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SexagonMuslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture$
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Mehammed Amadeus Mack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823274604

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823274604.001.0001

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The Banlieue Has a Gender: Competing Visions of Sexual Diversity

The Banlieue Has a Gender: Competing Visions of Sexual Diversity

(p.35) 1 The Banlieue Has a Gender: Competing Visions of Sexual Diversity

Mehammed Amadeus Mack

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the various ways journalists and activists who purport to fight for sexual diversity have actually reified sexual conformism through two processes: the demonization of the banlieue’s racialized, non-normative sexualities and the willful denial of the banlieue’s queer potential. In journalism, investigative reports, and interventions on the ground, commentators purporting to represent gay and feminist interests have focused on an uncommonly sexist banlieusard virility, with alleged roots in Islamic cultures. This process fits into a larger, more familiar one, in which immigration from the former colonies has been sexualized, with concerns articulated around men’s machismo and women’s subjugation. In recent years, respect for sexual minorities has constituted a new frontier for campaigns targeting banlieue attitudes and behaviors. In this vein, some campaigns purporting to “defend” have taken the form of attacks. Rhetoric about “saving” banlieue women and homosexuals has exoticized the banlieues as inhospitable and lawless zones worthy of human rights intervention. At the same time that it defines the homosexual victim, this rhetoric also determines the “appropriate” expression of homosexual identity or practices.

Keywords:   banlieue, diversity, homonationalism, homophobia, homosexuality, sexual nationalism, tomboy, veil, women’s rights

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