What is racist and sexist

Andreas Foitzik, Rudolf Leiprecht, Athanasios Marvakis, Uwe Seid (eds.):


"A master race of subjects"

Racism - Nationalism - Sexism





Helma Lutz

Racism and Sexism, Differences and Similarities


A woman is not born as a woman, but made to be. "(Simone de Beauvoir)

A black person is not born a black person, but made a "negro".

A Turkish woman is not born a Turkish woman, but made an Oriental woman.



"After almost twenty years of women's research and the women's movement in the Federal Republic, at least one of their insights is widely accepted: gender (like class or race) is a social usher who assigns women and men their place in society, their status, their functions and life opportunities. This positioning according to gender is not a simple act of direct coercion, but an elaborate and conflict-prone interplay of compulsions and motives, of violence and its acceptance, of material conditions, economic necessities and subjective needs, of cultural systems of meaning, normative regulations, self-images and self-portrayals. " (Knapp 1988, p. 12)

This is what Gudrun-Axeli Knapp wrote in 1988 in the introduction to an overview article on the status of the new women's movement and women's research entitled "The forgotten difference".

It therefore assumes that there is now a consensus in the social sciences that a person's gender, social status and ethnic affiliation are the results of assignment processes. The analogies she sees between these ushers seem convincing at first glance. On the one hand, I can agree with your analysis. There are certainly important analogies in the form, development and identification basis of the emancipation movements of minorities and women. But there are also differences that should not be neglected in both movement and science. This article will mainly deal with the latter, with the differences. For me, the starting point and reference point are primarily the discussions in research on racism and women. I am referring more to English-language literature, as there has not yet been a broad scientific discussion on this topic in the Federal Republic of Germany. The article by Knapp just quoted hardly addresses this discussion either.

The lack of a scientific discussion does not mean, however, that the problem as such, the existence of racist and sexist exclusion ideologies and practices, does not exist. Nor does it mean that the media in general, and the feminist media in particular, is not concerned with sexism and racism. On the contrary, a lot of attention is paid to these issues. This happens both implicitly and explicitly, for example in the "Emma" magazine on the war or in the book (and the film of the same name) "Not without my daughter", which has become an absolute hit with the public. The German public is therefore concerned with these questions. However, it does this in a special way. This article will deal with the criticism of this particular type of representation, the discourses and their manifest stereotypes.

1. Oppression

"Because in the Gulf War the two great currents of human contempt converge: racism and sexism. Both have the same source, both function according to the same patterns."

So Alice Schwarzer in the foreword of the already mentioned "Emma" magazine. Sexism and racism, as we can see from this quote, somehow belong together; especially when it comes to women from or in so-called Islamic countries.

But is it really possible to reduce the functionality of racism and sexism to a uniform "pattern"? Schwarzer, like many others with her, ultimately sees the system of oppression in its purest form in worldwide patriarchy, which turns women and blacks into subhumans. Well, both terms, sexism and racism, have something to do with oppression; Both are ideologies as well as action-relevant exclusion concepts in everyday life. In sexism, the fact that a person is identified as a woman is the basis for legitimizing their oppression. In the case of racism, skin color or other physiological characteristics or ethnicity form the elements that legitimize the racial exclusion and oppression of people. In both cases it is about oppression as an expression of asymmetrical social power relations.

The feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young distinguishes five different categories of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence.

It assumes that oppression is a structural feature of our pluralistic modern society. Now, although people are oppressed as individuals, the characteristics ascribed to the social group to which they belong serve as the basis of individual oppression. Since societies are structured as social groups, people are identified as groups that have always been characterized by specific attributes, stereotypes and norms (cf. for example Heidegger 1926/1986). Individuals become identifiable through the characteristics that are ascribed to their social groups. It is the group identities that are declared normal or deviant compared to other group identities. On the basis of identifiable deviations that are assessed as negative, oppressed groups are assigned their social location. Young identifies a form of oppression in cultural imperialism that derives from the social right to define "other". Since the dominant groups in society largely determine the interpretation of these "others", that is, the form and content of communication about these "others", assigning themselves and the "others" a place, so to speak, they create normative guidelines and measure at the same time the "others" in these projections. Culturally oppressed groups are thereby subjected to a paradoxical process: they are marked as stereotypes and at the same time they remain invisible. The differentiation between the various aspects of oppression, which can also reinforce and overlap one another, tries above all to clarify the various manifestations of oppression in society. Some shapes are not easy to identify at first glance; I will come back to this later and explain to what extent this also applies to black women and migrants.

The advantage of these differentiations of oppression made by Young is, in my opinion, that it goes beyond the limitations of previous analyzes. We have seen - especially in the more recent discussion - that oppressed groups deny each other the right to speak on behalf of all the oppressed. Thus the "exclusivity" of the oppression of a particular group was emphasized. In the green or rainbow movement, the partialism of the socially disadvantaged gathering there and the legitimation of their representation are one of the biggest problems to this day. Young, on the other hand, suggests that experience with various forms of oppression can change individually and collectively. For example, women can often only become aware in the individual aging process that old people are also disadvantaged in this society and that youthfulness is a positively assessed benchmark in our society. Heterosexual women can only perceive the full extent of structural exclusion of lesbians when they reveal themselves as lesbian. At the same time, none of these collective identities are fixed, but can change through the active influence of individuals or in dealing with the respective environment.

