Canadian and US mass media representation of Iranian women and their activities in social movements

Nezhadhossein, Elahe (2020) Canadian and US mass media representation of Iranian women and their activities in social movements. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Media can display a stereotypical image of women to represent, produce, or reinforce an inequality system. In Western mass media, images of Iranian women as women of a Muslim, Middle Eastern country may not provide a comprehensive view of these women. To understand the dominant discourses in the US and Canada’s mass media, my research asks: How are Iranian women represented in US and Canadian media, and have there been any changes in this representation during the years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and, more specifically, after 2001? Have women’s activities in social movements in Iran, specifically since 2009, had any effects on their representations in Canadian and US media? Through a critical discourse analysis of four widely circulated national newspapers in Canada and the US, and using theories of hegemony and counter-hegemony, social movements and power of networks, and intersectionality, my research shows that women in Iran have gained attention from the Canadian and US mass media by means of their participation in street protests. The results show that media images of women and their activities since 2009 include more positive representations and are different, in the main, from the older images of women during the years immediately after the Islamic Revolution or stereotypical images of Middle Eastern women as victims of an oppressive Islamic system. In general, when women’s activities and their resistance take forms that are familiar to US and Canadian mass media, they receive greater visibility. The results also show that overall representations of Iranian women in the media vary more so with the orientation of newspapers than media geographies. However, in some respects, such as the images in which the hijab is featured, the dominant discourse has not changed; the hijab is represented as oppressive and negative in both time-periods. The focus of the newspapers remain on the hijab law in both time-periods, and women’s clothes are represented as mainly oppressive.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 14845
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Canadian Mass Media, American Mass Media, Iranian Women, Social Movements
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: September 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mass media--Canada; Mass media--United States; Women, Iranian; Social movements

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