September 20, 2016 by Cláudia
Under the pretext of “disrupting the public order” and insinuating that the usage of burkinis may be linked to terrorism, France has been going back and forth with one of the most absurd (and illegal) laws of the century – forbidding women to wear burkinis in the beach.
Other explanations have been the defense of a secular State, therefore eliminating every display of religion affiliation or even the defense of women’s rights by forbidding a convention considered oppressive to women.
I don’t believe the burkini can be disruptive in any way, considering it was created and adopted to allow Muslim women to participate in Western culture without breaking their principles and beliefs. Associating the burkini with terrorism is just caricatural when considering who wears them – more moderate Muslim women who go to the beach with children and often with other women wearing bikinis.
It’s not a religious display either, it’s a piece of clothing. Anyone could wear it (or similar) even if they weren’t religious in order to cover the body, for example to avoid sunburn or simply to feel more comfortable. Also, I find it very inconsistent that a country that coined the expression LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ can’t accept that some women want to undress in the beach and some don’t. Doesn’t that fit in the whole freedom and equality?
Claiming to free women from oppression by forbidding them to choose what they want to wear is to basically assume women unable to decide for themselves, which is a unfeminist attitude per se. If it is not okay to tell a woman she is not wearing enough clothes, why would it be okay to try to force women to undress?
But it’s not hard to see that all of these are absurd runarounds to (very poorly) cover up the real motivation: retaliation because of the terrorist attacks that happened in France. These attacks have increased the already existent xenophobia towards Muslim communities which now seems to them somehow more legitimate.
This is a very bad move. This will have absolutely no positive outcomes and is likely to further antagonize Muslim communities from the rest of the society as well as upset moderate Muslims. The greatest thing about a multicultural society is the exchange between cultures, the freedom to exist and coexist in the differences. This is just plain intolerance and reluctance to accept the difference. If women that strongly believe the female body ought to be covered can coexist with women with bikinis, why can’t they – country of freedom – accept women in burkinis as well?
This law will basically result in the prohibition of an entire community to go to the beach since Muslim women aren’t going to undress. It’s going to separate people even more. It’s going to make the living together between the French and Muslim even more distant and suspicious.
At last, this law is very clearly illegal. It’s not legal to discriminate someone for their religion and since the burkini is not harmful to anybody (on the contrary, dermatologists will thank them!) it has absolutely no legitimacy.
I don’t agree with the idea that the body is something shameful and inappropriate as well. But one thing is my personal opinion – that rules my life and my choices – and other thing is people’s freedom to make their own choices – that should rule our life in society.