Banning Veils in France: Struggling to (Re)define Frenchness

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1


Banning Veils in France: Struggling to (Re)define Frenchness

Jessica Bowker
, PLSI 760

May 22, 2011










Fig. 1 Front National election poster, 2010







Fig. 2 Western
-
style wedding veil




Fig. 3 El Greco’s
The Virgin Mary



2


"France will be at the sides of the Libyan nurses locked up
for eight years; France will not abandon Ingrid Betancourt;
France will not abandon the women who are condemned to the burqa; France will not abandon the women who do not
have liberty. France will be by the side of the oppressed of the world. This is the m
essage of France; this is the identity
of France; this is the history of France."





-

President Nicolas Sarkozy

(2007)



Introduction


In 2004 France passed a law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools which is
popularly known as “the veil law.” Six years later, France passed a law banning

facial dissimulation in
public


barring women from concealing their faces with
veils in public spaces such as hospitals, grocery
stores, and on the street. Publicly, French officials have cited security concerns, assimilation goals, and
support for women’s rights as reasons for the legislation. Criticism of the French veil controvers
y has
revolved around what it can tell us about French attitudes towards Muslim immigrants. While
immigration issues are certainly important, this paper shifts the focus to the
popular
discourses around the
legislation to better understand what they tell u
s about the contemporary constructions of French
nationality and masculinity. I
n this paper I

argue that these discourses are

deeply engaged in struggles to
(re)define Frenchness by undertaking the highly

difficult task of reconciling
colonialist
interests
, French
masculinity, and modern human rights discourses through the strategic use
of
veiled Muslim women.
Within the confines of this discourse, t
his maneuver effectively restores
elements of
traditionally
directional
patterns of power and domination between east and west,
and between
men and women.
In
looking at French political speeches, commission findings, and media sources it is possible to map the
ways that
France, Islam, Muslim women, and non
-
Muslim French women
are utilized in
this

the service of
this project for French unity.


3

Methodology and Terminology


In this project I will employ discourse a
nalysis as my method of inquiry
. Discourse analysis is
critical to a study of power struggles because it is capable of

investigating

and deconstructing the
mechanisms of social meaning
.

In particular, I will be examining the ways in which dichotomous meaning
systems are employed in the rhetoric surrounding the French veil debates.

When binary logic is apparent
in discour
se it always

indicates

considerable investment
s of power. Binaries are never simpl
e reflections of
fact or nature
-

they

actively produce symbolic and material inequities.
Binary absolutism is often
accompan
ied by attendant inferential contradictions
which arise when large scale
generalizations and
strategic political maneuvers

coexist.
These contradictions, coupled with dichotomous logic, are prime
sites for studying meaning production.
Contradictions
also frequently

coincide with rhetorical absences
which must be brought out and an
d

studied for their potential to disrupt binary associations which seek to
obscure them.
Furthermore, discourses are made up of intersecting ideas and power structures, which
when functioning in tandem, change the nature of
all elements involved
. As such, one cannot reduce the
discourses surrounding Musl
im women in France who veil to

matters of gender alone
,

just as it is
impossible to
analyze

the
situation solely

as a
matter of
French nationalist constructions of Islam. The
Muslim women depicted in this struggle are both gendered and raced
/ethnicized

in ways that produce
femininity and cultural belonging in a particu
lar manner

that neither non
-
Muslim French women nor
Muslim men share
.


I
also
adopt
Benedict Anderson’s
(1983)
conceptualization of nationalism in
Imagined Communities
.
For Anderson

(1983)
, nationalism is

a modern phenomena which rhetorically produces imagined
communities of immense power. Anderson argues that nationalism should be examined in a similar
fashion as religion because of its sheer scope and power and ability to influence people’s understandings

of
the world and their place in it. In tracing the historical emergence of nationalism
Anderson

(1983)


4

characterizes pre
-

modern official nationalisms as responses by powerful groups “threatened with
exclusion from, or marginalization in, popular imagined

comm
unities.” (p. 110).

In doing so,
Anderson
firmly grounds the workings of natio
nalism within power struggles, which

prevents the discussion of
nationalism from becoming too abstract or inconsequential.

Therefore I understand nationalism to be an
impor
tant site of identity formation which is also a contested site for control. If particular re
ligions,
gender systems,

or ethnic groups (for
example) are able to maintain or

win access
to respecting the
nation, they gain a great deal of power in the process.





