The Representation of Muslim Women in Non-Islamic Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis Study on Guardian


MA in TEFL, Shiraz University, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics


Providing analytical and social tools, critical discourse analysis (henceforth
CDA) can be used to unravel the hidden ideologiesas well as biases in the webs
of discursive practices involved in texts. In this paper, the van Leeuwen’s (1996)
CDA framework is used to analyze an article from a British broadsheet newspaper,
the Guardian. To have a more detailed analysis, eleven elements are chosen from
the comprehensive framework of van Leeuwen. The focus of the study is on
the representation of Muslim women in non-Islamic media, and the reason for
which this British newspaper is used is that usually European countries have been
accused of undemocratic behavior towards other ethnics and nationalities, and
the reflection of this behavior is more observable in their media. Besides Muslim
women, the representation of three other social actors has been analyzed so that
a more comprehensive assessment can be achieved. The findings of this study
indicate that Muslim women are depicted as active actors of Muslim community,
remarkably determined in their beliefs, and as independent individuals who are
in search of the resurrection of women’s identity. Although the Guardian author’s
total depiction of Muslim women is a positive one, she finally concludes that the
prevalence of the lack of critical thinking among them is the clearest drawback of
all Muslim women. This last statement shows that although western media by the
means of strategic tools try to depict minorities positively, in adopting such strategies
they are not completely neutral.