The paper approaches the rise of far right populism in Europe with a feminist lens and on the background of the discursively constructed sexist and racist features of the current moral panic debate. It is argued that we can follow up a continuum of normalised culturalist gendered discourses in Europe, and in the Netherlands in particular, for some time. The paper is organised by looking, first, at the place of gender in far right discourses and the role of women in far right wing populist parties. Second, a feminist critique of processes of normalisation is presented helping to clarify the term ‘culturalism’. To illustrate the dynamics of gendered culturalism and the way it impacts the everyday life of Muslim women in the Netherlands, some interview sequences of an empirical study (2012) with female Dutch-Moroccan citizens are discussed. The experiences of the women illustrate how far right populist perspectives and prejudices entered their daily lives, and which counter strategies, the women used to resist intimidations. The paper concludes that foremost the Dutch far right and the PVV party leader, Geert Wilders, were successful in normalising gendered culturalist views about Muslim minority women vis-a-vis a ‘pseudo-emancipatory’ nativist claim of cultural superiority with respect to majority women (and men) in liberal European societies.
- far-right populism
- Normalisation of gendered culturalism
- Moroccan-Dutch female citizens