Background on controversy and bans


France is thought to have the largest Muslim population in Europe, constituting approximately 5
million people and 6
-

7% of the population (
Joppke 2007, Scott 2007, Berger 1998, and Choudhury
2007
)
.

1989 is the year cited as the beginning of France’s na
tional debate on the veil
after several mayors
barred North African students from registering for classes and
when three
schoolgirls

who refused to take
off their headscarves in class were expel
led from middle school (Joppke 2007, Scott 2007).
It is also the
year of the
celebrations of the bicent
ennial of the French Revolution
, which is thought to be a factor in the
emergence of the issue (Scott 2007).

In the ensuing 15 years’ worth of
headscarf
-
related expulsions

French courts

overturned the

majority

of the cases
, though the matter received an enormous amount of
attention in the French press.

Despite the legal discomfort with

banning
headscarf
-
wearing
Muslim girls’
from school, French s
chool directors were nevertheless instructed to enter into “dialogue” with the
student
s and their

guardians with the express intent to influence

a removal
of the girl
s


veil
s

in the
classroom (Joppke 2007).
In 2003 French President Jacques Chirac appointed

an investigative group
known as the Stas
i Commission
to explore the

passing of a law banning veils,
and the
attendant
bill

banning overt signs of religion in school was passed into law in 2004.


5

Scott (2007) and Joppke (2007) both write that the escalation of the school ban was not
precipitated by increased numbers of girls wearing veils in school. In fact, Joppke (2007) writes that “the
number of concrete conflicts surrounding the veil was at a 1
0
-
year low in the summer of 2003” (324).
Scott (2007) reports that only 14% of France’s Muslim women were reported to wear a hijab, and less
than 1% of the Muslim girls attending school.
The increasing attention paid to veiling was therefore
not in
respons
e to a major change in veiling practices, but is a “symbolic gesture” (Scott 2007, 3) in a larger
cultural struggle.
Indeed t
he concern over veiled
women in French society
has
continued to grow,
and a

parliamentary

bill
banning “facial dissimulation” in pu
blic places was passed in 2010 and
includes a

150
fine and possible assignment of citizenship classes to women
caught
wearing the full veil, while someone
who
is found to be forcing

a woman to wear a full veil will receive a fine of

30,000
-

60,000 and a
year in
prison. The Pew Research Center (2010) shows that the bill has an 81% approva
l rating with the French
public, despite the fact that only an estimated 1900 women in France wear a full veil

(
Joppke 2007, Scott
2007, Berger 1998, and Choudhury 2007).


The French concepts of the abstract, universal citizen and of
laïcité are critical in the debate over
veils.

Scott (2007) outlines th
e French system of universalism

which stresses the sameness of all
individuals, but also the priority of national identity over other group identities. It is an express rejection
of the

American notion of multicultur
alism, and holds that “equality is achieved, in French political
theory
, by making one’s
social, religious, ethnic or other origins irrelevant in the public sphere” (Scott
2007, 11). It is frequently argued that the veil violates the French commitment to sameness and is
therefore necessary to outlaw.
The struggle to define l
aïcité is
a related central theme

in the veil bans.
Laïcité is the French concept of secularism, although there is tension between different interpretations of
what it means. Christian Joppke (2007) argues that there are two kinds of laïcité, one which is
a court
-
driven protection of individual liberties and freedom to practi
ce religion, and the other

a politically based
“Republican
-
defining separation between state and church” (318).


6


Laïcité embodies the principal of neutrality, which is supposed to ensur
e that the state is blind to
differences in its citizens and treats all members of a society the same way. Joppke (2007) cites numerous
scholars who critique the notion of a neutral state, claiming that the abstract citizen actually belongs to a
particular

gender, religion, ethnic or racial group, and class, and that a state’s insistence that it is neutral
blinds it to actual lived inequities. Joppke (2007) agrees that these critiques of neutrality are impo
rtant,
but argues that both pro veil ban and anti
v
eil ban sides utilize the conce
pt of neutrality, with the former

arguing against the veil on political grounds of national unity and sameness, and the latter arguing against
the ban on legal/constitutional grounds of individual rights.
This paper primarily

concerns itself with the
dominant political expressions of laïcité as they are expressed in the public sphere, because they have
become the ascendant version of l
aïcité in France (Joppke 2007).