So instead of starting from a clearly defined unchangeable identity of every human being, we should better realize that every human being has different subject positions at the same time and that his collective identity can also change (see also Hall 1991; Spivak 1986; Weeks 1987). This is by no means to deny that a collective identity is (was) a necessary prerequisite for the mobilization of resistance in almost all social movements. It is not uncommon for the ascribed negative characteristics to be taken up as positive counter-identities and implemented as the basis for active attacks, such as the sentence "Black is beautiful" in the black civil rights movement. Nevertheless, in the course of these movements it has been shown time and again that the positive common bracket cannot do justice to the differences between the individuals and collectives within the oppressed group. Liberation identities can often become oppressive identities. For example, black homosexuals have criticized the heterosexual identity of the civil rights movement and have often had to pay for this criticism with their exclusion from the movement. Jeoffrey Weeks points out this identity dilemma when he says that black homosexuals often prefer to identify as "black" rather than "homosexual"; they justify this "choice" by stating that such a statement is made for reasons of political clarity and efficiency got to (see Weeks 1987, p. 43).

In my opinion, such a flexible form of analysis, as we find here with the distinction between the forms of oppression and the differentiation of the subject position, enables a scientifically much more fruitful form of discussion than the determination of a constant and uniform form of identity. I will come back to this question of the political functionality of collective identity later.

To make it clear what advantages there are in looking at the concept of identity in its history and in the context of oppression, power and resistance, instead of seeing it as a "natural" phenomenon, I would like to briefly review various positions in the discussion review the "oppression of women".

2. Oppression of women

The feminists of the first and second feminist movements in Europe have set out to question, criticize and change the socially fixed images and the social positioning of masculinity and femininity. For a long time, the focus of the discussions was the question of what women are and what they are not. Simone de Beauvoir's core proposition that women are not born women formed the basis of much work, especially in socialization research (see Belotti 1975; Scheu 1977). This approach was based on the assumption that the typical female traits had been acquired and that the change in the instances of socialization could already change the development and attribution of traits. The aim of this change was not so much to devalue the female characteristics that were assessed as positive, but to distribute them bisexual as humanly desirable characteristics. The assumption that it is possible to give male children a positive attitude towards caring for children by letting them play with dolls is just a small example. Carol Hagemann-White has strongly criticized this approach. It not only criticizes the fact that it has apparently so far been crowned with so little success (see the studies by Pross 1984 and Metz-Göckel / Müller 1986 on the gender images of men, which show that the classic attributions that determine what is male and what feminine, are still dominant and virulent), but also because he assumes wrong assumptions. According to Hagemann-White, the socialization thesis does not allow children to be thought of as the subject of their becoming, but rather they are reduced to mere objects of conditioning (Hagemann-White 1988, p. 227). The change in the classical instances of socialization alone does not seem to have any effect on the position of the sexes in our society. There have been a number of other efforts in the women's movement to shake the universal system of oppression of the patriarchy. Women have taken different paths in women's research. One of them consisted of narrowing down the dominance identified as male by rejecting so-called male characteristics as essentially bad. The negative, destructive male characteristics were contrasted with the positive characteristics of female culture. Feminists and feminist psychoanalysts have united in this current, which is typified as "difference thinking" natural Emphasize characteristics of people. Women are because they can bear children, after all naturally Emotional, empathetic, pacifistic, anti-rationalistic and intuitive. Because women mainly take care of children, they have a so-called ethics of care, which is in contrast to that of men, because they have to move away from life and giving life with a rational ethic. While male ethics are aimed at control, for women the maintenance and supply of life are in the foreground (see Gilligan 1982). Social-biological elements in the context of the reasons are particularly noticeable in the case of feminist psychoanalysts who assume that women "by nature" are "different" and remain "different". In doing so, they supplement Freud's doctrine of penis envy in women by stating that men are biased. Because of this avowal, men become oppressors, or rather they have to rule over their lives nature establish it as a "culture".

Knapp expressed the discomfort that arises here among the female critics, including myself, as follows: "In important ways, these designs did not differ from the well-known male projections about women." (Knapp 1988, p. 13) The main criticism of such definitions of femininity is essentialism, i.e. the notion that a quality that arises under certain conditions is viewed as essentially feminine and is therefore valid and remains for all Women. The undoubtedly very high political activation value of such identity-creating counterproposals in a certain phase should not be denied here. However, it is very questionable whether he will carry us further analytically.

