Stupid Paki Loving Bitch: The Politics of Online Islamophobia and Misogyny

  • Katy Sian
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


In 2013 feminist writer Caroline Criado-Perez found herself subjected to numerous rape threats following her Twitter campaign calling for Jane Austen to appear as the new face on the £10 bank note. A string of female MPs have also experienced online abuse, death threats and harassment. Furthermore, many celebrity figures and those in the public eye have also complained of sustained online harassment (Jane 2014: 558–570). Cases of women as victims of hate continue to escalate in the unregulated online world, whose sexism and misogyny appears to know no bounds. Symbolic and systemic violence targeted towards women is not new; patriarchy is a staple feature of western societies. However, with the rise of the Internet and new digital technologies, an environment of hate and vulnerability has flourished whereby violence towards women (and minority groups) is increasingly made possible, without restrictions and without constraints. Gendered hatred continues to spiral in cyberspace as it has come to represent a discursive stage in which the distribution, performance and displaying of graphic sexual violence are routine practice (ibid.: 558). Online hate has thus become normalised as media systems continue to facilitate the monitoring, stalking and surveillance of individuals (Atkinson 2014: 164). These shifts have worked to feed a (male) predatory relationship with women, whereby many female celebrities have often been targeted because they have gained a few pounds or lost a few pounds (ibid.). The contemporary mediascape has as such given rise to a culture of voyeurism, which continues to prop up hetero, white and hyper-masculine cultural norms that subjugate females (and those deemed ‘other’). Subsequently, more and more individuals are increasingly finding themselves at greater risk of online stalking, bullying, hate and harassment (ibid.).


  1. Allen, C. (2010). Islamophobia. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  2. Ameli, S., & Merali, A. (2015). Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, R. (2014). Stalking and Harassment. In R. Atkinson (Ed.), Shades of Deviance: A Primer on Crime, Deviance and Social Harm (pp. 162–165). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Awan, I. (2014). Islamophobia and Twitter: A Typology of Online Hate Against Muslims on Social Media. Policy & Internet, 6(2), 133–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Awan, I. (2016). Cyber Islamophobia and Internet Hate Crime. In I. Awan (Ed.), Islamophobia in Cyberspace: Hate Crimes Go Viral (pp. 17–22). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Awan, I., & Blackmore, B. (2012). Policing Cyber Hate, Cyber Threats and Cyber Terrorism. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  7. Banks, J. (2010). Regulating Hate Speech Online. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 24(3), 233–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhattacharyya, G. (2008). Dangerous Brown Men and the War on Terror. In S. Sayyid & A. Vakil (Eds.), Thinking Thru’ Islamophobia: A Symposium. CERS e-Working Paper, no. 12. Leeds University, pp. 18–21.Google Scholar
  9. Brah, A. (2005). Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities; Hybridity and Its Discontents: Politics, Science, Culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Chao, E. (2014). The-Truth-About-Islam.Com: Ordinary Theories of Racism and Cyber Islamophobia. Critical Sociology, 41, 1–19.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, S. (1992). The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power. In S. Hall & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of Modernity (pp. 275–331). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  12. Heidensohn, F. (1985). Women and Crime. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Herscovitz, E. (1999). Secure Virtual Private Networks: The Future of Data Communications. International Journal of Network Management, 9, 213–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horsti, K. (2016). Digital Islamophobia: The Swedish Woman as a Figure of Pure and Dangerous Whiteness. New Media and Society. (Available as Online First).
  15. Jane, E. (2014). Back to the Kitchen, Cunt’: Speaking the Unspeakable About Online Misogyny. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 28(4), 558–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pittaro, M. (2007). Cyber Stalking: An Analysis of Online Harassment and Intimidation. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 1(2), 180–197.Google Scholar
  17. Poole, E. (2009). Reporting Islam, Media Representations of British Muslims. London: I. B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  18. Puar, J. (2008). The Turban Is not a Hat: Queer Diaspora and Practices of Profiling. Sikh Formations, 4(1), 47–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rana, J. (2011). Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ren, J., & Wu, J. (2010). Survey on Anonymous Communications in Computer Networks. Computer Communications, 33(4), 420–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Richardson, J. E. (2004). (Mis)Representing Islam: The Racism and Rhetoric of British Broadsheet Newspapers. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. (1997). Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All: Report of the Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. London: Runnymede Trust.Google Scholar
  23. Said, E. (1997). Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. London: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  24. Salecl, R. (1994). The Crisis of Identity and the Struggle for New Hegemony in the Former Yugoslavia. In E. Laclau (Ed.), The Making of Political Identity (pp. 205–232). London: Verso.Google Scholar
  25. Sayyid, S. (2010). Out of the Devil’s Dictionary. In S. Sayyid & A. Vakil (Eds.), Thinking Through Islamophobia (pp. 5–18). London: Hurst and Company.Google Scholar
  26. Sayyid, S. (2014). A Measure of Islamophobia. Islamophobia Studies Journal, 2(1), 10–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sian, K. P. (2011). ‘Forced’ Conversions in the British Sikh Diaspora. South Asian Popular Culture, 9(2), 115–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sian, K. P. (2013). Unsettling Sikh and Muslim Conflict: Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions and Postcolonial Formations. Lanham: Lexington.Google Scholar
  29. Sian, K. P., Sayyid, S., & Law, I. (2013). Racism, Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Spivak, G. (1988). Can the Subaltern Speak? In C. Nelson & L. Grossberg (Eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  31. Tyrer, D. (2013). The Politics of Islamophobia: Race, Power and Fantasy. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ware, V. (1996). Island Racism: Gender, Place, and White Power. Feminist Review, 54, 65–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weaver, S. (2012). A Rhetorical Discourse Analysis of Online Anti-Muslim and Anti-Semitic Jokes. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(3), 483–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zizek, S. (2011, August 8). ‘A Vile Logic to Anders Breivik’s Choice of Target’ Opinion: The Guardian Online. Retrieved June 2017, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katy Sian
    • 1
  1. 1.University of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations