Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising

Citation:

Szanto, Edith. 2016. “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 306–22.

Author: Edith Szanto

Abstract:

During the onslaught of the Islamic caliphate on Kobanî, Syria, media outlets across the globe broadcast pictures of brave and often unveiled Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a quintessentially male force of destruction. The images of women fighting Islamist male aggressors aroused outrage, admiration, and pity among observers. But had all Kurdish fighters been male or had women fought for ISIS, viewers might have reacted differently. To examine some of the most widely disseminated gendered pictures and videos of the Syrian uprising in the media, this article draws on Mohja Kahf’s three categories, which typify how Muslim women, Arab women, or both are perceived by the Anglophone reading and viewing public: the first is victims; the second, escapees; and the third, pawns of patriarchy and male power. While this typology helps in examining gendered images of the Syrian uprising, it also obscures the socioeconomic realities on the ground.

Keywords: female fighters, media, Syrian uprising

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2016

© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.