Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Fei Xue

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Cheryl Jenkins

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Steven Venette

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Laura Stengrim

Committee Member 5 School



Since the early days of Western media, Muslim women have been portrayed in a negative way. From belly dancers to oil-rich horny sheikhs to voiceless passive wives of terrorists. This image has led the Western spectator to associate Islam and the Muslim women’s headscarf (Hijab) with backwardness, extremism, and oppression. In recent years, there has been a positive shift towards a more inclusive and authentic representation of Muslim women. This shift is the result of the post-network era which provides on-demand media outlets that challenge the dominant hegemonic production system and provide diverse and inclusive images that cater to niche groups. Movies and television series especially serve a function of cultural production, working on the shared values and cultural experiences of the viewers and audiences that consume them. Thus, movies and television series are especially powerful in reinforcing or disrupting stereotypes. Negative stereotypes contribute to society negatively by creating a sense of ‘otherness’: us versus them.

In 2021, the show We are Lady Parts first season was premiered on the American streaming service Peacock and the British streaming service Channel 4. The sitcom was written and directed by a British Muslim woman named Nida Manzoor who created the show around an all-Muslim female Punk band. The show was largely praised by critica for providing positive and representative images of Muslim women.

Using Stuart Hall’s representation theory, the researcher applied a textual analysis on the show’s first season to examine how these characters navigate and balance their multicultural and intersectional identities with their Islamic faith. The analysis generated three themes: agency, religiosity, and resistance. The research provided unique data for the representations of Muslim women and how they embrace their agency and navigate through issues of religiosity regarding their Islamic faith, and resisting their community’s norms and expectations that doesn’t fit their identities. Using satire and profanity in their music’s lyrics, the band members explicitly showcase their differences, uniqueness, and acceptance of the intersectionality of their identities as Punk singing Muslim women.