French Nationalism


Eric Davis’ (2005
)

book

Memories of State

advances a study of the way that political elites create
conceptual hegemony through particular imaginings of nation. He writes that “if a modern state is seen as
embodying the past, and especially as carrying on the legacy of a golden a
ge, it will enjoy much greater
latitude in implementing its goals” (Davis 2005, 2). French national imaginings are faced with a difficult
divide: they rely heavily on associations of modernity and human

rights advocacy, but also base

their

legitimacy on va
lues understood to come out of the French Revolution. The journey between these two
points of understanding is complicated by the way in which modern human rights discourses have been
brought to the forefront, namely through struggles of groups for freedom

and equality against the state
and culturally hegemonic forces.
These struggles point out the ways that French history has not been
characterized by commitments to equality and universal rights, which creates tension in this national
remembrance. The

stru
ggles against the French state and dominant French interests interrupt this

7

narrative maneuvering in powerful ways. Decolonization and loss of empire, protests against racial and
ethnic discrimination, and feminist movements are several of the ways that he
gemonic French identities
have been and continue to be profoundly challenged. As the history of colonialism is viewed with
increasing discomfort, and as women’s movements find degrees of success in gaining access to social and
political power, France’s hi
story becomes more difficult to produce as a site of absolute moral superiority.
This contradiction can be understood as a kind of cognitive dissonance, where the discomfort of holding
contradictory ideas creates a drive for reconciliation.
In return, Fren
ch nationalism seeks to connect the
historical and modern aspects of French identity by making modern human rights discourses appear to be a
natural evolution of historical revolutionary aims.
The contemporary discourses on the veil b
ans can be
read as an
attempt at

this reconciliation process

because they address matters of France’s relations with
members of its former colonies and
with
women in ways that restore normative power relations.

A section of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 speech (above)

is an excellent example of
this trend. Sarkozy supports his move for a full veil ban by simultaneously positioning France in a morally
superior relationship to Islam and tying it to France’s historical national identity. Women who wear a
burqa are compare
d with
Ingrid Betancourt, a French
-

Columbian presidential candidate who was
captured by Columbian rebels and held hostage for 6 ½ years, and the Libyan nurses, who were accused
by
Gadaffi of infecting 400 children with HIV and imprisoned for 8 years befor
e being freed by
humanitarian and diplomatic efforts. Here Islam is compared with criminals who would kidnap, torture
and imprison women, while women who veil are equated with victimization on a level with some of the
most publicized cases of abuse in Fren
ch popular culture. Sarkozy says that “
France will not abandon the
women who do not have liberty. France will be by the side of the oppressed of the world. This is the
message of France; this is the identity of France; this is the history of France”
(Sarkozy 2007). In Sarkozy’s
statement, France is described as both a modern and historical savior, connecting the mythical French
history to its modern mandate to enforce French values.

The word “abandon” invites paternalistic colonial

8

associations in a s
ubtle manner


in this rhetoric France still has a colonial role that it will and should
maintain, somehow making it appear as if a colonial presence in its former colonies is still an active site of
conflict, despite it being a struggle that France has al
ready lost. Thus listeners can re
-
envision this struggle
against the veil as a winning and enduring test of French superiority which France really does have both
moral and lasting rights to.

The veil bans are an extremely popular topic in the French press
(Scott 2007), where attitudes
about the bans are both reflected and formed. The press features frequent stories on topics such as
President
Sarkozy’s

proclamations on the burqa being unwelcome in France (
France24 News Wires
,
November 12, 2009) French mini
ster Fadela Amara’s claims that burqa bans would prevent the spread of
the “’cancer’ of radical Islam” (
France24,

August 15, 2009), a Muslim man denied French citizenship for
forcing his wife to wear a full veil (
France24,

February 2, 2009)
,

Front National
’s newest election poster
featuring a burqa
-
clad woman and France draped in Algerian flag colors (see Fig. 1),

and public pools
banning Muslim women wearing “burqinis” because of “hygiene” concerns (
AFP
, August 12, 2009).
Interestingly, the woman featured
in one “burqini” story is described as “a French convert to Islam” (
AFP
,
August 12, 2009), a telling linguistic phraseology which illustrates the absolute opposition of one who is
F
rench to one who is Muslim
-

the

convert is not listed as a Christian or Jew
ish convert (who would
logically not be Muslim prior to conversion)
, but

rather a
French
convert, whose Frenchness is understood
to preclude a Muslim origin.

