Un voile, Un certain moi de juin is the story of French artist Bérengère Lefranc’s decision to wear a “burqa” (although she hesitates to define it as such) for one month and write about it. I was skeptical about this book after reading an initial review of it in Swiss daily Le Temps. Not normally a fan of these “Let’s play dress up” stories, I set out to read the book anyway. Already, the title bothers me. ”Voile” is “veil” in French, and the garment Ms. Lefrance wears most closely resembles a burqa. It seems that for the French, veils and burqas are pretty much the same thing (or maybe, that was Ms. Lefranc’s point).
The premise is simple: she is going to wear a burqa for one month. The only person—male or female—allowed to see her without is her boyfriend Hubert.
She takes great pains to insist she isn’t trying to be “Muslim”- that her journey is about her art, about covering herself up. ”I didn’t want to slip into the skin of a Muslim, rather, I wanted to hide gracefully from the looks of others. And continue to live normally.” (p. 135) She even shies away from defining her gown as a burqa.