This study critically analyzes representations of Kurdish women fighters in US mainstream media from January 2014 to December 2018. The article argues that the narrative articulated through the presentation of Kurdish women in the US media as “badass” soldiers fighting against the violence and extremism of the Islamic State serves to eschew a deeper understanding of their political and ideological motivations. Although they do not fit into the stereotypical category of oppressed Muslim women in need of saving, Kurdish women too are the subject of misrepresentation in US media in ways similar to the monolithic and essentialized representations of Afghan women in the post-9/11 era or Iranian women following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The present work questions why this misrepresentation takes place and what renders the representation of Kurdish women Orientalist despite its differences from the previous discursive constitutions of Muslim women in US media.

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