The "difference thesis" presented here (the emphasis on the difference between all men and all women) is now primarily from the Equalityfeminists have been attacked. Many shared the opinion of Simone de Beauvoir, who opposed the view that there are specific feminine traits, values ​​or ways of life. "To believe in it would be to acknowledge the existence of a feminine nature, in other words to attach to a myth that men invented specifically to maintain the oppression of women. For women, it is not about affirming themselves as women, but rather to be recognized as whole, complete human beings. To reject all 'male' models would be nonsensical (...). I consider it necessary that we revise knowledge from our point of view, not that we reject it. " (de Beauvoir 1974, p. 465). The representatives of Difference thesis, referring to a female "U.S. women" appointed, but have also been attacked from other quarters. So the lesbian women are the first to have this "We"-The term questioned and the heterosexual orientation of this category rejected. They didn't want to be under this "We" subsumed and pointed out the differences within the woman category.

Much more violent criticism has come and still comes in the last ten years from "black" feminists (black was used in this movement as a political term to denote the minority position and not the skin color). Black women defend themselves against so-called white feminist appropriations. They criticize the universality claim of the feminist movement and its scientific concepts as well as the research methods of feminist science. Your criticism is also based on the fact that so far there are still few female scientists who belong to (ethnic) minorities and as such could develop other, more adequate analysis methods and concepts in these research areas because of their particular concern. "Black women" resist being degraded to pure objects of science.The main criticism of the concepts of feminist research is that they are based on a "white middle class standard" and refer to elements of oppression that are actually only valid for this group. For example, they reject theories that assume that the (small) family should be viewed as the central institution of female oppression because women in the family remain socially, economically and emotionally dependent on men (see M. Barett 1980). Here, according to the critics, they completely overlook the fact that there are fundamental differences in the life situation of white women on the one hand and black women and migrants on the other: the fact that the latter are discriminated, exploited, oppressed and negatively stigmatized on the basis of their skin color and ethnicity , is at least as important a factor of oppression as patriarchal oppression. For example, in a racist society for minorities, the family could have a supportive and protective function (Morokvasic 1984, p. 895). After all, like certain migrant groups today, black slaves were not even allowed to live with a family. Such facts ought to lead to other categories of analysis in feminist research as well.

Similar criticism was also leveled at the categorization of certain jobs and occupations as "female" and "male", since this classification does not apply to black women historically. For example, Jaqueline Jones points out in her analysis that black women had to do physically heavy work even as slaves (for example, work in the mine) that white women were not expected to do because they were "men's work" (Jaqueline Jones 1986). Other reviewers noted that, after all, yes white Objectively speaking, women benefit from the exploitation of black women and migrants, and so the living situation of white and black women is fundamentally different. The criticism of black women is therefore directed against the core of the universal patriarchal thesis. They were and will be emphatic differences highlighted between women and not the similarities. The contrast to the white feminist analysis lies in the fact that the central standard is not the man or the white man, but the white woman.

As a reaction to this criticism, which has so far only been very inadequate, the feminist analysis concepts were generally not fundamentally revised, but the oppression of black women and migrants was analyzed additively: they were seen as victims of racist discrimination and of sexism. A view that is widespread in women's studies constructs a hierarchy of suppression in which racist discrimination is declared a secondary contradiction. Because sexist oppression can be identified worldwide, it should also be analyzed as a primary category.

On the other hand, I will try to make it clear that this form of analysis is inadequate. In my opinion, the point is not to analyze racist oppression as additional forms of oppression, but as such that different occur and are legitimized. Different forms of discrimination can reinforce each other, and different levels of manifestation must be distinguished.

3. Racism

Women researchers who deal with racism often point to manifold similarities in the legitimation of sexism and racism (see e.g. C. Mansfeld 1987). The analogies are certainly not to be underestimated. As I said, both are social constructions in which people are defined on the basis of their body and the natural properties attributed to them. Apparent internal equivalents are ascribed to perceptible externalities. In order to marginalize, suppress or even exterminate people because of their gender, ethnic or "racial" group affiliation, other legitimation constructs are and were often used; often, as in the case of European anti-Semitism, Christian, culturalist, nationalist, sexist and racist legitimacy complemented each other. With regard to the discussion about the "new racism" I just want to state that today it is more defined by cultural differences than by establishing the existence of "races". Etienne Balibar calls this "new racism" "racisme differentialiste" because it starts from the difference and immutability of cultures, from an unchangeable and immovable determination of people by their origins. In differentialist racism, externally visible ethnic and cultural categories are mixed up and are defined as natural (for a more detailed discussion, see Leiprecht 1991, pp. 5-21). The most important difference between the "old" and the "new" racism is certainly that no higher "human races" are constructed, but that one assumes that people from other cultures are different from us, that they are "different". A clear distinction is made between "our" western lifestyle and the lifestyle of the "others". Our lifestyle, the enlightened culture of the western world, is supposedly characterized by its individuality and rationality and by a strong tendency towards homogeneity. On the other hand, what is emphasized in the lifestyle of foreigners is their collective form of organization. This dichotomous juxtaposition, here the individual and his development opportunities and with the "others" the collectivism, which is characterized by social group pressure, has the "advantage" that Europeans do not necessarily rely on the superiority need to point out their own culture. In the concept of Be different the refusal of the "other" to make themselves clear is already evident our Adjust lifestyle. The "advantages" of such an approach for "our" culture are obvious:

