Over the last week or so I have been getting this horrible feeling right in the pit of my stomach. A feeling that lies somewhere between disgust and bewilderment, with a healthy dose of anger thrown in for good measure. The reasoning behind this feeling?
I’m sure you have all heard about the ban on some French beaches of this garment? If not, let me give you a quick recap. A few French Mayors, namely those of Nice, Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and the Corsican seaside resort of Sisco, decided that the ‘Burkini’, a garment made from swimsuit material that covers the whole body, with a hood that covers the hair, went against the French laws on secularism and therefore weren’t permitted to be worn on their beaches, because the outfit:
“overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks”
WTF France? Shame on you!Would an elderly nun be handed a fine and ordered to remove her habit and crucifix because she was eating an ice cream on the beach enjoying the sun? Wouldn’t her habit be an “overtly manifestation of her adherence to a religion”? I suspect not, wrong religion of course!
Also bear in mind that around 40% of the people who buy the unfortunately named Burkini aren’t even Muslim. Women of many religions, including Christians, prefer to stay modest even going as far as covering their hair. I wonder if women, like those in the Duggar family, would also get a fine for wearing modest swimwear? Not being a sun lover I can hand on heart say that I have seriously considered buying something similar on many occasions. Would I be fined? I have no real religious leanings so their argument would be completely invalid!
I presumed most people would have the same view on this as I do. Sadly, according to many online opinions I was much mistaken. Some of nicest opposing views I’ve read are:
“But it’s against the law, so they shouldn’t have worn them”
It was once against the law for blacks and whites to drink from the same drinking fountain, to sit in the same part of the bus, to go to the same schools.
It was once against the law to be gay.
It was once against the law for women to vote or own property if they were married.
That doesn’t make those laws right. In fact most, civilised, people would find it abhorrent to even think of these laws to be in place now. Plus they didn’t change easily, it took brave men and women to stand up and fight for their rights to get those laws changed.
“You would get arrested for wearing a bikini in an Arab country, so they should follow our rules”
Yes, you very well might. But this isn’t a case of tit for tat! Those barbaric laws, like chopping thieves hands off, have been in place for many years in some countries. This one here is a new rule, not even one set by the French government I might add, that goes against everything we should strive for in a world where we have human rights and the freedom of choice and speech. Do we really want to be taking a step backwards? Shouldn’t we try and be the bigger person here?
In today’s papers there were images of policemen approaching a sunbathing lady, they issued her a fine and made her remove some layers of clothing.
That’s right they made her REMOVE clothing!!!
These scenes remind me of the early 20th century photos of police monitoring beaches, making sure women were covered appropriately and removing them from the beach if they weren’t. Ironically, the attire looks eerily similar! What would Annette Kellerman think if she could see these headlines today?
Have we now gone completely the other way and it is now deemed socially unacceptable to be modest? That wearing nothing but a few slips of material to cover the “private bits” is perfectly A-okay but wanting to be modest, not wanting to risk the damaging rays of the skin, or wanting to cover some wobbly bits is now a punishable offence?
It almost feels as if we are living the prequel of the Ben Elton novel Blind Faith (If you haven’t read this book I suggest you do, it is scarily accurate of where the world seems to be headed) where people wore the most minuscule of clothing but would sue anyone who’s eyes lingered too long on their body.
These women are experiencing freedom, they are participating fully in life, enjoying the small moments of happiness with their children splashing in the sea. Nobody should be given the right to deny them this, purely based on the items of clothing they choose to wear!
But this is just my opinion, what do you think about these Burkini bans?