Al Arabiya TV is Promoting a Bad Image of Women in the Media

Women are always secretaries and men are businessmen and bosses, women are always playing assistance not managerial roles. Such ads enforce a wrong stereotypic image of women as underachievers who can’t be in the lead, says Iqbal Tamimi.

The failure of the advertising and promotional campaigns in most Arab media projects is evident and too many to count. Today Sunday morning I was reading an article of research by Meryl Aldridge that discusses masculinity and the emotional culture in Journalism just before my break at 10:00 am, where I usually take a break and treat myself to some Arabic TV news before going back to my research. I tuned to AlArabiya TV today, but I was shocked to watch its new promotional campaign that is supposed to support its image, by sharing its new business addition of technology. In this incident AlArabiya was promoting its new policy of disseminating the news by the phone. This time AlArabiya shot itself in the foot by promoting itself as a media organisation that looks down on women and as ideas bankrupt media organisation that needs another successful company to create and promote for it its promotions.




The promo shows a business man coming to his office; he enters the main door in a hurry where his female secretary is setting at a big sterile desk free of any signs of work, no files or documents to be seen but only a big flat computer screen where she is preoccupied with a cards game online. The boss rushes towards the door of his office while asking her ‘what’s the news’ and continues in his way to his chair, she presses the button on the phone between their two offices and reads from its screen the news; which reflects positively on the face of the boss who seemed impressed with his assistance’s knowledge and professionalism, while she goes back to playing cards.

This video promo conveys a number of messages. Some of which are the following: AlArabiya do not have creative enough employees working on its own promotional campaigns. Women are always secretaries and men are businessmen and bosses, women are always playing assistance not managerial roles. Such ads enforce a wrong stereotypic image of women as underachievers who can’t be in the lead. This is a totally and utterly male dominated perspective degrading to all hard working women. The woman in AlArabiya promo is unethical, morally corrupt and can’t be trusted since she is playing cards instead of doing what she was employed and paid for. The working woman from AlArabiya perspective is silly immature creature that has no interest when she has access to technologies such as the Internet but to find refuge in boring online card games. The woman from AlArabiya point of view is manipulative even when she is intelligent enough or ‘beautiful’ enough to secure a job, she uses her intelligence in an unethical manner by wasting the time at work. The woman in AlArabiya promo do not know how to find an alternative such as researching or compiling data that benefits her company but she knows how to play cards.

In general AlArabiya sees women unworthy of employment. If this is the way it is empowering women or promoting itself, well done. It has just signed its own execution since women make 50% of its viewership, 50% of its staff, and 50% of its contributors to its online website, and who knows what percentage of women put their money and trust in AlArabiya’s advertising campaigns. I guess it is about time a woman runs this media machines since the woman who has been able to con her boss might as well con the audience and convince them that this male dominated mentality is for their own good.

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