"The implicitly superior cultures are those that promote social and political individualism, in contrast to those cultures that inhibit and restrict it. The superior cultures would therefore be those whose 'community spirit' is formed by nothing other than individualism." (Balibar 1989, p. 77)

In the disputes about cultural differences, however, the differences between the sexist and racist constructions become very clear. Unlike ethnic and cultural groups, women cannot be considered a natural cultural community being represented. Sexism is primarily based on genetic differences between men and women, and from this constructs the social difference. This is not about the collective cultural differences between groups. That is why even within the cultural communities the gender differences are emphasized again in each case. This is how theories emerge that assume that "we", in "our" western culture, have developed a completely different form and expression of masculinity and femininity. I'll go into that in a moment.

It should be noted that the pluralistic modern society, despite its express claim not to make any more social differences - at least not on the basis of gender or belonging to an ethnic or social group (class) - cannot meet this claim. It can even be assumed that the visible differences, such as other social manners, food, clothing and religion, the so-called cultural practices, as well as the reaction to physical differences in subjective practice will play an increasingly important role in our society. Certain external characteristics are presumably becoming more and more important, precisely because parallel to this, the public discourse on equality and justice distances itself from such externalities. I will try briefly to make this clear using the example of body and sexuality.

The appearance of a person can provoke aversions, it can also have an attractive effect, depending on the ideas and fantasies it is occupied with. A body can create fear or desire; Fear and desire can mix and can express themselves as rejection or curiosity. In any case, physical characteristics determine how people interact with one another. For centuries, women and strangers have been defined by their bodies and their sexuality. The anthropologists who set out to study other peoples were more interested in the body and sexuality than any other socially relevant subject. The differences to the white man / woman were made clear by the body and gender. Here, too, there are many analogies between sexism and racism. In his classic study "Black Skin, White Masks", Fanon made it clear with numerous examples that the humiliation of blacks takes place expressly through an aversion to their appearance, their body. Numerous studies in women's studies have indicated that the devaluation of the feminine is also very strongly linked to the devaluation of the body. Examples include menstruation, physical weakness and the like. But it's not just the devaluation that Fanon emphasizes. In the discourses about the black body, which have existed in Europe and North America, especially since the colonial era, there are certainly differences. There are numerous African tribes that the colonizers called "noble savages": for example the North African Berbers, the Maasai in East Africa or the Tuareg, who live as nomads in North Africa. The notorious photographer Leni Riefenstahl, for example, already had great success during German fascism, but still today, with her photographs of young Nuba and Maasai men. Interestingly, she captured them mostly in poses that are identical to those of seductively portrayed exotic women. They probably become "objects of desire" precisely because they can be depicted not only in a warlike, but also in an adorned and submissive or seductive pose (see for a critical consideration of the depiction of the "noble savages": summer 1989) .

With the free desert men, the Tuareg, on the other hand, it is about a different form of masculinity, to which they owe their attractiveness for the western reader or viewer. Bertolucci's film "Sky Over the Desert" provides a good example of this. Her clothing is more likely to be identified as feminine in the western sense, her thirst for freedom and her ability to overcome harsh nature can be consumed as the epitome of freedom and adventure; the encounter with these "noble savages" finally underlines the masculinity of the Chesterfield smoker. Above all, this example makes it clear that it is not so much about the body itself, i.e. the question of whether it is black or white, but about the properties that are ascribed to it.

The fact that the numerous myths about the emotional and sexual characteristics of blacks are still widespread in everyday discourse became clear again in an ARD talk show (Lindlauer, April 1991). There they dealt with the topic of "multicultural society" and invited a well-known actress who also counted a "Muslim" man to her numerous ex-husbands. When asked about her experiences with such a man, of whom even the interviewer could only assume that he had suppressed and humiliated according to the rules of his culture and religion, she replied, "I have never been so spoiled by a husband. He was." really a wonderfully caring husband. He's really very religious. But - maybe that's because he's black. He's African. I can't say anything about Turkish men. They are perhaps more macho. " We can see from this statement that there are still great differences in ideas about non-Western men. Probably a kind of macho hierarchy could be derived from such statements. At the head of such a hierarchy would then be the white western man, who becomes the yardstick for making statements about the degree of "machismo" in the strange man. If, on the other hand, we were to turn to the construction of masculinity with the question of child-friendliness, a different hierarchy would probably arise again.

