Personal Choice or Political Provocation: Examining the Visual Framing and Stereotyping of the Burkini Debate

Brian J. Bowe, Joe Gosen, Shahira Fahmy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The burkini, a modest swimsuit marketed to Muslim women, was at the center of controversy in France when it was banned from the beaches in dozens of cities. This research examines how the three leading international newswires (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, Associated Press, and Reuters) visually framed this debate and whether they visually stereotyped women wearing the burkini. Using a mixed-method approach, this study unpacks the role of news agency photography in visual representation. The analysis examines four visual frames: Mediated Solidarity, Administrative Response, Symbolic Fashion, and Active Liberation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1098
Number of pages23
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019



  • France
  • Islam
  • semiotics
  • visual framing
  • wire services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this