© 2016

Stereotypes and Self-Representations of Women with a Muslim Background

The Stigma of Being Oppressed

  • Makes a significant contribution to the debate surrounding Islam, patriarchy and the role of women

  • Demonstrates the impact of such controversies on women of Muslim origin

  • Resists narratives of victimization to show how Muslim women are attempting to subvert stereotypes


Part of the Citizenship, Gender and Diversity book series (FEMCIT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 1-38
  3. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 39-79
  4. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 119-157
  5. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 235-256
  6. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 257-292
  7. Margaretha A. van Es
    Pages 293-302
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 303-317

About this book


This book explores how stereotypes of “oppressed Muslim women” feed into the self-representations of women with a Muslim background. The focus is on women active in, and speaking on behalf of, a wide variety of minority self-organisations in the Netherlands and Norway between 1975 and 2010. The author reveals how these women have internalised and appropriated particular stereotypes, and also developed counter-stereotypes about majority Dutch or Norwegian women. She demonstrates, above all, how they have tried time and again to change popular perceptions by providing alternative images of themselves and of Islam, paying particular attention to their attempts to gain access to media debates. Her central argument is that their efforts to undermine stereotypes can be understood as an assertion of belonging in Dutch and Norwegian society and, in the case of women committed to Islam, as a demand for their religion to be accepted. This innovative work provides a “history from below” that makes a valuable contribution to scholarly debates about citizenship as a practice of inclusion and exclusion. Providing new insights into the dynamics between stereotyping and self-representation, it will appeal to scholars of gender, religion, media, and cultural diversity.


Islamophobia Asymmetrical power relations Ethnic minorities Contemporary women’s movements Self-organisation Religion

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

About the authors

Margaretha A. van Es is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She is a social historian specialising in inter-ethnic relations and perceptions, gender, media and religion.

Bibliographic information