With these examples I wanted to make it clear that the ideas, the constructions of the social sexes are very different. Within each ethnic group, each culture and each social class, it is important to distinguish how masculinity and femininity are defined, who provides the standard for this definition and who has the power to define. It is not that all differences are pegged to the white Western man; On the contrary, there is a very clear differentiation between the various foreign cultures and differences are made between the men and women of these cultures. Even different forms of social exclusion, exploitation, marginalization, violence or cultural oppression are legitimized differently. What is certain, however, is that the construction and reconstruction of "gender" always take place in dichotomies. A quality or appearance is rated as positive, by doing another is negatively assigned (occupied). "Our" western masculinity is (re) constructed in the demarcation to western femininity as well as to masculinity and femininity of foreign cultures. Just as "our" western femininity is also defined by the demarcation from the femininity of the foreign woman. In the following I would like to illustrate this using the example of the discourse about the Turkish woman. This reconstruction does not claim to be all-encompassing; it only wants to represent what I think is a relevant part of today's dealings with this topic, which we find in science as well as in the media - feminist ones are by no means to be excluded.

4. The construction of the Oriental woman, then and now

The oriental woman of romanticism

In the 19th century, the erotic qualities of oriental women were the focus of many European literary works (see for more details Lutz 1991, pp. 10ff.). This interest in an uncontrolled "oriental" sexuality must be seen in the context of the sexuality norms of Europe at the time.

In the Victorian era, the chaste, reserved woman was considered the ideal of femininity. Oriental women, on the other hand, were described in painting, literature and fairy tales (Thousand and One Nights) as exotic and particularly erotic. For example, the German Orient researcher Franz Carl Endres devoted five chapters to the beauty and seductive art of women in the 11 chapters of his book "Turkish Women" (which appeared in 1916 as a dessert on top of his main work: "Turkey"), the rest dealt with the Question of motherhood; only one chapter deals with the "learned woman". The male orientalists and poets were particularly interested in the erotic harem life, which is extensively portrayed in countless travel stories. Since male travelers, with very few exceptions (such as doctors), did not have access to the women's chambers of the Ottoman rulers, these stories must be viewed as pure male fantasies. Actions that were officially forbidden in the Puritan age could be relocated to the Orient in this way. These fantasies, which we already find in poets such as Goethe and Baudelaire, were able to live out in the mastery of the female body of the Oriental. The strange woman thus becomes the epitome of desire. Karl Heinz Kohl analyzes the function of this discourse in the context of European Romanticism and its reaction to the ideals of equality of the Enlightenment. In the reorganization of the sexes that takes place at this time, the woman is contrasted with the man as the "other" (or the foreigner).

This "being different" or "being foreign" is measured against the normality of the male. At the same time, however, a distinction is made between the European as the "close stranger" and the Oriental as the "distant stranger" (see Kohl 1989, p. 356ff.). The near stranger, the ideal of the European woman, is constructed with the help of this double deposition. The European woman is the same, but "different" than the European man and she is at the same time "different" from the Oriental: she is more chaste, more reserved and her senses are not directed towards sexuality. At the same time, however, their chastity is valued as morally higher than that of the Oriental.

This construction of femininity, however, referred more to the ideal of bourgeois women and by no means to women of the working class. [1] In contrast, the conception of masculinity at this time is constructed primarily through the symbolic measurement of male domination. That is why the unrestricted power of the oriental despot over the harem and subjects was emphasized. The oriental man - so Kohl - embodies an exotic, but at the same time male opponent (Kohl 1989, p. 359).

There was already a theme in the discourses at the turn of the century that has persisted into our time: the statement that the Oriental woman is in a hopelessly oppressed situation and that the West, but primarily the Western man, redeem her from this situation must. The "Turkish women's question" has been one of the favorite topics of the Germans since the turn of the century (Akkent / Franger 1987, p. 155). Oriental magazines, tabloid magazines and German women's magazines commented on the question of how Turkish women can emancipate themselves from their situation. That we can still find similar argumentation patterns today, in 1991, e.g. in the magazine "Emma", I will explain in a moment. Since the turn of the century, one of the irrefutable truths about the Oriental woman has been the symbolic expression of her oppression through the headscarf or the veil (see the particularly recommendable book by Akkent / Franger 1987 on this subject). Especially on this subject we find many references in "Emma" and also in the book "Not without my daughter".

Orientalism in the Construction of Western and Turkish Femininity Today

In the scientific literature on Turkish migrant women of the last 20 years it can be clearly seen that the orientalism paradigm of the 19th century is being carried on. Of course there are shifts and changes. Nevertheless, the fundamental otherness of the Orient and its culture is always assumed. I therefore regard Orientalism [2] as a special form of cultural oppression that is experiencing a revival on an unprecedented scale, especially in our day. In the portrayal of the Turkish migrant woman, various topics can be distinguished that appear complementary or cumulative, as are: women's oppression, patriarchy, separate living environments and social spaces for men and women. All of these topics are derived from Islam and are covered by the suras of the Koran. Islam is elevated to a dominant explanatory principle for the oppression of women, with the Christian, Western culture implicitly and explicitly forming the benchmark. There are many indications that the ideas and images of "our" western femininity are essentially constituted by the demarcation of western women from oriental women. Images and self-images about "our" emancipation require, so to speak, the daily reconstruction of the oppression and backwardness of Islamic women. Not just for the construction of European femininity the Turkish woman a welcome negative slide, but also for European masculinity. Can she assure herself of her own progressiveness in the emancipatory sense of the demarcation against the Turkish despotic patriarch.

