A Critical Reading of Arabic Internet Memes against Patriarchal Systems

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In the wake of numerous protests in the Spring of 2011, memes have taken Arab internet culture by storm. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have mainly been studied in the Arab world for their apparent aid in mass uprisings in several countries. This article explores what these Arabic internet memes reveal about the patriarchal system. The data used in this analysis are memes available on the Internet that are in Arabic. To investigate this problem, this article discusses the form and content of several internet memes about patriarchy, the language and rhetoric used, humorous elements, and their overall messages. This article uses qualitative methods and approaches to analyze these memes. The semiotic structuralism method examines the internal elements, such as images and texts, their relationships, as well as linguistics, rhetoric, humor, and semiotics theories. From the analysis results, it was found that, on the one hand, when it comes to their form, memes are very useful in conveying issues about the patriarchal system. On the other hand, internet memes are rather difficult for everyday people to digest because they use many connotative signs and phrases that need to be observed beforehand. This is what distinguishes Arabic internet memes about patriarchal systems from other memes. The issue of patriarchy in Arabia is very diverse and complex, requiring a critical reading to understand it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of International Women's Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Internet memes
  • Patriarchal system
  • Qualitative method


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