In her new series The FREQ Show, Anita Sarkeesian digs into insidious, pervasive Hollywood stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs, and how those stereotypes fuel real-world Islamophobia. As Sarkeesian puts it:
To so many Americans, people in the Middle East have never been established as human beings with real lives, hopes, dreams, and struggles. When almost every story you've ever seen about a particular part of the world paints the people who live there as monolithic, evil, and scary, you're a lot more likely to believe that it's actually true.
And it's not just fictional representation that's a problem. According to a study by University of Illinois professor Travis Dixon that analyzed 146 episodes of TV news programing between 2008 and 2012, 81 percent of the terrorist suspects discussed on TV news were Muslim. In real life, however, Muslims accounted for just 6 percent of actual FBI terrorist suspects during that time period.