Antiseksisme of antiracisme? Een vals dilemma


  • Christine Delphy


The article discusses the relations between oppression and the struggle against these oppressions at the theoretical, practical and political level. Whereas the principles that are at the centre of these struggles are always the same: the refusal of oppression – in a particular and general way – these struggles are often perceived as opposite or even contradictory. An exemplary case to examine these questions is the French headscarf debate that occurred in French society in 2003-2004 and lead to the law on laïcité – generally known as the headscarf ban. Many French progressive feminists have been undecided regarding the ban. In discussing the motives and arguments behind this position, the author argues that, similar to the feminist advocates of the headscarf ban, these feminists consider women wearing a headscarf as victims of sexism. However, they also recognize that the law has stigmatising consequences for the migrant population. Delphy analyses this dilemma between antisexism and antiracism as a false one, for it presupposes that these women are only subject to sexism and not to racism. The author further criticises feminists like Elizabeth Badinter who seem to suggest that men from ‘racialized’ groups are extremely sexist and violent, and that western women nowadays hardly suffer from oppression or patriarchy