The persistent adherence to this dichotomy fulfills its function on the level of ideology, symbolism and practice for both our conception of femininity and that of masculinity. This also explains its attractiveness to this day. The authors of media discourses, e.g. journalists who want to write an article about Turkish women today, do not have to invent the reasoning pattern; because the scientific literature that dominates the market gives enough support (see also the analysis of migrant literature in Lutz 1991). The Spiegel article from autumn 1990, for example - "Knüppel im Kreuz, Kind im Bauch" - is primarily based on scientific studies such as that of the sociologist Karin König (1990). König supports her statements primarily with examples from his own practice; this also gives her the right to speak and write about it. After all, she experienced the "silent martyrdom in secret" in the Frankfurt women's center for 15 years. Her direct involvement and her perspective as a helping social worker give her the right to bring the truth about the misery of Turkish women to light. Now König and many others cannot be denied with her that she was confronted daily with cruel forms of oppression of women in her work. The fact that she claims to know and present the truth about Turkish women is what makes her book so dangerous. In the more recent books about the Turkish migrant it has not been forgotten for some time now that Turks in our country are also victims of racism, mostly referred to as "xenophobia". When looking at the way in which this topic is dealt with, it turns out again and again that "xenophobia" is seen as an additional component that only intensifies the original misery of women, which is supposed to have something to do with their cultural origins . To date, on the other hand, an analysis of racism in German society as a constituent element for the oppression of Turkish women can only be found in a very small part of the literature.

But there are also express efforts to avoid Eurocentric reductions. The feminist scientist Bennholdt-Thomsen begins the introduction to a study on Turkish women in the Federal Republic by stating that patriarchy reigns everywhere, both in the country from which the women come and where they have migrated. Turkey describes it as a patriarchal traditional society, the Federal Republic as a sexist one. In both countries the "equality of all men with a claim to women" prevails (Bennholdt-Thomsen 1989, pp. 16-18). The difference between the patriarchates is that the use of force in Turkey and among Turkish migrants is derived directly from paternal authority, whereas in the Federal Republic it is indirectly legitimized: "Here the men and fathers derive their sexual rule from money and try to do so quite successful in disguising their real basis of simple violence "(Bennholdt-Thomsen 1989, p. 25).

Logically, only Turkish men benefit from moving to sexist society. "Turkish men are not unlike the Germans, notorious refugees from emotional, economic and social obligations towards the family. In contrast to women, they have complete freedom of movement. They use their own money and often that of women, gainful employment and the relationships between men to be absent as much as possible or completely. The right to a place in the family and to the woman's body is maintained as background insurance and, if necessary, redeemed with violence, especially rape "(Bennholdt-Thomsen 1989, p . 28). With which Bennholdt Thomsen would have corrected the image of the cruel Islamic patriarch, because the "modern, western" patriarchy is no longer so cruel in its oppression.

In more recent studies of racism and right-wing extremism, one can find similar argumentation patterns as presented here. German autochthonous young people point out that for them the women and girls of the Turks do not come into consideration as friends, that is, they are available because they would be kept in the family; and autochthonous girls express their fear of violence and rape by Turkish men (see Leiprecht 1990, p. 249ff.).

It is again noticeable here that this discourse on Turkish femininity and masculinity is used by both sexes to present their own practices as positive or superior to the others: German autochthonous girls can choose their friends themselves and are not subject to family sanctions, they are freer because they are supposedly given more freedom and more emancipated; the positive construction of western masculinity benefits from the fact that Turkish men are seen as potential rapists.

Another topic that seems to move western minds (male and female) is the headscarf / veil. In a cross-cultural study of this piece of fabric, Meral Akkent and Gabi Franger tried to make it clear which different motifs the wearers of headgear associate with it. Even in the rural areas of the Federal Republic of Germany it is still very common to wear a headscarf to work and a hat to go to church. There were times when fashion dictated wearing the headscarf. Nowadays, wearing a headscarf / veil is the most important characteristic for a traditional Muslim woman. As a rule, the self-chosen isolation of the wearer is derived from this; and oppression by husbands and fathers is deduced from it. The Koran, in which this provision is not given verbatim at any point, is regularly cited for legitimation. Now I do not want to deny that the assumption that the Koran prescribes this clothing also exists as such among Turkish immigrants, and that it is interpreted in this way primarily by the clergy in the migrant community. Nevertheless, there is also the possibility, as we are currently seeing more and more in the Western European migrant communities and also among young women of the Islamic women's movement in Turkey, that the women who wear these clothes are very consciously aware of this as a sign of autonomy and resistance choose can. However, it is rarely presented as a serious choice, neither in migrant women research (the works by Mihciyagan 1990 and Kalpaka / Räthzel 1990 are an exception) nor in the media. In the aforementioned "Emma" booklet on the Gulf War, 14 out of 20 articles deal specifically with the question of the headscarf / veil. All western women or western-oriented women are shown without headgear, the oppressed Muslim women, of course, often shown in the crowd, but covered with heavy body veils. A modern woman of this culture, the Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, for example, is introduced to "Emma" readers as follows: "Her mother was illiterate and went veiled. The daughter never wore a veil and fought against it in all of her books. In her apartment in A computer and a fax are available at Rabat (...). " (P. 11)

