NiqaBitch Shakes Paris
The NiqaBitch video protests France's burqa ban
Tags: art/music, bodies, crime/law/deviance, gender, immigration/citizenship, inequality, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, religion, sex/sexuality, burqa, burqa ban, chandra talpade mohanty, femininity, feminism, male gaze, niqa, postcolonialism, racism, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This clip features a protest against France's recent Burqa ban, which went into force in 2011. The new law stipulates that anyone caught wearing the niqab or burqa in public could face a fine of €150, or be forced to take lessons in French citizenship. The performance of the two women in the video challenges the resistance/subordination binary, which typically frames discussions about what it means when non-Western women don the veil. By sexualizing their veiled bodies, the women challenge ideas about whether wearing a veil is necessarily an expression of women's oppression, just as it challenges whether wearing hot pants and high heels is necessarily an expression of women's ability to resist oppression (Note that the ban went into force after the video was made). Moreover, by performing a sexualized femininity they are apparently able to navigate the streets of Paris without being disciplined, and their short walk raises a number of provocative questions. First, to what extent are the two women able to “break” the law because they have garnered the approval of the heterosexual male gaze? How might people react to these women if they did not fit the archetype of attractive females? This clip provides an excellent window into Chandra Mohanty's acclaimed paper “Under Western Eyes.” Mohanty takes issue with the way that Western feminists assume that wearing the veil is a symbol of oppression and fail to give a voice to the women who wear these clothes. It is unfair for Westerners to assume that the way they themselves dress is a symbol of empowerment without unpacking the systems of patriarchy that inform Western modes of dress. Viewers can also consider whether Westerners have the authority to make judgments about the way non-Westerners dress. Does the government have the right to create laws that ban certain styles of dress? If so, why aren't the religious symbol laws enforced for nuns who wear veils?
Submitted By: Pat Louie
6/2/2013 09:03:17 am
This is an historic reactionby westerners to non western people assertion of their option to choose how they will show up in the world. The imposition of opressive western views have attempted to dominate and diminish the validity of the rights of "others" white folks have historically outlawed other peoples culturae and the right to lif while being non-white
6/3/2013 06:00:22 am
no matter what the barriers are and what they say....life your life to the fullest is what matters in the end.
6/23/2013 03:20:45 am
They can wear anything they want. As far as I know, people just have to cover their intimate parts. If you use a blanket, a rope, a plate or anything you are following the rule. Then, why don't they ban people at the beaches, saunas, pools... a matter of culture, but culture might have respect too towards foreing expressions.
6/23/2013 04:55:03 am
When was the last time you saw a Catholic Nun wearing a veil? Western Nuns gave up the habit and the veil in the early 70s.
12/27/2016 09:13:47 am
not ALL nuns have given up the habit in the 1970s. The following link shows a group of nuns in traditional religious habits at Pope Francis's inaugural mass in St. Peter's Square in 2013. http://www.trbimg.com/img-516c3dca/turbine/la-fg-wn-pope-francis-reaffirms-crackdown-on-u-001/600/600x400
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