Abstract

Abstract:

Racist hate crimes have increased in Sweden since 2006 when reports started, but they have also been followed by a variety of protests. This article analyzes the so-called #HijabUppropet (#HijabOutcry), a call initiated by Muslim feminist activists in response to a racist attack on a Muslim woman, which encouraged all "sisters" in Sweden to temporarily veil themselves in solidarity. The hijab outcry was widely heard and both celebrated and debated. Drawing on postcolonial feminist theory, this article shows how the initial protest against racism was partly reduced to a matter of being for or against the veil and the right to choose. Despite intentions to normalize the veil, the flow of comments and pictures on social media turned veils into examples of odd, exotic, and beautiful elements that enrich Swedish culture. The white secular subject was again reinstalled as the ideal and it seemed as though Muslim women could not pass as agents of Swedish feminist solidarity. Yet, at the same time, the debate in the aftermath of the hijab outcry had the effect of initiating an uneasy feeling of not belonging among white non-Muslim participators. This was a feeling that might affect future acts of solidarity—confronting a Swedish context of secular pride and whiteness—where Muslim women must struggle to be recognized as political subjects.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1520
Print ISSN
0732-1562
Pages
pp. 120-136
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-25
Open Access
No
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