Hatred of the Hijab: Islamophobia and Muslim Women in America

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Florida Southern College
In this paper, I investigate the phenomenon of Islamophobia in the United States, specifically how it affects Muslim women. Many scholars have researched Islamophobic speech using stereotypes of Muslim men, but research on stereotypes of Muslim women is lacking. Thus, I address the following question: Does a major terrorist attack cause a rise in Islamophobic rhetoric, and does this vary by perpetrator gender? I create a typology of Islamophobic rhetoric that outlines three different types: Muslim men are terrorists, Muslim women are oppressed, and Muslims cannot assimilate. I hypothesize that a major terrorist attack would cause an increase in Islamophobic rhetoric coming from elites. To investigate this, I chose five terrorist attacks to research in depth, then I used Congressional records to understand elite rhetoric after these attacks, taking into account perpetrator identity and using the three types of Islamophobia I outline. Muslim women are not often discussed or included in discussions, whereas Muslim men are discussed, albeit often in a negative light. I found that Muslim men are terrorists and Muslims cannot assimilate Islamophobia are evident in elite rhetoric after terrorist attacks, but Muslim women are oppressed Islamophobia is not often overtly present.
Honors Thesis Spring 2021
Islamophobia, Ethnic relations, Hijab (Islamic clothing), Muslim women -- Clothing, Terrorism, Terrorism in mass media