The soap operas and advertisements on Arab television channels mostly portray a negative image of Arab women, according to Dr Ashraf Galal, Associate professor of Mass Communications at Qatar University.
He was speaking at a conference titled “East and West — women in media’s eye” at the Education City yesterday. The event was jointly organised by the Northwestern University in Qatar and Reset Dialogues on Civilisations, an international cultural foundation based in Rome.
Presenting a recent study focusing on the image of women as portrayed in Arab television channels, dramas and advertisements, Galal said more than 78 percent of the images were found to be negative.
The usage of women’s bodies as sexual commodities or a vehicle of sexual arousal was found to be the main negative image in the Arab media, followed by an image of women who are in some way immoral.
Other negative images included the portrayal of women as being illiterate, of limited intellectual capacity, inexperienced, materialistic, opportunistic, weak or dependent.
“Arab woman is defined today by her looks and appearances and not by her humanitarian characteristics, skills or qualifications. When it comes to advertising, it is a women’s world: her sexuality is exploited to sell products. She appears in movies, television serials and commercials as an object of physical desire,” said Galal.
“In these depictions, the woman’s intellectual capacity and sense of morals and values are not just irrelevant, but often portrayed as unattractive or unappealing,” he added. The study that analysed 1,140 scenes from Arabic TV productions and 300 advertisements found that that 1,208 of the samples presented a negative image of women, while only 232 samples presented a positive image. The speaker urged Arab states to to promote more realistic portrayal of women in the media.
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