This Woman Is Challenging Stereotypes of Muslim Women With These Powerful Photos
These pictures speak louder than a thousand stereotypes.
Try running a Google image search for “Muslim woman” and your feed will be dominated by the same kind of picture, presenting a narrow vision of what it means to be a Muslim woman in the world today.
That's why 24-year-old Amina Al-Khatahtbah is working to paint a truer picture. The founder of MuslimGirl.com, a pioneering online magazine for millennial Muslim women, has teamed up with Getty Images to challenge these one-dimensional representations through the power of photography.
Frustrated with the way Muslim women are presented in the stock images that media outlets rely on, she decided to take matters into her own hands and create positive images of modern Muslim women.
“You know how the only stock images we ever see of Muslim women online, in blogs, and in advertisements are the same stereotypical depiction?” she wrote on MuslimGirl.com. “They are usually hidden behind veils, wearing black clothes, not really doing much besides being… stereotypically Muslim.”
The images she has just launched are worlds apart from these limited representations. They depict young Muslim women from diverse backgrounds simply getting on with their lives and having a good time, like the rest of their generation.
Some are wearing the hijab, others are not, and the collection as a whole is intended to display the diversity of Muslim women.
“It was entirely shot by a millennial Muslim woman photographer, Jenna Masoud, and all of the models are actually Muslim women being their authentic selves! Nobody is playing dress up, nobody is acting, and some of them are even Jenna’s friends,” said Al-Khatahtbah.
“Visual literacy is so prolific with today’s generation, and photos are now absorbed and processed by culture with unprecedented immediacy," said Pam Grossman, Director of Visual Trends at Getty Images. "Because of this, positive imagery can have a tremendous impact by fighting stereotypes, celebrating diversity, and making communities feel empowered and represented in society."
As a Global Citizen of America, Al-Khatahtbah told us why she is determined to challenge damaging misconceptions about Muslim women.
"I started Muslim Girl when I was a high school senior out of frustration for the way that Muslim women’s voices were being excluded from the conversation, even though the conversation centered on us for the war on terror.” she said.
“A lot of these discussions, especially right after 9/11, were about going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and there were so many conversations about women needing to be liberated, you know, [from] these backwards brown men who were oppressing women, as if we don’t have a voice and can’t speak for ourselves.”
Whether laughing with friends, working out, or hard at work, the women in these photos look pretty liberated already. MuslimGirl.com is already a powerful platform offering Muslim women the chance to speak for themselves — this new collection of fun, colourful and empowering photos is an opportunity to extend the conversation by letting pictures do the talking.