Reality television, gender, and authenticity in Saudi Arabia

Marwan Kraidy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Drawn from a bigger project (Kraidy, 2009, in press), this article examines the heated debate triggered by the pan-Arab reality show Star Academy in Saudi Arabia. It examines how controversies over authenticity spawned by popular culture crystallize broader social and political struggles. The article focuses on Star Academy as a contentious media event, describing and analyzing various Saudi reactions to Star Academy, and zeroing in on what the controversy reveals about Saudi politics. The article concludes that Star Academy was so polemical in Saudi Arabia because the show subverted the religious bases of Saudi social order by promoting women's agency, featuring cultural hybridity and individuating authenticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-366
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reality television, gender, and authenticity in Saudi Arabia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this