Visible and invisible: An audience study of Muslim and non-Muslim reactions to orientalist representations in I Dream of Jeannie | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-9411
  • E-ISSN: 1751-942X



Most Muslims lay the blame for the perpetuation of societal prejudice against Islam and Muslims at the feet of the media. Media scholars regularly confirm that negative stereotypes prevail in contemporary western media. Yet there are differences between media representation and the effects on actual people’s attitudes. Empirical research is needed to find out if negative media stereotypes of Muslims, Arabs and Islam are actually linked to widespread societal Islamophobia. This article traces audience reactions to a 1960s U.S. sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie, a show replete with ‘orientalist’ representations of Arabs and genies linked to the collection of traditional stories called The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights. The main research finding is that while a variety of responses were uncovered, a consistent difference between non-Muslim and Muslim reactions became apparent: only Muslims noticed orientalist stereotyping the show. I conclude that if North American society is to move beyond Islamophobia and forward to building bridges and integrating Muslims without discrimination into wider society, this cannot be done where non-Muslims do not see negative media stereotypes about Muslims.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error