A surprisingly positive analysis of the way Muslim women have been portrayed by Marie Claire magazine. Freelance journalist Arwa Aburawa took upon herself the unenviable task of reading through 10 years—I’ll say that again, 10 YEARS—of the UK version of Marie Claire. To me, that sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, but Aburawa seems to have take it in stride. She found that although most of the articles focused on Muslim women living in developing countries, she found that they didn’t always portray the women as victims. From Aburawa:
My research found that Muslim women were covered in around 44% of all the magazines I searched… I found that exactly half portrayed Muslim women as victims, while the other half showed them as independent, empowered women. This may seem like a mixed outcome, but the fact that half of the article showed Muslim women as non-victims is a pretty unexpected result. What’s more, the veil was barely mentioned in articles as oppressive (the only two cases were in Afghanistan, so they may even be justified) and Islam was rarely mentioned as imposed or oppressive… In fact, most of the articles followed the typical “Triumph over Tragedy” trajectory popular in women’s magazines, which go into painful detail about how women are oppressed and then conclude that, by some miracle, a woman has stepped up to challenge this oppression and will emerge triumphant.
Aburawa (rightly) concludes that Marie Claire is not exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to covering Muslim women, or any women for that matter, but her findings are still an encouraging sign at a time where American Muslims are under attack. To learn more about Aburawa’s Marie Claire breakdown, you can read the whole thing here.