The body politic: gender, the right wing and 'identity category violations'

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The body politic : gender, the right wing and 'identity category violations'. / Downing, Lisa.

In: French Cultural Studies, Vol. 29, No. 4, 01.11.2018, p. 367-377.

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@article{004fe73ebe2248fdbea298dc121beaa3,
title = "The body politic: gender, the right wing and 'identity category violations'",
abstract = "The post-Brexit, post-Trump climate in the EU has seen a series of challenges from the right wing of politics to the liberal consensus of recent years (e.g. the rise of Gert Wilders in the Netherlands and the increased support for Alternativ f{\"u}r Deutschland in the 2017 German election). This article examines the gendering and embodiment of the new far right in France and the UK. It offers a comparative focus on two recent political challengers from the right who are female: Marine Le Pen (born 1968), the leader of the Front national in France since 2011, and Anne Marie Waters (born 1977), the Islam-critical candidate who was runner-up for the UKIP (UK Independence Party) leadership in the UK in 2017, and who has since started her own political party, “For Britain”. It focuses on media coverage of, and self-representation by, these two figures. It argues that the discourse of the “Right” and “Left” wings has, historically, been gendered on the basis of assumptions that women are naturally more inclined towards consensus-building, collectivity, and compassion (and therefore left-wing politics), by dint of their biological function as child-bearers and traditional gender role as care-givers. Right-leaning women have been treated as anomalies, both by feminist political analysts and the mainstream media. Feminist concerns over the very existence of right-wing women is suggested by books such as second-wave feminist Andrea Dworkin{\textquoteright}s Right-Wing Women (1983), the more recent edited collection by Paola Bacchetta and Margaret Power, also called Right Wing Women (2013), and, in the French context, Claudie Lesselier and Fiametta Venner{\textquoteright}s L{\textquoteright}extr{\^e}me droite et les femmes (1997). Le Pen and Waters appear as doubly aberrant, doubly exceptional figures – firstly as (far) right-wing women and secondly as (far) right-wing female leaders. The article considers the stakes of our categorical understandings of (gendered and political) identity more broadly. Specifically, by introducing the original critical concept of “identity category violation”, it analyses the ways in which the recent trend for identity politics on the left in the West, often under the banner of “intersectionality”, leads to over-simplified understandings of 2 how categories of gendered, sexual, class, and race-based identities are assumed todetermine political affiliation.",
keywords = "The right wing, Feminism, Identity politics, Marine le Pen, Front national",
author = "Lisa Downing",
year = "2018",
month = nov,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0957155818791075",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "367--377",
journal = "French Cultural Studies",
issn = "0957-1558",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The body politic

T2 - gender, the right wing and 'identity category violations'

AU - Downing, Lisa

PY - 2018/11/1

Y1 - 2018/11/1

N2 - The post-Brexit, post-Trump climate in the EU has seen a series of challenges from the right wing of politics to the liberal consensus of recent years (e.g. the rise of Gert Wilders in the Netherlands and the increased support for Alternativ für Deutschland in the 2017 German election). This article examines the gendering and embodiment of the new far right in France and the UK. It offers a comparative focus on two recent political challengers from the right who are female: Marine Le Pen (born 1968), the leader of the Front national in France since 2011, and Anne Marie Waters (born 1977), the Islam-critical candidate who was runner-up for the UKIP (UK Independence Party) leadership in the UK in 2017, and who has since started her own political party, “For Britain”. It focuses on media coverage of, and self-representation by, these two figures. It argues that the discourse of the “Right” and “Left” wings has, historically, been gendered on the basis of assumptions that women are naturally more inclined towards consensus-building, collectivity, and compassion (and therefore left-wing politics), by dint of their biological function as child-bearers and traditional gender role as care-givers. Right-leaning women have been treated as anomalies, both by feminist political analysts and the mainstream media. Feminist concerns over the very existence of right-wing women is suggested by books such as second-wave feminist Andrea Dworkin’s Right-Wing Women (1983), the more recent edited collection by Paola Bacchetta and Margaret Power, also called Right Wing Women (2013), and, in the French context, Claudie Lesselier and Fiametta Venner’s L’extrême droite et les femmes (1997). Le Pen and Waters appear as doubly aberrant, doubly exceptional figures – firstly as (far) right-wing women and secondly as (far) right-wing female leaders. The article considers the stakes of our categorical understandings of (gendered and political) identity more broadly. Specifically, by introducing the original critical concept of “identity category violation”, it analyses the ways in which the recent trend for identity politics on the left in the West, often under the banner of “intersectionality”, leads to over-simplified understandings of 2 how categories of gendered, sexual, class, and race-based identities are assumed todetermine political affiliation.

AB - The post-Brexit, post-Trump climate in the EU has seen a series of challenges from the right wing of politics to the liberal consensus of recent years (e.g. the rise of Gert Wilders in the Netherlands and the increased support for Alternativ für Deutschland in the 2017 German election). This article examines the gendering and embodiment of the new far right in France and the UK. It offers a comparative focus on two recent political challengers from the right who are female: Marine Le Pen (born 1968), the leader of the Front national in France since 2011, and Anne Marie Waters (born 1977), the Islam-critical candidate who was runner-up for the UKIP (UK Independence Party) leadership in the UK in 2017, and who has since started her own political party, “For Britain”. It focuses on media coverage of, and self-representation by, these two figures. It argues that the discourse of the “Right” and “Left” wings has, historically, been gendered on the basis of assumptions that women are naturally more inclined towards consensus-building, collectivity, and compassion (and therefore left-wing politics), by dint of their biological function as child-bearers and traditional gender role as care-givers. Right-leaning women have been treated as anomalies, both by feminist political analysts and the mainstream media. Feminist concerns over the very existence of right-wing women is suggested by books such as second-wave feminist Andrea Dworkin’s Right-Wing Women (1983), the more recent edited collection by Paola Bacchetta and Margaret Power, also called Right Wing Women (2013), and, in the French context, Claudie Lesselier and Fiametta Venner’s L’extrême droite et les femmes (1997). Le Pen and Waters appear as doubly aberrant, doubly exceptional figures – firstly as (far) right-wing women and secondly as (far) right-wing female leaders. The article considers the stakes of our categorical understandings of (gendered and political) identity more broadly. Specifically, by introducing the original critical concept of “identity category violation”, it analyses the ways in which the recent trend for identity politics on the left in the West, often under the banner of “intersectionality”, leads to over-simplified understandings of 2 how categories of gendered, sexual, class, and race-based identities are assumed todetermine political affiliation.

KW - The right wing

KW - Feminism

KW - Identity politics

KW - Marine le Pen

KW - Front national

U2 - 10.1177/0957155818791075

DO - 10.1177/0957155818791075

M3 - Article

VL - 29

SP - 367

EP - 377

JO - French Cultural Studies

JF - French Cultural Studies

SN - 0957-1558

IS - 4

ER -