Translated from the Dutch philosophical review Filosofie Magazine:
De Beauvoir specialist unhappy with prize for Hirsi Ali
‘Simone de Beauvoir is probably noisily turning in her grave right now. It is OK that Hirsi Ali opposes fundamentalism; however, it is not OK that she attacks all of Islam across the board. She helps to create an atmosphere in which seemingly each and every Muslim is dangerous; de Beauvoir definitely would not have wanted to have anything to do with such an atmosphere’, according to Karen Vintges, a philosopher at Amsterdam University.
The prize goes to women who, in the spirit of Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) work for women’s rights. …
In a letter to the editors of the French review Nouvelles Questions Féministes, founded in 1981 by Simone de Beauvoir, Karen Vintges explained her objections to awarding this prize to Hirsi Ali. In a short interview, she explains her objections further. ‘The kind of feminism, established in France now, pretends that oppression of women is something still only happening in non-western cultures. Also, Ayaan Hirsi Ali stands for a kind of feminism which sees western [neo-]liberalism as the only way to liberation. For many Muslim women, this kind of views are an obstacle, rather than a help towards emancipation. De Beauvoir would have been very critical about the claims of western [neo-]liberalism of bringing freedom on a world scale. She was allergic to imperialism and colonialism. She was one of the first French intellectuals resisting the French wars in Vietnam and Algeria.’
Apologists for the Algerian war in the 1950s used to say that the war had to be waged as the enemies supposedly were ‘backward Muslims’.
She would have been much more suspicious about the way people in France and other West European countries think about headscarves of Muslim women and girls. Simone de Beauvoir would, on the contrary, have supported an inclusive feminism, giving Muslim feminists a voice from their own culture. These other voices have been around for a long time; however, you hardly hear them in the Dutch press.
Not just on this blog, there is one of various photos of Simone de Beauvoir with headscarf. Proving once again that headscarves often do not have anything to do with professing Islam; let alone with professing ‘fundamentalist’ Islam.
Feminism, imperialism, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan: here.