Cherchez la femme! To Wear It Is to Believe It
Guided Tour for School Students
The tour of the exhibition Cherchez la femme: Wig, Burqa, Wimple is designed for high-school students aged 14 and older. We trace the roots of various dress codes for women, explain how religions have adopted them, and consider how women and girls can successfully navigate the tension between tradition and social inclusion.
The male-centric gaze on the female body has repeatedly been at the center of public debates, such as the dispute over burkini bans on French beaches in the summer of 2016. Such controversies invite us to question how secular societies should treat religious and traditional ways of dress.
These dress codes originated in the ancient Middle East and were purportedly for women’s protection, but were in fact for the sake of men. The purpose of covering women’s bodies was to prevent men from committing indecent acts. Even before the emergence of the Abrahamic religions, women’s dress was determined by their status. These rules, created by men, were adopted by all three religions and given religious interpretations; in some branches of Judaism and Islam, they still apply today. Many cultures consider a woman’s hair too intimate to be displayed in public to men outside the family. This perspective still guides how some Muslim and Jewish women dress—in a variety of styles, with a variety of motivations.
Through fabric, photographs, and digital media, the Cherchez la femme exhibition documents contemporary practices of religious attire and the everyday conflicts they pose for women.
31 March – 27 August 2017, by appointment
30 euros (including admission fee; chaperons free of charge)
phone: +49 (0)30 259 93 305
fax: +49 (0)30 259 93 412
We can facilitate two groups in parallel.
Fashion students from OSZ Bekleidung und Mode, located on nearby Kochstrasse, are exhibiting their modesty-themed models at W. M. Blumenthal Academy, across the street from the museum.
14 and older
Up to 15