During the nineteeth century the western world had divided North Africa and the Middle East among themselves. When the western powers divided the Middle East, the French colonized North Africa and the Levantine countries. During that period, the… French as colonizors looked down on the North Africans as primitive, uncivilized easy to control and exploit. The young girls and young women were exploited through their art.
Among the most famous of the Orientalist painters was Jean-Leon Gerome born (1824- 1904), who mainly depicted the Arab women within the Bath Houses or in the Market Place. Gerome also had students who followed in his footsteps with the Orientalist approach in depicting the Arab women in degradating situations.
The myth of Shahrazad and Arabian Nights lived in Geromes paintings. Because of the high demand for such genre in art from the French and the Western World, Gerome was able to live up to the demands of the colonizors and fill the need for the exploitation of the African and Arab women.
In photography, the French took their cameras to North Africa, not to document the long history and civilization of Africa, but to prey on the young and lovely girls, in need of a few Francs, by photographing them some semi nude and others fully nude again, to supply the demand of the perverted and hard French culture.
A century later, France finds itself in another confrontation and clash with Eastern culture. In the past this need for colonization was with the North African countries but now it is with its own citizens who are of Arab descent.
When does one of the most civilized countries on earth take upon itself the need to dictate a dress code and pass a law telling Arab women how to dress. In a scale of comparison, France should be critisized just as Iran and Saudia Arabia are critisized in their laws on dictating a dress code for women.
In this day and age of the Twenty First Century, the Western World should not have ” a selective morality”in judging and critisizing third world countries while they allow France to do the same.
Civilization is measured by the scale of tolerance and how much the majority of the populace has tolerance for the minority of the people. If France considers itself a highly civilized and democratic country, passing a law on a dress code which prevents women from wearing a scarf will have a long and damaging effect on the French itself. This is one instance where the citizens of France should take a stanze to prevent this from happening.
In conclusion one must encourage not only the women of the Middle East but all women of the world to reject and contest to France’s violation of basic human rights on what to wear, when to wear and how to wear is dictated to them. To contest this mandate, all women should stop wearing French Designer clothing, French Perfume and using any other French products.