Multiple post
-
colonial scholars have argued about the centrality of Islam to the formation of
Fren
ch national identity. Scott (2007) writes that France’s “power and appeal rests, to a large degree, on
its negative portrayal of Islam” (Scott

2007, 7). In his important book

Orientalism
,

Edward Said (1978)
defines orientalism as the general style of
western thought about the east based in binary difference, the
academic study of the east by the west, and the system of historical and material dom
ination of the east by
the west
,

all of which
constitute
s

the west’s understanding of i
tself
.

These oriental
ist discourses produce

9

unbalanced power relations by coding everything into a binary logic where the east is always the loser:
west vs. east, modern vs. traditional, rational vs. “wanting in symmetry
,
” leaders vs. followers, etc (Said
1978, 38). One intere
sting facet of Said’s work is in his investigation of the role of knowledge production
in discourse. The west’s ability to “know” the east, to proclaim facts about it, to classify it, and to fix it as
a knowable entity is an exercise of power. Contemporary

French commissions and their reports make up
a large body of French nationalist claims which recall similar colonial tendencies to “know” the east, and
information is frequently presented as fact even when it is endowed with emotional language. For
exampl
e,
Commission President Andre Guerin writes in the introduction
to the
Parliamentary Report on the
Wearing of the Full Veil (BURQA)


The report shows with precision how the wearing of the full veil infringes
upon three principals that are included in the motto of the Republic:
liberty
, equality, and fraternity.
The
full veil is an intolerable infringement in the freedom and the dignity
of women. It is the denial of gender
equality and of a mixed society. Finally, it is the will to exclude women from social life and the rejection
of our common will to live together” (
translation: Library of Congress 2010). Clearly,
a word like
“intolerab
le” is an

example of
non
-
scientific
/objective

terminology
, yet it is

located in a report meant to
be received as fact.

The story
on a conservative European news site
about “an ordinary French citizen” who placed a
hidden camera to record “huge crowds of M
uslim worshipers
” who are “enforced by private security

(
EU
Times
, September, 2009)
praying in public streets is of particular interest. This story features an “ordinary
citizen” who insists that Muslims are getting special treatment by being allowed to
pray outside
overcrowded mosques and that the real reason the worshipe
rs are taking to the streets is

not religious

in
nature
. The “ordinary citizen” insists that Muslims “are coming there to show that they can take over some
French streets to show that th
ey can conquer a part of French territory’” (
EU Times
, September, 2009).
Previously discussed themes which reflect fear
s of Frenchness being challenged

are certainly present, but
what is particularly interesting is the article’s association of the full burqa ban with the

successful

10

challenging of a growing Islamic representation
in the public sphere
. Although the full veil ban is
mentioned several times
in relation to the findings of the “ordinary citizen,” the accompanying footage
from the hidden ca
mera does not show a single woma
n, veiled or otherwise, occupying the street to pray.
An important contradiction arises out of this example
-

if Muslim men are

thought to be occupying French
streets in a show of power, and forcing Muslim women to live in oppressed circumstances, why are
Muslim w
omen the target of legislation?




Gender and the Veil Bans


Investigating public discourses on

the basis of their char
acterizations of Islam and Fre
nch national
identity are

important, but they cannot fully explain the highly gendered aspect
s

of the
legislation and
public debates
.
Gendered images and language have long been used
historically
in colonialist discourses.
Ella Shohat and Robert Stam (1998) illustrate how colonialist tropes position colonized geographic space
in gendered and sexualized terms, quoting Samuel Eliot Morison’s description of the Americas, “

Never
may mortal men hope to recapture the amazement, t
he wonder, the delight of those October days in
1492 when the New World gracefully yielded her virginity to the conquering Castillian’”(141). This
description of colonized territories as both female and sexualized superimposes a “naturalness” to the
relati
onship of colonizer and colonized by invoking the notion of a heterosexual marriage.

Scott (2007)
argues that such discourses have characterized France’s
modern
relationship with its former colonies
and
subjects
as well, leaving a legacy of
the
sexualizin
g and feminizing
of
Muslim women as the bearers of
culture.
Berger (1998) claims

that the importance placed on veiled women “turns women into the site of
the border without which Islam would not appear as such” (104).
After decolonization, Scott (20
0
7)

11

arg
ues that the veil takes on particular significance as it stands for
the frustrated desire of France who has
been denied access to its colonies.

