Media and Intervention: Examining Representations of Afghan Women in The New York Times

Azeta Hatef*, Rose Luqiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump vowed to bring troops home from Afghanistan. After the election, in August of 2017, newly elected President Trump, with advice from national security adviser McMaster, decided to keep troops in Afghanistan. It is reported that the President was convinced to keep troops in Afghanistan after shown a black and white photograph of Afghan women in miniskirts from the 1970s (Eberhardt, 2017; Rucker & Costa, 2017). These photographs, in juxtaposition with images of veiled women, however, play a specific role in how we think about Afghanistan and intervention. Examining media representations of Afghan women, we explore media coverage in The New York Times, through a thematic analysis of 286 articles beginning with the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 up to 2018. We focus on coverage of Afghan women over the span of 17 years, paying close attention to news coverage following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, President Obama's direction to increase the number of military troops in the country, and President Trump's decision to keep troops in Afghanistan. This paper examines how Afghan women are presented in media coverage and how these representations contribute to larger discussions of intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-703
Number of pages16
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number5
Early online date5 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • Afghan women
  • gender
  • intervention
  • media representation
  • thematic analysis
  • War


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