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A New-Look for Muslim Women in the Canadian Media: CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie

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The coverage of Muslim women in Western media has long been using Orientalist stereotypes and portrayals of Muslims as outsiders. Even though racist stereotypes exist in Canada, Canadian legislation and the media are attempting to portray an idealistic form of multiculturalism. Recently, Canadian mainstream media have refrained from stereotypical representations of Muslims, especially women, and shifted toward non-Orientalist representations. CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie (LMP), a satirical Canadian comedy sitcom, is one of the first such instances. LMP criticizes and refutes negative stereotypes, portraying Muslims as ordinary Canadians with problems and lifestyles that are shared across Canada. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis of the first season's eight episodes investigates how Muslim women have been portrayed in LMP, drawing on Luhmann's (1987) theory on representation of society, Millar's (1793) observations about women in society, Hall's (1997) Other, Said's (1978) Orientalism, Kristeva's (1991) theories on foreigners, and Bhabha's (1994) Third Space. Findings demonstrate that Muslim women on CBC are not oppressed or stereotyped; instead, they participate normally in Canadian culture and the workplace and are not considered outsiders. Muslim women in Canada exist in Third Spaces that allow Canadian and Islamic practices to merge, resulting in a uniquely Canadian artifact like LMP.


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