LIFESTYLE

Forget 'Miserable, Oppressed' Stereotypes, This Is What It's Really Like Being A Muslim Woman Today

'Muslim women are individual human beings.'

08/03/2017 15:28 GMT | Updated 08/03/2017 15:30 GMT

Young Muslim women do sport, take selfies and hang out with their friends just like other women their age, but images in the media rarely reflect this.

To rectify the matter, a new set of stock images has been created this International Women’s Day to “tackle misrepresentation of Muslim women in the media and advertising”.

Photo provider Getty Images teamed up with online platform MuslimGirl.com to create the stunning set of photos, which newspapers and magazines will now be able to use.

The partnership seeks to “diversify the depiction of Muslim women online and flood the internet with positive imagery to push back against broad misconceptions of the Islamic community”.

Muslim Girl via Getty Images

The images are designed to present an accurate and authentic view of young Muslim women today. 

The collection includes photos of women with and without a hijab, each shown doing everyday activities, at home, with friends, and in the workplace.

In each photo, the women are portrayed as the protagonist to “project and normalise a modern view of Muslim women today” and their style and strength is front and centre.

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, believes the photos are an important step to changing the way the world perceives Muslim women.

“One of the ways I open up my talks is by asking the audience to search ‘Muslim women’ images on their phone browsers, which is always met with their awe at the unsettling results,” she said ahead of the release.

“I don’t want to be able to use that example anymore, and I could not be prouder to partner with Getty Images on finally taking on such an important and influential task.”

Muslim Girl via Getty Images

Writer and spoken word artist Hanan Issa - who describes herself as a “bi-racial (Welsh and Iraqi) on-the-fence Feminist Muslim”- believes it’s high time images of Muslim women in the media changed. 

“The portrayal of muslim women in media images has always depicted one idea - that of the miserable, oppressed, removed and unapproachable woman all in black,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

“The images are usually taken candidly without the privilege of being asked to face engagingly or smile for the camera. To put it simply, only telling one story.”

In contrast, she thinks the new images are “exciting in their range”.

“For me, the images portray normal, every day life for Muslim women which consists of pretty much the same as your Average Joe or Joanne i.e. relaxing with friends, getting dressed, exercise,” she said.

“The homogenisation of muslim women is a big problem. Our individual identities are constantly ignored and replaced by the narrative propagated by the stereotypical images. This new series of photographs remind the viewer that Muslim women are individual human beings. We are an incredibly diverse group who are unique, as all humans are, in every way.

“The only fact that could be used to define us collectively is our belief in God, (Allah), and Muhammad as a Prophet. These images are fun, empowering, but, above all, refreshingly ordinary.”

She added that as a Muslim woman she “doesn’t want to be singled out for [her] faith”.

“I’d rather be singled out for my achievements, my skills, and my words,” she said.

Check out more of the images below. 

  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images
  • Muslim Girl via Getty Images

HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today. 

Through blogs, features and video, we’ll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you’d like to blog on our platform around these topics, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com

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