A modern woman, as we can see from these lines, can be recognized by the modern equipment in her apartment and by her bare hair. Fatima Mernissi certainly fought against the compulsion to wear a headscarf; But her books are primarily about the fight against social inequality, which among other things, French colonialism has left behind in this part of the world. When reading the "Emma" articles, whether they deal with the situation of women in Iran, Algeria, Turkey or with Turkish migrant women here, one gets the impression that colonialism had and rather brought women advantages they only became victims of the national Islamic patriarchy in the independent nation state. Colonialism and racism are only very marginally problematized, or rather described as a phenomenon foreign to "us Germans". For example Schwarzer when she asked Fatima Mernissi: "You know, we Germans hardly had any colonies. It is difficult for us to understand the hurt and humiliation of the ex-colonial peoples."

You, like many with her (bad example in the same issue: Elisabeth Badinter), are probably not even aware of the fact that they symbolically improve their own social situation by relocating the oppression of women to this culture. The western woman, or rather the constructed ideal of the western woman, always becomes the measure of all things. The Western European woman becomes progressive, emancipated, autonomous, so to speak Person, by bringing women of the Islamic culture to them Non-persons reduced. And so this statement hits a core area of ​​gender formation in "our" culture.

I would like to go back to the headscarf obsession in Western discourse. Ursula Ott writes in the same "Emma" in her article about a trip to Turkey by German feminists: "Opinions differ on the headscarf - or rather on the veil. Nobody denies that the sight of a whole group of black-veiled women on the street - we name it they mockingly the 'birds of death' - not a particularly pleasant sight. " (P. 61) Would she have written the same about punk girls dressed in black? Why does this concealment provoke such aversions? One explanation may be that in our modern society, in which outward appearances are no longer allowed to make a difference, it is precisely for this reason that so much attention is paid to the body and its clothing. The western women's movement has fought for the abolition of dress codes for decades. Analogous to the ideas and ideals of equality, the body should no longer play a role. Indeed, male and female clothing have converged over the past two decades. And recently it is no longer considered frowned upon, even among feminists, to wear skin-tight mini-skirts, so to speak difference stress again between men and women. Ultimately, it is assumed that these days there is no longer any legitimation for ruling or suppressing a woman. The veil, on the other hand, symbolizes this oppression, it externalizes the male domination of the female body. Another possible explanation could be derived from the division of public and private space (see also Sennet 1977 and Elshtain 1981). Assuming that a modern society is characterized by the separation of public and private, and is thus divided into visible and invisible areas, the aversion to the veiled body can be understood as follows: A woman who is covered by a headscarf withdraws of visibility. It violates the rules because it makes itself invisible and thus symbolizes the private in public. For the western women's movement it was one of the declared goals to conquer the public space. A veiled woman is likely to interfere with this endeavor with her clothing; it symbolizes regression. The fact that these clothes are also associated with a "retrograde" religion presumably reinforces the rejection.

All of these explanatory models need further investigation. What is certain, however, is that the aversion to veiling has something to do with the construction of gender relations in Western Europe / North America / Australia.

I want to conclude this analysis of the significance of the negative film "oriental woman" for "our" image of women with the reference to the new popular success "Not without my daughter". This book, written by the American Betty Mahmoody, seems to address millions of women and men in Germany. The book has already been published in its 38th edition, is referred to as a "non-fiction book", and the film accompanying the book reaches millions. It is about a white American woman who marries an anesthetist in the USA. This man has all the desired positive qualities: he is rich, has a good position, he is polite, courteous and spoils his wife. So an ideal husband? He has a "blemish" that is his undoing, he is Iranian, so a non-Christian, a Mohammedan. As long as the couple live in the United States and they are apparently successful in their efforts to be a true American, this "blemish" does not cause any problems. They only start as soon as the family moves to Iran. What the wife and, of course, millions of readers with her had always feared, occurs. The real nature of the Iranian comes to light. Its origin, its culture, `its unchangeable, immovable being determined by the origin '(Balibar) comes to light; he can't help it, so to speak, he has to hit her, humiliate her, take her daughter away from her. The story of suffering for Betty Mahmoody begins with the move to Iran. The Iranian mullahs' reign of terror form the backdrop for their rousing struggle. As a Christian, Betty fights against Islam. As a mother against the cruel Islamic patriarchy. As a modern, enlightened woman against the backwardness of oriental society."She is the pure West," writes Elke Schmitter in the Spiegel: "She is a brave being, sensible at the right time, weeping only when hurt and cold-blooded only in need. The gloomy riddle is her husband, whose change from American to Iranians who are at best inferior to Dr. Jekyll in Mr. Hyde in terms of country team. " (Der Spiegel, 16/1991, p. 224)

