Ethnosexism. Immigration and Sexual Politics

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 132 (University of Glasgow)
Gabriele Dietze , Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt Universität
The paper ties in with a flare-up of debates around anti-Islam-resentment all over Europe assuming sexual repression with Muslim women via Headscarves, Burkinis, Burkas, and the alleged danger of young refugees and asylum seekers for ‚native’ women that occurred on the occasion of the moral panic surrounding the sexual harassment of women at New Year's Eve 2015/16 in Cologne Germany. The investigation concentrates on recent North-West European sexual politics staged conceptualize Muslim migrants and refuges as problematic. It will consider the special Western interpretation of sexual freedom for homosexuals and women as a signature value of occidental supremacy, on the one hand, and the condemnation of alleged Muslim sexual repression and dangerousness on the other.

This special brand of anti-Muslim sexual exceptionalism will be elucidated by the introduction of the notion of 'ethnosexism' as a twofold enterprise. First, to invest the category sexism with a more intersectional approach and, second, to create a reminder that sexism should be understood as a gender-neutral term targeting not only women, but also homosexuals (heterosexism) and ethnically marginalized men alike. Ethnosexist discrimination suggests that migration should be understood as a sexual problem. These claims will be exemplified by the description of two media-figurations that both serve to oppose Muslim migration: the ‘sexually oppressed Muslim woman' and the 'sexually aggressive and dangerous young Muslim refugee'.  The mode of operation these phantasms have for narratives of supremacy and occidental self-affirmation in liberal discourse will also be considered.

  • Dietze_Glasgow_Ethnosexism.pdf (211.5 kB)