Tørklædet: Et frivilligt valg

Eva Maria Nordenbæk Schellerup Neimers

Student thesis: Master thesis


The background for the thesis is to create a new perspective on the debate surrounding the Muslim head-scarf. The use of the scarf can be interpreted in many different ways, an example would be that many people in the western world see the scarf as a sign of female oppression. In Denmark there is no basic knowledge or insight in what the reasons are that cause teenage girls to voluntarily choose to wear the scarf. The Analysis of the thesis is therefore based on a dialogue with young Muslim girls between 12 and 16 who all wear the scarf. They explain their background for choosing to wear the scarf, and the impact it has had on them. Based on Michel Foucault’s (1926-1984) model of power, the purpose of this project is to discuss how the scarf subjects Muslim girls to certain rules and standards, and how the scarf can be a free choice when taking Foucault’s knowledge of power into consideration. The thesis concludes, that when the girls voluntarily choose to wear the scarf, it influences the way they act. The girls refer to one truth, about whom they are and who they should be, when they put on the scarf. The girls act in certain ways, based on ideals and the expectations of a ‘real’ scarf wearing Muslim girl. The scarf gives the girls protection and releases them from being viewed as sexual objects, in a so-ciety where women often are portrayed as sex symbols. Through the scarf the girls have decided how they wish to be judged, and they express that this should not be based on how they look. The scarf binds the girls in a discourse where the scarf positions them as ‘proper’ believers, decent, honourable and innocent Muslim girls. This is a subject-position that creates expectations to the girls’ behaviour, dress code, and at the same time works controlling on how the girl should talk, think and act in regard to herself and others. The scarf therefore disciplines the girls’ behaviour based on certain rules and standards. The thesis shows that the free choice to wear the head scarf is still debatable, considering Foucault’s study of knowledge and power.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages83