Anti-Muslim Racism and the Feminization of the Extreme Right. Examples from France and Germany

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kristina NOTTBOHM, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Gudrun HENTGES, Hochschule Fulda, Germany
Some scholars estimate that the female vote will be decisive for the future success of extreme right parties in Europe. Only until recently most of the extreme right movements and parties were facing a gender gap. According to opinion polls, women seemed to be less attracted by the extreme rights’ anti-Semitic and often misogynist ideology and more reluctant to vote for the extreme right than men. However, latest electoral trends show that some extreme right parties like the Front National are becoming increasingly accepted by women. Similarly, more women are holding political leadership position like Marine Le Pen in France, Pia Kjaersgard in Denmark and Frauke Petry in Germany. While anti-Semitism represents an important feature of the traditional extreme right’s identity, new right wing populist parties which did not directly emanate from the traditional extreme right often distance themselves from these positions. As part of her “de-demonization” and “normalization” strategy of the Front National, Marine Le Pen refrains from any public and explicit anti-Semitic articulations. This ideological make-over also includes a shift towards anti-Muslim racism, which seems to echo with a much broader societal acceptance. Moreover, through the juxtaposition of women’s and gay rights with Islam and Muslim communities, anti-Muslim racism got justified and normalized. By drawing on examples from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany and the Front National in France we will discuss to which degree the apparent ideological shift from anti-Semitism towards anti-Muslim racism in the contemporary extreme right is facilitating women’s support of and identification with these parties. We will argue that an analysis of old and new entanglements between gender, sexuality, racism and nationalism are central to the understanding of these recent developments.