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“Surviving” to Thriving: Muslim Women On-Screen Test

Ahead of Muslim Women’s Day on March 27, 2022, the coalition of Muslim Casting, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Pillars Fund released an on-screen representation test to evaluate portrayals of Muslim women on-screen and address harmful stereotypes in media.

Still of Iman Vellani in "Ms Marvel" next to still from "We are Lady Parts"
"We are starting to see more nuanced portrayals of Muslim women on screen and would like to keep this momentum going by using the test to elevate the stories that are getting it right, and calling out those who are still getting it wrong."
Serena Rasoul
Founder, Muslim Casting

The test provides recommendations on how a Muslim woman can have varied approaches to her identity, where she is given the space to question parts of herself but not fall into Western tropes of oppression. It also explores the intersectionality and diversity of Muslim women that exist from all races, abilities and sexual orientations. And lastly, the test demonstrates how a Muslim woman can be portrayed expressing joy, often an act of resistance for so may underrepresented groups.

The test also provides resources for writers and creators to use as guides to craft more inclusive stories and portrayals of Muslim women, as well as databases on where to find Muslim actors, artists and writers.

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In addition to the test, available on the Geena Davis Institute on Gender website (link below), the collective released an interactive site called for filmmakers, creative executives, producers and audiences to test their portrayals of these women on popular content. In five easy steps, the test indicates harmful portrayals, while providing ideas for more nuanced portrayals.

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Our mission has always been to not only achieve gender equity for all types of female characters but to ensure that the portrayal of Muslim women is authentic and not fraught with harmful stereotypes and tropes. We want to make sure that Muslim girls can see unique and inspiring female characters that demonstrate the realm of possibilities for them in society and in their lives.
Madeline di Nonno
CEO of the Geena Davis Institute

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