Media challengers are beginning to influence the roles of women in the public sphere throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Female representation within the public sphere has been extremely disproportional, which may be related to gender roles throughout the GCC.

However, given the increasing presence of social media, gender roles have been questioned, and in some cases, are changing due to activism. The use of social media allows many people, particularly women, to speak their minds regarding their gender roles. This growing media presence has mobilized women to challenge the government, and unite to create change.

States within the GCC have “aim[ed] to establish the public sphere’s foundations, delineate its boundaries, and monitor its content both regarding its inward-facing and outward-facing news coverage” (see link below). This state control of the public sphere dangerously impedes upon the voices of women. Simple feminist GCC searches have yielded few results, virtually no photographs, and primarily dense scholarly articles that were written outside of GCC states. 

The unity between women has been possible due to the increase of social media. In recent events, GCC society has seen an increase in women resisting and condemning patriarchy and misogyny. In addition to this newfound resistance produced by social media, women have also grown to resist gender norms, and promoting their ability to speak out, fighting gender violence and sexual harassment. This speaks directly against the patriarchal norms of GCC society, in which women are expected to be quiet and submissive to men.

Ultimately, the simultaneous presence of widespread social media and female education/entrance to the workforce has created a media uprising of Arab women embracing activism.

Personally, I would like to look at the statistics between feminist uprisings within the GCC (and perhaps note a presence of censorship), and compare that to changes/increases in female education and female presence within the workforce.

I would also like to look at male roles within the household at the same time – looking at men becoming “stay at home dads”, which is somewhat radical even in the western world.

Looking at the radical switch from women being “quiet” and “submissive” within a patriarchal society to uprising against government and calling out their abusers, pushing for change, Social media must have some presence in its ability to organize women. I would also like to investigate government control of the media – how do women work around censorship? is there censorship? why would the government want to suppress women?


One Response to “Effects of Media Challengers on Gender Roles within the Gulf Cooperation Council”

  1.   Ed Webb said:

    There are some potentially productive questions here. In the context of this course, it would probably be particularly helpful to try to investigate interactions between mass and social media. Have women been able to use social media to affect coverage in mass media of issues that matter to them, for example? Do patterns of censorship in social media match those in mass media? If they differ, is this best explained by the nature of the different media themselves (technologically and socially) or by other factors such as women’s status changing over time?

    Some understanding of how women and issues of concern to them have been framed in mass media over the past few decades should help understand what differences the emergence of social media over the past roughly 15 years has or has not made. It will also be important to understand differences among the GCC states, for all that there are undoubted commonalities.

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