Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin

Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin

Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin

Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin

Synopsis

The covered Muslim woman is a common spectacle in Western media- a victim of male brutality, the oppressed and suffering wife or daughter. And the resulting negative stereotypes of Muslim men, stereotypes reinforced by the post-9/11 climate in which he is seen as a potential terrorist, have become so prominent that they influence and shape public policy, citizenship legislation, and the course of elections across Europe and throughout the Western world. In this book, Katherine Pratt Ewing asks why and how these stereotypes- what she terms "stigmatized masculinity"- largely go unrecognized, and examines how Muslim men manage their masculine identities in the face of such discrimination.

The author focuses her analysis and develops an ethnographic portrait of the Turkish Muslim immigrant community in Germany, a population increasingly framed in the media and public discourse as in crisis because of a perceived refusal of Muslim men to assimilate. Interrogating this sense of crisis, Ewing examines a series of controversies- including honor killings, headscarf debates, and Muslim stereotypes in cinema and the media- to reveal how the Muslim man is ultimately depicted as the "abjected other" in German society.

Excerpt

Social workers estimate that thousands-perhaps tens of
thousands-of Muslim women live as invisibles in Germany, their
lives physically defined by the four walls of their home and ordered
by four staples: the Quran, male superiority, the importance of
family, violence and honor. in the middle of Germany, these women
live as slaves, unseen or ignored by their German neighbors, hidden
behind walls and forgotten.
Spiegel online 2004

The percent of schoolgirls wearing headscarves in the Berlin district
where Hatin [sic] was killed has gone from virtually none to about
40 percent in the past three years. Which one of today's smiling
schoolgirls … will be next year's victim of honor?
Biehl 2005

The covered muslim woman has become a spectacle in the Western media. Repeatedly visible on magazine covers and the front page of newspapers, she is a symbol of the challenge facing European governments that are struggling to integrate large and growing Muslim populations. For many, her headscarf is emblematic of the failure of immigrants who came to countries such as France and Germany as guestworkers to assimilate to the culture of their European hosts, even after generations of residence. Debates rage in both France and Germany over whether Muslim women and girls should be allowed to wear headscarves in public schools, with many who support a headscarf ban, arguing that the headscarf symbolizes the oppression of the Muslim woman, which a modern democracy should not condone. Many narratives by and about Muslim women portray them as victims of male brutality who must be rescued from traditional, oppressive male morality, which is imagined as a total control . . .

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