Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Sadia Saeed

Second Advisor

Dana Zartner


Honor crimes, femicide, domestic abuse and violence are widely prevalent in patriarchal societies. Middle Eastern cultures deeply value protecting the chastity and honor of women. The traditional images of women and the notions of honor and shame are consistently used as justifications for violence and killings. This is not attributable to a single culture or religion. It is rather a manifestation of societal norms around gender-based violence. Feminist activism against honor crimes in the Middle East within the last decade has increasingly received social media attention. However, the impact of this social media activism on government intervention has yet to be evaluated. Existing literature has primarily focused on textual analysis of honor crimes and the construction of gender patriarchy. Consequently, the relationship between honor crimes and actual government intervention has been relatively unexamined.

This thesis will offer a critical analysis of the presumptions behind honor crimes, while also incorporating a comparative study between case studies of recent honor killings in the Levant region, and the effects of these impactful honor crimes. This paper draws on social media posts and case study analyses to examine Arab news’ discourse, discourse of the international community, and the political implications of online activism against honor crimes and the sociopolitical effects it has in the Middle East. It analyzes social media responses of the Arab community towards three honor crimes that happened within 2017 to 2020 and compares it to the responses of the international community by conducting discourse analysis in addition to qualitative critical discourse and content analysis.