Betty Mahmoody experienced the story she tells herself; At least that's what she claims, and that's what makes her story so convincing. She experienced it firsthand. But what is interesting about her case is not so much what she experienced, but what the readers and viewers see in her, what she symbolizes for her Western audience. Without the centuries-old history of the Christian enemy image Islam, which is updated here, the attractiveness of the symbol cannot be explained. This is also related to the function that this image has for the construction of the western gender relationship. For the reconstruction of both social genders, for western femininity as well as western masculinity, such a film comes in handy. Feelings of superiority hardly need legitimation. Betty Mahmoody fights for all of us; we are Betty Mahmoody. The effect of this "work" affects not only Iranians; it affects all "Muslims" identified as such. Mahmoody, the husband, is the Orient and so are all Islamites too.

5. Counter-Discourses?

Is there a way to build up counter-discourses and what should they look like? In my conversations with Turkish social workers as part of my research project [3] it became clear that they repeatedly reach their limits in their efforts to build up counter-discourses. Precisely because the irrefutable truths seem to belong to the core truths of our discourses, there is no language at all that would do justice to the other truths. Of course, no Turkish woman in the Federal Republic can deny that there is also terrible oppression among migrants. But since every statement in this direction is used to support the "orientalist" dichotomy, it is almost impossible to acceptwhat is really meant by that. Nobody wants and can deny that oppression plays an important role in the Turkish immigrant community. It is indeed present and can be analyzed in its fivefold meaning of exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence. Any reduction of an analysis to merely a of the five categories, which are then also particularly pointed towards the female migrant, misses the point of reality. Because this is exactly what is taking place in the discourses of our media, an essentially negative image of the entire community emerges. But how should immigrants build a positive identity on negative images, or on a daily confrontation with "truths" that preceded their actual experiences in dealing with one another? Is the "Black is beautiful" movement, which turned negative stereotypes as a basis for identification, a role model? In my investigation I have found this reversal very well. My informants often pointed out the positive characteristics of what they called "Turkish culture". A brief example of a young woman of the "second" generation who moved to live with her parents in the Netherlands at the age of 13. She tries to translate her own experiences with Dutch society as a counter-interpretation into an "attack":

"What I'm saying probably sounds very arrogant now, but I want to say it anyway: I think that most Dutch people don't know very well what to do with their feelings. They just don't know that. This rational, that is so incredibly developed. That always comes first automatically, that it is at the expense of the emotions "(see Lutz 1991, p. 102/103).

Here she interprets her experience as an expression of the opposites emotionality and rationality. Their origin, being Turkish, stands for emotionality, the manners of the Dutch for rationality. But what you say does not reveal so much whether Turkish culture is indeed more emotional, but rather that it fixes the Dutch as rationality-fixated learns and suffers from it. Obviously, she does not see many opportunities to make it clear to the "others" that they should take their situation and their emotions seriously.

I cannot answer the question of whether a "Turkish" counter-identity can be used positively in the fight against oppression. There are, however, examples from other countries that such a counter-identity can have a politically activating effect. The black British scientist Stuart Hall has also pointed out that such identities are very unstable politically, psychologically and culturally. He makes this clear with his own experience. He left Jamaica in the 1960s to study in England. In England people talked about their society of origin in a way that did not correspond to their own experience; he couldn't find himself in the fact that Jamaicans were all "black" for the white English. In Jamaica, on the other hand, people had lived for centuries without seeing and calling themselves "black" throughout. Hall describes his political activation as a process in which he became aware that he was "black". On the one hand, this definition is "imposed" by the "white" dominant society, on the other hand it also caused a kind of relief for many at the beginning, a discovery of the true self that released doubts and promised calm. Later, however, according to Hall, it became clear that this black identity, too, is the collective term for an "imaginary community" that quickly reaches its limits (Hall 1991, p. 197). As in the women's movement the common bracket "we women" was put up for discussion, this also happens with the community "we blacks". What can we learn from it, what is transferable to our situation?

I believe that for the emancipation of minorities it is necessary to distance oneself and that it is important to find and use one's own positive basis. But this basis will always be a constructed identity that is based on unreal and real elements and that emerge as an action and reaction to the dominant images and self-images. But we too, the members of the dominant groups, can and must take a stand on this process. After all, the point is that a society must live up to its demands; And a society that is constituted by inequalities is not a desirable ideal for many people in the dominant group, at least when the enforcement and safeguarding of privileges at the expense of "others" does not apply as a generally valid social rule. With regard to political struggles, this means that minorities depend on parts of the majority as allies. For science this means that it has to change its concepts. Women's research in Western Europe can no longer resist reconsidering its concepts if it does not want to be accused of being blind in one eye. While one eye, which criticizes and rejects male constructions, seems to see particularly clearly, the other eye remains blind because it needs the negative film "strange woman" as part of the self-construction.





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