Source: Washington Post
By Rochelle Terman
Are Muslims inherently misogynist? Many Americans seem to think so. Public opinion data reveal anxiety about whether Islam is compatible with Western values. A big part of that unease comes from the perception that Muslim societies are sexist and patriarchal. Earlier this year, liberal comedian Bill Maher called it a “fantasy” to assume Muslim refugees would be able to integrate into Western countries because they “come from very misogynistic cultures.”
To be sure, few people would deny that there’s sexism and gender discrimination in many Muslim societies.
But American public opinion about Muslim women’s rights may come in part from an imbalance in media portrayals. In a forthcoming study, I show that U.S. media outlets portray Muslim society as distinctly sexist and misogynist, even compared to similar non-Muslim countries with poor women’s rights records. That may feed negative stereotypes about Islam — which affects public attitudes and public policy.