Additionally,
Scott (2007) writes that French depictions of the
aggressive
threat that veiled women
wield

in

Fr
ance is not limited to colonial interests
, but also that “the
aggression of the woman consisted in denying (French) men the pleasure
-

understood as a natural right
(male
prerogative
)
-

to see behind the veil. This was taken to be an assault on male sexuali
ty, a kind of
castration” (159).
These trends in masculinist and nationalistic rhetoric are important to an understanding
of the veil’s functi
on in French society, and why the veil

is such a focal point
.


Contemporary discourses on the veil
also
go beyond
the recycling of older gendered colonialist
narratives into newer forms. C
ontradictions in the way that Muslim women who veil are represented
point to an unresolved strategy in
positioning

the importance of the veil
with regard
to French
nationalism. The
S
ta
si commission report emphasizes the pressure put on school girls to wear headscarves,
and says that “The Republic cannot remain deaf to the cries of distress from these young women,”
(
translation: Library of
Congress 2007)
while simultaneously
viewing th
e situation as a
hostile personal
choice
.
Indeed, it is

possible to trace the evolution of the use of human rights rhetori
c between the 2004
and 2010 laws.

In relation to the 2004 headscarf ban, the debate centered on questions of secularism and
whether girls who wore headscarves in school were in effect proselytizing (Scott 2007)

as well as on
women’s and girls’ empowerment
. For example,
President Jacques C
hirac in 2004 said that “wearing a
veil, whether we want it or not, is a sort of aggression that is difficult to accept” (
translation: Library of
Congress 2007). While concerns for the girls’ rights were also
a large
part of the public debate, its
importan
ce was not as great as it would become in the
later
push to pass the public ban on the full veil.
The girls who wore a headscarf to school were
imbued with more intentionality, hence the concern that
the headscarf would infringe on other students’ rights t
o secularity, and the characterization of headscarf
wearing as a kind of “aggression”.


12


In contrast, much of the public discourse surrounding the full veil ban of 2010 has focu
sed on
saving the women who are
presumed to be forced into wear
ing them. The pen
alties for disobeying the
two laws reflect this difference. The punishment for wearing a veil to school is placed firmly on the
shoulders of the young woman who does so
-

she is denied access to education. While a woman who is
cited for violating t
he full v
eil ban of 2010 is

fined, she may also be sent to citizenship classes to teach her
about the
French values

(
translation: Library of
Congress 2010). She is offered education
(
of a sort
)

rather
than being denied it, which implies
that

she can be

rehabilitated

.
Additionally, the fact that a woman
found to be in violation of the full veil ban is fined


150
,
but
if someone

is found to be forcing
her

to wear
a full veil
that person
will receive a fine of

30,000
-

60,000 and a year in prison
,

points t
o a
perceived
lessening of women’s importance as social agitators
.
Clearly Muslim women are having less
and less
agency attributed to them as the narratives
mature.

Public support for the different bill
s also varied, with
the 2004 law being more controver
sial than
the more recent of the two
.
Christian Joppke (2007) argues that the 2004 ban was faced with a difficult
job of trying to “refashion a necessarily freedom
-
restricting law as one that
protects

individual liberties” and
that this tactic

of emphasizing human rights

“was obviously the way the initial skeptic could be won for the
cause” (325). In fact, several scholars remark with surprise upon the participation of the
political
left in
the veil bans (Joppke 2007, Scott 2007, Choudhurry 200
7).
Choudhurry (2007) writes that “five
prominent left
-
wing intellectuals likened the acceptance of Muslim girls wearing headscarves in schools to
the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s,” an incident which further illustrates the success of this narrative

in winning
liberal
support.
The overwhelming su
pport

of the 2010 ban on the full veil is a testament to
the
effectiveness

of the human rights language embedded in the discourse.
W
hen this element of discourse
is compared with the problems that the French
nationalist project has in reinvigorating a modern sense of
moral superiority, it is clear that the saving women/ human rights element
is the critical step

needed to give

13

cultural validity to a nationalist project that is emba
ttled by human rights critique
s, and explains much of
its success.


