Notions of Progress: The Framing of Women in the Arab Spring
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The Arab Spring marked a new age of international political participation and support, facilitated by the wide circulation of imagery via social and mass media. Many in the West found themselves in ideological agreement with the political efforts of the protests, upholding the U.S. rhetorical tenets of democracy and freedom of speech. The visual framing of the Arab Spring in U.S. news media played a crucial role in forging this ideological consensus. My thesis focuses specifically on the visual framing of women in the Egyptian uprising by exploring the Western news portrayal of the presence of women in the Egyptian political sphere. In order to ground my assessment of Western perceptions, I conduct a content analysis of coverage of the Egyptian uprising protests from Getty and AP photography databases. My analysis is also supported and influenced by a rigorous theoretical foundation in framing theory, Orientalism, and postcolonial feminist theory.