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Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: French

First Advisor

Karen Humphreys


The laws created in France concerning Laïcité, specifically in 2004, have had a negative impact on Muslim women who wear the headscarf. This law bans the wearing of any religious symbols that are perceived to be “ostentatious” in public schools. As a result, Muslim girls who wear the headscarf are direct target for criticism. Laws that uphold laïcité have also led to difficulties for Muslim women who wear the veil in public spaces. This has left them in a vulnerable position to choose whether to stop wearing the hijab and go against personal choices or to continue to wear the veil and go against the laws and ideals of laïcité. Specifically, this thesis aims to explore how these laws have impacted the narratives of these women in the French media and its direct impact on how they are treated by others in France. It has been suggested that the narrative of these women is not in their control and has been crafted by the French media, and this has a direct effect on how they are perceived throughout their daily lives by other French citizens.

It is important to address this issue because the media and the French government do not listen to these women, and these laws on laicité have had negative effects on their lives. To focus on these women’s voices, testimonials of their experience wearing the hijab in France show how these laws and their representation in the media impact their lives. It has been found that since they have no control of what is said about them in the media, this has led to the perpetuation of prejudiced ideas towards these women and those that are Muslim and living in France. By highlighting these women’s voices, there is a greater chance that French citizens could learn to have more empathy and a greater understanding of these women’s personal choice to wear the veil or not.


Abstract only