The function of the non
-
Muslim French woman in this narrative is also important because of her
striking absence. In none of the sources discussed has there been any attempt to
explicate

or identify the
ways in which French women are “free” and “equal.”
In fact, French women’s equality seems to be
signified
simply
by their lack of a veil, rather than
by
any substantive engagement with gender politics.
By
repeatedly
saying that French values are those of g
ender equality,
and acting as though France is
in a
position to model

feminism,

these narratives are utilizing postfeminist rhetoric
.
Western feminists of
course have a somewhat different take on contemporary gender relations which range from
serious
conce
rns over domestic violence

and sexual assault, to advocacy over parity in representation and equal
pay. Scott (2007) reproduces a French feminist cartoon that features a burqa
-
clad woman standing next to
a woman in heels and a see
-
through tight dress whose

breasts are obscenely displayed. Both women are
sharing the same thought, “’I wouldn’t want to be in her place’” (Scott 2007, 165).
This cartoon raises
some important questions. Are French styles of dress any less gender segregated or compulsory? Can
push
-
up bras and high heels be considered essentially more liberating than clothing designed to conceal the
body?

In the scenario where France must liberate Muslim women from Muslim men so that they can
participate in western

style gender practices, it follows

rhetorically that French women are not in need of
saving, are not in danger from French men.

This paper rejects theorie
s of modernity which stem from E
nlightenment
-
era notions of progress.
Social progress does not map neatly upon temporal procession,
though this assumption underlies a great
deal of theory concerning human rights and modernity. Women’s lives and representations of femininity
in western culture have doubtless changed a great deal over time, and have been influenced b
y various
other movem
ents for change as well as
the
by
women’s movement
s
. However, adopting an
Enlightenment narrative by assuming that progress is inevitable with
regard to groups struggling for

14

equality

is certainly a mistake. Dick Hebdige

(1979)

writes that dominant culture

seeks to “recuperate” in
the wake of critical attacks so that “the fractured order is repaired and the subculture incorporated as a
diverting spectacle within the dominant mythology…” (94). One way this is accomplished is the
“conversion of subcultural si
gns… into mass produced objects.” (94).
French nationalist projects are doing
just this
-

political parties such as Sarkozy’s UMP (and its predecessors) have a long history o
f opposing
women’s
rights initiatives with fervor (Scott 2007, Berger 1998) and yet

are laying claim to feminist
rhetoric in the service of nation
-
building.
The term postfeminism in itself suggests that feminism has
arrived and departed, an extremely misleading notion which can only be made sense of if we think of it as
a hostile political project. Projanski
(2001)
argues that for the white
w
estern
woman, “pos
tfeminist
discourses define the feminism that made her choices possible as focused entirely on the a deracialized (but
implicitly white) desire for ‘sameness’ with men, particularly in terms of economic success and
(hetero)sexual freedom” (12). If equalit
y is measured by increased eco
nomic earnings and tolerance of
heteronormative
sexual
relations, freedom is then defined in (highly narrow) capitalist and
heteronormative terms, a definition which entirely obscures the myriad other material and intersect
ion
al
ways women are oppressed.

Conclusion


An interesting counter point to the current French controversy over veiled women which
illuminates the power of discourse to influence thought association and meaning production is France’s
own relationship to veil
ed women. Two i
conic images figure greatly in w
estern and Catholic imaginations


that of the veiled bride who is revealed to her husband after her father gives her away at the alter, and
the Virgin Mary, who is virtually alway
s depicted as veiled (see Fig
. 2 and Fig. 3
). That these images are
not mentioned in the debate around the cultural meanings of veiling is a testament to its embeddedness in
French popular consciousness.
The
image o
f the veiled Muslim woman is an incredibly effective rhetorical

15

tool. It serves as a further incitement to identify France against an encroaching Islam that is threatening
France from within its very own borders. It situates Muslim men as traditional and a
busive, which
effectively creates a counter
-
narrative to
challenges by imm
igrant
s

and former immigrants demanding

full
access to French culture and industry. It preemptively declares gender equality in France, a country which
has seen an active and powerfu
l feminis
t challenge in the

last several decades.
Per
haps most importantly, it
rebuilds a previously fractured bridge to a glorified French past, fully invested in the noble sentiments and
values of the French Revolution.
The template invites participants
to believe that
France must stand up to
Islam and tighten its hold on Fr
ench traditions in the interest

of saving Muslim women,
a discursive feat
which takes a great deal of maneuvering.














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