This study provides a preliminary report of veil/hijab representation in the modern social media tools of communication; internet memes and GIFs. It bridges a gap in visual communication research by conducting an integrative -textual and visual- framing analysis of 400 memes and GIFs that used the hashtag #Hijab, to unravel the frames and stereotypes of veiled women in such online visuals. Hijabi Muslim women have been visually represented in media in overgeneralized stereotyped ways, being shown as either oppressed and subservient to others with no individual opinions, or as liberated progressives who resist western hegemony (Khan & Zahra, 2015). The research timeframe comes right after the two terrorist attacks on Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that occurred on 15 March 2019, where an extremist Australian gunman killed 50 people and injured another 50 in the first ever livestreamed shooting video on Facebook (BBC, 2019). Utilizing a visual analysis dual-modality technique, of both textual and visual elements, and through conducting a quantitative content analysis of the most popular, viral, and retweeted hijab memes and GIFs in March 2019, the study contributes to the growing literature of memes and GIFs, and their representation of Muslim women and their body coverage "hijab". It, therefore, allows for a deeper understanding of internet memes and GIF' usage, the frames they used in portraying hijab, and their stereotypical effects on the image of contemporary veil and veiled women on digital media, specifically social media platforms. The study codes a sample of 200 internet memes and 200 GIFs based on 9 coding variables to analyze both textual and visual elements. Findings highlight how veil/hijab is represented in modern digital communication tools and suggest that, opposite to negative stereotypes of Muslim women in traditional media, memes and GIFs support hijab and depict veiled Muslim women as happy and respected females. The study also shows that internet memes and GIFs are not the same thing and should be examined accordingly.
Journalism & Mass Communication Department
MA in Journalism & Mass Communication
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(2019).Textual and Visual Representation of Hijab in Internet Memes and GIFs [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Ibrahim, Omneya M. Nagib. Textual and Visual Representation of Hijab in Internet Memes and GIFs. 2019. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.