France and the Burqa: citizenship as a tool of prescriptive feminism
An interesting new paper recently published in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, discusses the impact of the 2011 campaign, carried out by the French government, to publicize and promote the law banning the full veil from public spaces. The paper goes on to discuss how this campaign used specific norms of female dress in order to establish a certain understanding of French citizenship, which in turn only served to further alienate young Muslim women in France.
In 2007 President Sarkozy pledged to ‘protect’ women from oppression. He led a nationwide consultation and political campaign centred on gender and nationalism to publicise and promote the law banning the full veil from public spaces. This brought forward tensions with Islam and raised questions about the exclusionary nature of French citizenship. In 2011 an act was passed prohibiting the concealment of the face in public spaces; the burqa ban. A new article by Claire Hancock in Gender, Place and Culture studies the implications for gender, race, religion and citizenship in France. Can a veiled woman be truly French?