The Arrogant Eye and the French Prohibition of the Veil

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Evânia Reich presents the argument that the veil laws in France—the banning of the full-face coverings in public and the banning of the headscarf in public schools—are consistent with the emancipatory project of French Laïcité. According to this argument, the veils that Muslim women wear are symbols of their oppression, whereas French education seeks to liberate each individual and Laïcité serves as a bulwark against the creeping oppressive influence of religion. Unveiling Muslim women, then, is an act of emancipation. In this essay, I argue that the view of French secularism as an emancipatory project to free women of the oppressive mechanism of the veil is an example of what Marilyn Frye calls the “arrogant eye.” In this essay, I offer an alternative approach on the veil following Frye’s notion of the “loving eye.”
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Archival date: 2020-01-31
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