The representation of women in Egyptian newspapers during the 2011 – 2014 uprisings in Egypt
Subject Categories::P500 Journalism
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AbstractThe Arab Spring, which swept across North Africa and parts of the Middle East in 2011 was viewed by many observers, commentators and activists in the West and throughout the region as a beacon of hope. The world rejoiced that the autocratic regimes of leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia were toppled, and it was hoped that these regimes would be replaced by fair and democratic governments. Unfortunately, the post-revolutionary reality has not met the expectations of many ordinary people. Instead, Libya and Syria have descended into factional clashes between local militias and civil war respectively. In Egypt, the progress that women activists and campaigners were achieving with respect to improving the rights and representation of women across society has regressed. Consequently, the social position of women has become marginalised in the face of masculine institutions such as the Egyptian military. In order to assess the impact that gender discourses held within Egyptian society, this research project has analysed articles from two of the most popular newspapers in the country – Al Ahram and Al-Masry Al-Youm. Specifically, the study assesses how both these papers have reported incidents featuring prominent protests and campaigns by women in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution and within the context of dominant patriarchal discourses and discursive practices. I argue that these discourses served to normalise an inferior position for women in society. Using critical discourse analysis (CDA) and qualitative interviews involving women who have first-hand experiences of the workings of newspapers in Egypt, this study discovers that there are similarities and deviations in the way that language is used in articles that feature campaigns and protests by women: in particular, the court case pertaining to Samira Ibrahim and the virginity test case; the presidential bid by Bothaina Kamel; and the campaign by women’s groups to allow female recruitment by the Egyptian military. This study finds that some language in the newspapers does counter hegemonic masculinity. I argue in this study that Egyptian newspapers are responsible for disseminating an ideological discourse that serves to support the patriarchal institutions of the State. Through the lens of hegemonic masculinity, it finds that the dominance and normalising of the male voice within the selected Egyptian newspapers, serves to reinforce certain preferences within social opinion through discursive practices. The study ascertains that Egyptian newspapers offer an example of institutionalised hegemonic masculinity which strives systematically to silence women despite valiant attempts by certain women activists to interrogate both the workings and institutions of hegemonic masculinity by way of their voice. By analysing the voices of Egyptian women as captured in Western sources and through the lens of Islamic Feminism, this study also demonstrates how women contest dominant discourses in mainstream Egyptian newspapers.
CitationAl-Nuaimi, N. (2020) 'The Representation of Women in Egyptian Newspapers During the 2011 – 2014 Uprisings in Egypt'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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