Arabs on magazine covers

How can a group of people be systematically marginalised or stereotyped by a media outlet? This lesson explores the representation of Arabs, Muslims and people from the Middle East by Time Magazine through their magazine covers.

  1. Work in groups. Reveal each cover below from Time Magazine. Time Magazine is a US-based magazine, which is published and read world wide. The covers provided below all depict Arabs, Muslims or people from the Middle East. As you reveal each cover, discuss with you group how the cover uses stylistic and structural features to construct a sense of 'othering'. "Othering describes the reductive action of labelling and defining a person as a subaltern native, as someone who belongs to the socially subordinate category of the Other" (Wikipedia, 2020). 



  3. Based on your discussion of Texts 1-5, make a list of stereotypes that are reinforced through these magazine covers.

  4. Visit the lesson on Magazine covers in the Text type section of this support site. After studying the conventions of magazine covers, where do you see evidence of these in Texts 1-5? How are they used to reinforce stereotypes and construct 'othering'?

  5. In what ways has Time Magazine taken measures to counter these stereotypes through other magazine covers? Study Texts 6-10 and discuss, as a class, the extent to which these covers challenge any stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims. Discuss how the stylistic and structural features of these covers are used to counter stereotypes, either successfully or unsuccessfully. 





  7. Imagine you are the editor of the magazine covers at Time Magazine. Find a story or person that is topical in the Arab world and discuss how you would depict this story or person in a fair, unbiased way. If you can make a mock-up of the cover to present to your classmates, even better!

  8. In what ways has this lesson deepened your understanding of and related to one or more of the 7 concepts: transformation, identity, culture, communication, creativity, perspective or representation.


Whether or not these Time Magazine covers have a 'sense of authorship' is disputable, which means you may or may not consider them a 'body of work' for your individual oral. However, you can use any one of these covers to practice writing a  Paper 1-style analysis. Include an analysis of one of these covers in your learner portfolio

Last modified: Thursday, 26 March 2020, 7:54 PM