.1 Newspapers 36
3.1.2 Magazines 40
3.2 Arab women in visual media 48
3.2.1 Television 48
3.2.2 The internet 53
4 Case study 58
4.1 Advertisements 58
4.1.1 Notes on advertisement 59
4.1.2 Analysis of Advertisements 63
4.2 Cinema 71
4.2.1 Synopsis of the plot 73
4.3 Analysis of the movie 74
4.4 Conclusion 78

Résumé

Pendant des siècles maintenant, les sociologues universitaires et certains medias ont ecrit sur la complexité des processus impliques dans la production médiatique. Cela a conduit à un ensemble de documents visant à comprendre les medias et la manière dont ils fonctionnent.

Grand nombre de ces ouvrages a été adresse, explicitement ou implicitement, la question de savoir comment les medias des textes venus à prendre la forme qu’ils ont et comment sont-ils devenus très puissants socialement parlant.

L’un des principaux débats de 1’étude des préoccupations des medias sont le pouvoir relatif de l’audience, ils sont puissants dans leur interprétation de la médiation ou des messages sont-ils impuissants. Le premier chapitre de ce document étudie certaines de ces œuvres.

Depuis longues années de stéréotypes et de cliches, les femmes et les medias, relation qui n’a jamais de la bonne raison. Les femmes ont été réduites a l’image de la “femme fatale” ou encore limitée a l’image de la femme au foyer, les medias de masse n’est donné pas un bon endroit a la recherche de la véritable image de la femme.

Dans le monde Arabe, cependant, les medias ont joué un rôle central, mais pas complètement examiner le role dans ces évènements. Le présent texte vise à révéler plus sur les interconnexions entre les medias Arabes et des femmes Arabes, et en retour, la (aeon dont ils sont représentés et comment ces représentations sont allées au-delà de l’affecter leur vie quotidienne. Ceci est bien illustre dans le deuxième chapitre de la thèse.

Pour voir ces images dans la pratique, le troisième chapitre du signal du papier a pour but de montrer une féministe de lecture d’un certain nombre d’images et un him dans le contexte Marocain. une étude de cas des medias Arabes.

Abstract

For centuries now, sociologists and some media scholars have written about the complex process involved in the media production. This has led to a body of literature aiming at understanding the mass media and the way they operate.

Great number of these works has addressed, explicitly or implicitly, the question of how media texts came to take the form they have and how do they become very much powerful socially speaking. One of the key debates in the study of media concerns are relative power of the audience, are they powerful in their interpretation of the mediated messages or are they powerless. The first chapter of this paper surveys some of these works.

Women-media relationship has never, and will hardly be, good due to long years of stereotypes and cliches. Women have been reduced to the image of athe femme fatalea or else limited to the image of the housewife; the mass media then is not a good place to search for the real images of women. In the Arab context, however, media have played a central, but not fully examined role in these events.

The present text seeks to reveal more about the interconnections between the Arab media and Arab women, and in turn, the ways in which they are represented and how these representations have gone beyond to affects their daily lives. This is well illustrated in the second chapter of the thesis. To see these images in practice, the third chapter signalas the paperas goal of showing a feminist reading of a number of images and a movie in the Moroccan context as a case study of the Arab media.

Chapter 1

Image of Arab women in The Eastern media

Introduction

In the last few decades, the mass media have entered every single home all over the world. They have gathered people from different places of the world and exposed them to the same images. They contributed too to peopleas attitudes and knowledge which do not necessarily represent reality faithfully. Reem Obeidat, the ex-Chairperson for UNISCO for communication technology and journalism and recently a professor of communication in Dubai College, shares the same idea.

She argues in her article aContent And Representation Of Arab Women In The Arab Media (2002) that aThe mass media influence how people formulate their knowledge, attitudes, stands and practicesa (Obeidat, 2002, p.l).

In the years following the World War II, media grew in importance, and so did media studies. Although it is widely argued that media may be harmful, one has to acknowledge its importance nowadays as a means of transforming knowledge about the world we are living in. it is even believed that it has helped in development as it is claimed in the following statement aThis model of communication has a longer history.

