Writing for MMW, I often get tired of seeing images, over and over, of Muslim women as oppressed, helpless, and passive. It’s always a nice change to see pieces in the media that demonstrate alternate representations, even when these can come with their own problems. Two recent articles about Muslim women working as activists and community leaders illustrate two very different ways of writing about active Muslim women.
The first article, Muslim in NYC: Muslim Women Defy Stereotypes With Activism, focuses on various Muslim women in the New York City area who are engaged in anti-war activism or programs supporting women in their community, with a focus on the activists themselves. The second, Needy Women Get Holiday Shopping Day, talks about a special shopping day for low-income women, run by the International League of Muslim Women (ILMW). The focus of this article is on the women who use the service, and very little is said about (or by) the women who planned the event.
In the first article, Muslim women are shown as very strong and active in diverse settings, and the article even acknowledges a diversity of opinions and experiences among Muslim women. The focus is on the Muslim women who are leaders within the movements and organizations profiled. As the article’s headline suggests, the women depicted in this article are nothing like the popular stereotype of Muslim women as quiet and downtrodden.