Online Newspapers Portrayal of Arab Female Athletes in Rio 2016 Olympics: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis


Rio 2016 Olympics witnessed an unprecedented increased participation of Arab female athletes, many of whom unconventionally competed in games that are stereotypically categorized as male-appropriate/dominated. This reflects an ideological change in the substantive structure of sport as a male site, marking a new era for women’s empowerment in the Arab world. The current study explores the interplay of multiple and interacting semiotic modes used in selected national and international online newspapers covering Arab female athletes in 2016 Olympics. It compares/contrasts how Arab and Western ideologies representing the achievement of these athletes are mediated through various modes. The study is grounded in the methodological framework of Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) (Machin and Mayr 2012). It starts with the hypothesis that MCDA contributes to our understanding of how mediated verbal and visual messages work together to indicate a shift in the construction of Arab female athletic identity.


Rasha Mohammad Saeed, Mostafa



athleticism, gender ideology, identity, media discourse, multimodality, Rio 2016 Olympics