It emerged in the 1950s and was based on the idea that media can be used as a tool of social, economic and political developmenta (Gillespie, 2005, p.145).

According to Don R. Pember in his book Mass Media in America, the major role of the mass media is to transform messages in between people. He states that aDespite their immense sizes and diverse natures, the mass media are trying to do a fairly simple thing: transmit a message from one person to anothera (Pemper, 1977, p.6). This process takes place when one person sends a message through a channel.

The sender of the message, which is here the mass media tools, usually encodes the message by putting it into words whereas the receiver decodes the message through translating these words into thoughts and ideas. (Pemper, 1977). Hence, it is a process where the sender which is media and the receiver which is the audience are involved.

Media has been always accused of producing stereotypical images particularly about women, gender, race and sexuality. As a result of such a phenomenon, analysis have been always used to examine the nature of these clichés to investigate to what extent these stereotypes are sexist despite the fact that the mass media are something we all know and make use of.

Everybody watches television and reads newspapers and magazines and they are all loaded with images not everyone can understand. The images people are exposed to are more than just innocent ones; they can be very complicated and ideological as well.

Media then transmit messages to which the audience reacts in a direct and predictable ways. These messages are strong enough to affect the receivers as if they believe that these attitudes are magic bullets.

Instead of encouraging the audience to create new beliefs and attitudes, media contribute in perpetuating negative attitudes and stereotypes. It is also believed to operate in the interest of the dominant and powerful groups and classes, and transmit messages that will enforce their dominant ideologies; thus it acts to exclude some ideas from public debate meanwhile ensuring the limits within which other things are discussed.

Women in general have been a central theme spoken by media and this has made it a major front for many groups among which feminists and womenas rights activists. They have been used, misrepresented, and stereotyped by the mass media which does not necessarily transform their own realities.

This has been explained by Karen Ross and Carolyn Byerely in their book Women and Media: A Critical Introduction: aPopular media such as him, television, newspapers and magazines continue to frame (in every sense of the word) women within a narrow repertoire of types that bear little or no relation to how real women live their real livesa (Byerly Ross, 2006, p.30).

The situation of Arab woman is even worse concerning media because she is doubly stereotyped, by the fact that she is a woman and by patriarchy on one hand, and by traditions and norms on the other. In fact, the latter have proved to be very strong cultural specificities that cannot be ignored or changed over night; they have worked as one of the hindrances for these women to be successful in this domain and perhaps enhance their images.

In this paper, I shall argue that media in general and Eastern media in particular are gender biased, sexist and never transparent since Arab women are portrayed negatively through its different format: the written or the visual media. I shall argue too that these images have resulted in the destruction of the Arab media itself because it is not a mirror of society as it supposed to be, but rather a sexist tool.

The work examines why Arab women are still negatively portrayed in the Arab media even through their visibility in this field is growing.

By dealing with the representation of Arab women in the Arab media, the aim of the work is to contribute first in media literacy, and then in awareness rising about the existence of a misogynist media in the Arab world where a negative image of women is displayed; likewise it aims to contribute directly or indirectly in the amelioration of the Arab media. The paper also tries to give further researchers basic ideas upon which they can start other studies and hopefully come with more profound ideas.

The choice of the topic came as a result of number of facts, first that media is a controversial issue nowadays, a powerful tool that manipulates and perpetuates certain ideologies, second is that the representation of women, and precisely Arab women, through media is also an important subject that is evolving nowadays as women have began to break the stereotypes about them in media and even in real life.

The work is divided into three chapters; the first is a theoretical, dedicated to the study of media, its effects, its interpretation, and its analysis. The second is the focus of the paper where the images of women will be explored, both in the written and the visual. The third and the last chapter then is a case study in order to support the arguments stated earlier through analysis of some advertisements as examples from the written media and a movie from the visual one in the Moroccan context.

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Department of English - Master program - 2008-2009
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