“Women Make the News” – UNESCO and Al Jazeera International Women’s Day Event in Doha

By on Mar 8, 2017 in Gender in the Media, Women in the Middle East | 0 comments

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, I spoke at a special UNESCO and Al Jazeera Media Network event on Arab women’s representation in media. My speech and presentation discussed how women are portrayed generally in fiction and news media globally, and also delved into the cultural taboo that prevents many Qatari women from appearing in published visual media here (a topic I wrote about for Chime for Change in 2013). I had the pleasure of speaking alongside Dima Khatib (managing director of AJ+), Reem Al Harmi (a Qatari columnist), Sarah Al Derham (artist and teaching assistant at the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University; also, one of my former students!), Latifa Al Darwish (cartoonist, filmmaker, and also one of my former students!), Asma Al Hamadi (Al Jazeera presenter) and Hanan Al Yafi (Monitoring and Advocacy Manager at the Doha Centre for Media Freedom). Here are...

Hollywood’s Woman Problem in Action Films

By on Jun 24, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 2 comments

UPDATE: This post also appeared on Femusings.org on Sept. 23, 2013. In my previous post, I explained how serial killer shows provide catharsis for viewers. They are a safe way for fans to release their pent-up aggression. The same goes for Hollywood action films. Everyone wants to feel like a badass once in a while, and for most people the only way they can is by zoning out in front of a big screen and losing themselves in a spy or gangster shoot ‘em up film. But here’s a little known fact: it’s not just men watching these flicks. Women love action films, too. It’s a lie that we would rather watch rom-coms instead. At least, I know I certainly did when I was growing up. I devoured films like the Batman franchise, Indiana Jones and Star Wars up until college when my interest began to wane. Guess why. Because it was then when I finally realized these films weren’t being made for me...