Gendered images of us and them in anti-Islamic Facebook groups
C-REX scholar Katrine Fangen has published an article on gendered imagery in Norwegian anti-Islamic Facebook groups. She highlights the widespread use of gendered stereotypes among participants in these groups, and discusses them through the theoretical lens of 'femonationalism' and right-wing populism.
Since the turn of the century, anti-Islamic sentiments have become increasingly present in public debate. Scholars conducting research on the far right have even warned that the extreme has become mainstream. A key aspect of this situation is the prominence of gender images in the construction of ‘us and them’ distinctions in arguments against Muslims and Islam. This article examines two anti-Islamic Facebook groups. The main arguments of participants in these groups are that Norwegian women are in need of protection from dangerous Muslim men, and that Muslim women are oppressed but there is no need to feel sorry for them as they have chosen this subordinate position themselves. Further, group members not only make use of the well-known stereotypes of dangerous Muslim men and Muslim women as victims, but do so in explicitly sexist language, so that it is difficult to see them as unequivocal proponents of gender equality. Humour, emotions and jargon contribute to building a group atmosphere of xenophobia. The article analyses the group discussions in the light of theories and concepts of ‘femonationalism’ and right-wing populism.