in U.S. Popular Culture:
Sex and Stereotype
MARSHA J. HAMILTON
Images of Middle Eastern women can be found in every form of popular culture in the U.S. including literature, art, music, fashion, cartoons, advertisements, television, and film. Textbooks, educational and documentary films, and news all of which are heavily influenced by popular culture, reinforce the same few images. The stereotype of Arabs as billionaires, belly dancers, and bombers has been documented by Jack Shaheen in The TV Arab. * The images of Middle Eastern peoples found in contemporary popular culture are not new. Most would be familiar to late Victorian audiences, some date back to colonial times, and a few have their origins in the economic, political, and religious conflict known as the Crusades.
A stereotype is an image, trait, or mode of behavior that is inappropriately applied to all individuals who share a common religion, sex, ethnic origin, geographic location, political party, socio-economic bracket, or other discernible factor that may set them apart from others. One hallmark of a stereotype is its persistence over time. An event or character can enter popular awareness, and through retelling and exaggeration, transform into an image that comes to represent millions of individuals for dozens or hundreds of years.____________________